How to ensure you energise on time

Written by

At Rock Power Connections, we are committed to delivering every project on time and on budget. Using our decades of expertise and experience, we know the main issues that often delay a project without prior planning or foresight. In this article, we’ll take you through the main culprits for time delays so you can plan ahead and make sure your electrical connection is energised on time.

DESIGN APPROVAL If you decide to use an Independent Connections Provider (ICP), you will need to get approval from the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) for the proposed design for your connection. This can take between 2-4 weeks. Making a change, however small, to your original connection design requires re-approval from the DNO, and that takes time.

Very often, the DNO will restart the clock to approve even small design changes. This can be incredibly frustrating and time consuming. Ensure that you are 100% satisfied with your design before it is submitted for design approval. Check that all parties involved in your project have agreed with the original design. PLANNING ON EXPORTING ELECTRICITY? Are you installing solar panels? With an increasing focus on flexible generation, exporting energy is becoming an attractive option. Do tell your ICP or DNO if you plan to export from out set or whether this is an option for you in the future. Your connection design will need to incorporate electrical export capability.

UNUSUAL LOADS AND MOTORS If you are developing a commercial unit, for example manufacturing and you will be using machinery, it is also essential that you inform your connection supplier from the outset. Large motors can impact the electricity network when they start up.

Your ICP or DNO will need to factor this into the design and engineering solution. WAYLEAVES & EASEMENTS To energise your new or upgraded electrical connection, work may be required on third party land. For example, an underground cable may have to run across your neighbour’s car park or field. Even if the design only incorporates the smallest amount of land, you will still need legal permission and an agreement will need to be put in place.

The ‘Point of Connection’ may also take place on third party land. If so, your local DNO will need an easement in place. This is the case even if an ICP leads the work on your behalf. Both of these issues have delayed works in the past and this can be easily avoided by understanding the design requirements, the local land rights and ensuing all permissions are obtained before the work commences. Start the legal process as soon as you place an order for your connection.

BEWARE OF LONG LEAD TIMES! It is not easy to store large electrical kit such as a transformer! These items are a major investment too. If your design includes switchgear, a substation or transformers, you will need to allow time for these items to be sourced, ordered and safely delivered to your site by your ICP or DNO. On average you are looking at around 12 weeks to deliver a transformer to a site. Ensure you factor this in your timetable and don’t get caught out.

CIVIL WORKS Civil works include digging trenches for underground cables or creating the base for a new substation. This work can be carried out by your DNO or an ICP, like Rock Power Connections. If you already have construction workers on site, you may decide to complete these essential works in-house. However you plan to carry them out, it’s critical that the civil works are completed on time and to the right specification.

Avoid delays by factoring in enough time and ensure if you are using contractors, that they understand fully what is needed and by when. PROGRAMME OF WORKS A robust and flexible timetable, and a comprehensive programme of works are the foundation stones to every successful electrical connection project. Your programme of works should be discussed, challenged and agreed with your ICP or DNO. All parties involved in the project should be fully aware of the plans and agree to the timetable.

Rock Power Connections is a Mitie Group plc Company. All Rights Reserved.