How to make sense of the electricity industry
“The electricity industry”. Sounds dull doesn’t it? You flick a switch and your light comes on, that is surely all you need to know. Well, that and making sure you pay the bill when it comes through.
But if you’re faced with a bigger electricity challenge than changing a fuse, it helps to have an understanding of how it works and how all the key elements fit together. And if you are looking for a new electricity connection, the thought of having to navigate your way through the network maze may seem daunting.
Rock Power Connections is here to help. We’re an experienced industry player and understand some of the confusion that customers can feel when they’re embarking on a new or upgraded, domestic or business connection. While we make sense of the process - and ensure you have the connection and electricity your business needs – we have pulled together a short electricity industry for beginners guide to help you understand the electricity journey.
The aim of the guide is to help you understand the basics and explain who is responsible for the different areas. You can trust Rock Power Connections to deliver a quality electricity connection solution and support you during every step. You can also trust Rock Power Connections to answer any questions you along the way. In the meantime, our guide should help you make sense of the basics. So let’s begin…
The Electricity Industry is made up of three core elements.
Transmission & Distribution
In the UK, we rely on several technologies to generate the power we need. It’s important not to have your eggs all in one basket. Instead, the UK’s electricity generation comes from a combination of gas-fired power stations, coal-fired power stations, nuclear, renewables (solar, biomass, hydro, wind and wave generations) and small-scale generation such as ground-source heat pumps.
To give you an idea, according to statistics from the Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, in 2013 coal made up 36.3% of our generation, oil 0.7%, nuclear 19.8%, gas 26.9%, renewables 14.8% and other forms 1.5%*. We also import and export generation through interconnectors to France, Netherlands and Ireland.
Transmission & Distribution
Once the power has been produced, it needs to reach your home or premises. National Grid own and operate the transmission network. That’s the super high-voltage network that operates at levels of up to 400,000 Volts. The National Grid network stretches the length and breadth of the country. At this level though, the power is too high-voltage and to go straight into your home or business. This is where the Distribution Network Operators (DNO’s) step in.
There are 14 DNO’s that operate from the very north of Scotland to the very tip of Cornwall. Each DNO is responsible for a certain geographical area. To find out who your DNO is, check-out the guide on the Energy Networks website: http://www.energynetworks.org/info/faqs/electricity-distribution-map.html
DNO’s are responsible for taking the power from the National Grid network and transforming it down to 240 volts, which is safe for business, domestic and commercial use. They then transport it through wires and cables to where we need it. Like National Grid, they are also responsible for maintaining and investing in the complex network that is needed to move electricity safely around the country.
Energy Suppliers are the companies you pay your bill to. They supply you with electricity and gas. The suppliers buy energy from the wholesale market and then sell it to their customers. There are a growing number of suppliers who all operate in a competitive market place and seek to offer you the best rates and services to attract your business.
It is worth noting that when you pay your bill, not all of it goes to your supplier. Your supplier also collects income for the National Grid, the local DNO’s and other charges. According to recent information from EDF Energy, of a typical electricity bill, 24% is network costs (going to National Grid and your DNO), 5% VAT, 12% environmental and social charges, 17% operating costs, 41% is paying for the actual energy or wholesale costs, which leaves around 1% for profit**.
Keeping a watchful eye on the industry is Ofgem, the electricity and gas regulator. It’s their job to ensure that the market is in working order and the customers’ interests are protected. Ofgem issues companies with licences to carry out activities in the electricity and gas sectors, sets the levels of return which the monopoly networks companies can make, and decides on changes to market rules ***.
To ensure customers who require a new connection to the network get fairer prices and better service, Ofgem introduced ‘Competition in Connections’. Competition offers customers the opportunity to seek competitive quotations for new connections to the local electricity distribution system.
If you need an electricity connection to a new site or building, or need an increased supply, Rock Power Connections can guide you through the whole process from initial design to the final switch-on. We take away the hassle and provide you with a dedicated Project Manager, ensuring you have one reliable point of contact. Rock Power Connections is fully accredited to undertake this work being an Independent Connections Provider (ICP) who is listed on the National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS) also known as Lloyd’s Register.
How it works
If you need an electricity connection to a new site or building, or need an increased supply, Rock Power Connections will support you through the process.
There are two elements to the work.
Non-contestable works. These are the works required to reinforce the distribution network in order to allow your new connection or increased supply. These can only be undertaken by the DNO.
Contestable works. This is the new electricity network from the Point Of Connection to your site/premise.
What’s the process?
We know it looks complicated but don’t worry - we’ll manage the whole process on your behalf, taking away the stress and providing peace of mind.
1. CONTACT US Rock Power Connections understand your requirements
2. APPLY FOR POINT OF CONNECTION Rock Power Connections apply to your local DNO for a Point of Connection (POC) onto the existing distribution network.
3. NON-CONTESTABLE QUOTE The DNO will provide a POC and design the alterations required to their network. The DNO will provide the cost for this work – known as the ‘non-contestable works’.
4. FULL QUOTE We’ll design the connection from the POC to your site – known as the ‘contestable works’ - and provide you with a full quotation, covering both the ‘non-contestable’ and ‘contestable’ costs.
5. ACCEPT QUOTE AND DESIGN Upon your acceptance of our quotation, we’ll prepare a detailed design and submit this to the DNO for approval.
6. INSTALLATION Undertake the works in line with an agreed Programme of Works, using a flexible approach that fits in with your site works. The works may include:
Digging and filling in of trenches on your property or the public highway for electric cables
Installation and jointing of electrical cables
Construction of substation and transformer buildings
Installation of electrical switches, transformers, earthing and any other requirements in the substation.
7. METER INSTALL Rock Power Connections will provide you with MPAN number and guide you through the meter installation process.
8. FINAL CONNECTION We will then commission the new installation and provides the relevant information to the DNO so that they can undertake the final connection.
YOUR NEW ELECTRICITY SUPPLY IS LIVE
Why choose Rock Power Connections for your new or upgraded supply?
Flexible install to suit you
Free, no obligation quote
Dedicated Project Manager
We deal with DNO
We’re here to help. Please get in touch to speak to one of our experts and find out more about how we can deliver a rock solid solution for you. Our years of experience mean that you can trust Rock Power Connections to deliver. For more information, please visit our website. www.rockpowerconnections.co.uk
And to find out more about your rights and competition in connection, check-out Ofgem’s useful guide: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/89438/ofg538webhowtoleaflet4.pdf
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