Smart Connect tool speeds up electric car connections process

A new smart portal has proved its worth by fast-tracking more than 10,000 electric car chargers to connect with the electricity network in its first year.

Smart Connect, the online portal launched by UK Power Networks has slashed notification time for installers from 10 days to just a few seconds across London, the South East and East of England.

Launched in February 2021, Smart Connect has already saved 6,000 working hours for Connections staff at UK Power Networks and automatically approved 73% of more than 19,000 applications, allowing installers to install immediately they get the go-ahead. 

As well as processing EV charger applications, new functionality allows installers to submit applications for other low carbon technologies including heat pumps, batteries and solar panels. To date some 5,000 household solar installations, over 900 electric heat pumps and 265 domestic batteries have been approved through Smart Connect

Smart Connect can now accept applications where multiple low carbon technologies are being installed for the same household. Installers have already submitted more than 1,000 applications using this new functionality and about half have been instantly approved. The online portal has recently been expanded to take in applications for commercial premises. Installers who are managing multiple jobs for the customers, can check the status of all their applications at the click of a button.

If the property’s electricity supply needs to be upgraded Smart Connect refers customers to a UK Power Networks expert. If no upgrades are required the tool moves on to automatic approval.

A new Smart Connect tutorial video has also recently been added making it even easier for installers to apply.

Neil Madgwick, head of service delivery at UK Power Networks said: “Millions of electric cars and heat pumps will connect to local electricity networks over the next decade. We want to make sure they can do that quickly and easily. Through tools like Smart Connect we’ll make it possible – whether we’re working with installers or directly with consumers – for them all to connect at pace which will help the UK’s journey to Net Zero. It’s been amazing to see how much people have used our new portal already and proves we’re on the right track in finding ways to make the process smooth and speedy.”

Jodie McPhersontechnical sales and compliance at East Green Energy Ltd, said: The introduction of Smart Connect has revolutionised the way DNO applications are able to be submitted and brought a much more efficient way of working into our industry. It was more than tripling the amount of applications possible.

“After a new update, it then became possible to add multiple devices into one application, which meant you were able to do all applications on one form – increasing efficiency and reducing workload even further!

“I also cannot express how brilliant the team who have worked on Smart Connect have been and I have been honoured to have been part of the launch and update this process with them.”

Image courtesy of UK Power Networks.

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