UK Power Networks launches first DSO

UK Power Networks has launched the nation’s first ever independent Distribution System Operator (DSO) – which will ensure that sufficient electricity capacity exists across London, the East and South East to support the anticipated uptake of electric vehicles (EVs), heat pumps and renewables generation.

The DSO is working to incentivise customers to shift their energy consumption or generation, to maximise use of its existing electricity grid infrastructure and facilitate the lowest cost transition for customers adopting low carbon technologies. 

The DSO launch was celebrated at the IET London, with CEO Basil Scarsella and director of DSO Sotiris Georgiopoulos presenting its vision and plans for the year, joined by industry leaders including Ofgem CEO Jonathan Brearley, director of regulation and economics for Octopus Rachel Fletcher and Electricity System Operator executive director Fintan Slye.

Jonathan Brearley said the move was key to the UK’s transition to a low carbon future. He said: “We are in a massive transition across the country and that means a lot of really big stuff is being built. We’ve talked about transmission assets, we’ve talked about big offshore wind farms happening but the same is happening locally and we need to make sure we have an integrated plan.

“At the heart of this is Distribution System Operators and it’s great to see UK Power Networks leading the way. I’m really hoping that the DNOs make sure they are developing compelling and ambitious plans in terms of their version of the DSO model, but ultimately we will look nationally, pick out the best bits and make sure we have a system that functions for this massive transmission that we’re on.”

Basil Scarsella said: “The DSO marks the start of a new era for electricity networks across the UK. We are pleased to be leading the way in supporting the energy transition through the launch of our DSO. It is an independent, legally-separate entity, which we are confident will bring savings to customers, inform our network investment decisions in the most cost-efficient way and help the facilitate the transition to Net Zero.” 

UK Power Networks currently has 7.4GW of renewable energy connected to its network, and is preparing for 2.6 million EVs in its regions by 2028, compared to 450,000 vehicles currently charging from their grid.

Earlier this month, UK Power Networks DSO awarded more than 1GW of contracts to flexibility providers to compete to provide a flexibility requirement of 426MW.

Image courtesy of UK Power Networks.

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