Is Competition in Connections working?
Competition in Connections was introduced by Ofgem, the industry regulator, back in 2000 to ensure
customers wanting a new or upgraded electricity connection receive a high quality service at a fair price. Previously, only the incumbent Distribution Networker Operator (DNO) could provide the service; customers had to accept the local DNO’s price and quality of service. 15 years on, are customers reaping the rewards of competition? Is competition working? As a leading Independent Connections Provider, Rock Power Connections, takes a closer look at the market today and explores how independent connection customers can ensure they get a good deal and a quality solution.
According to Ofgem, the connections market today is worth in excess of £500m* a year. Every day, hundreds of independent connections are completed and new businesses, generation sites and homes are connected to the local distribution network. This highly specialised electrical engineering work is heavily regulated to ensure safety and can still only be carried out by a select group of companies but crucially, licensed Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNO’s) or Independent Connections Providers (ICPs) such as Rock Power Connections can offer the customer a choice.
For a number of years, Ofgem has had concerns over the lack of progress towards greater competition in the market place. And last year, Ofgem once again had to act in response to continued concerns about how effective competition was in the market. In particular, the regulator is now looking closely at the DNO’s role in the connections process and how this could limit competition. Following a formal response, it consulted on a number of proposed solutions.
Ofgem announced this July that it approved a revised ‘Competition in Connections Code of Practice’ that requires all 14 DNOs to reduce the extent to which competitors – like Rock Power Connections – depend on them for essential ‘non-contestable’ services such as determining the point of connection and making the final connection. All DNOs will have to comply with this and must collectively harmonise their arrangements for competition. The statutory consultation is now underway and when completed the ‘Code of Practice’ will be legally enforceable.
Rock Power Connections’ Commercial Director, Kev Sankar, explained: “In simple terms, Ofgem’s new proposal will ensure a level playing field. This is something that has been missing in the market so far. DNOs will have to treat ICPs - like Rock Power Connections - on the same basis as its own connections business. This is good news for new connection customers and it means Rock Power Connections will be able to provide a timelier and smoother service to its customers.”
Kev continued: “Customers are already seeing Ofgem’s push for better competition in action. In April this year, Ofgem introduced an incentive to reduce the time to quote for smaller connections. In addition, it is seeking the views of the smaller connection customers when carrying out its customer surveys. It’s also creating an incentive to improve engagement with larger and more complex connection customers. Rock Power Connections welcomes these moves and we believe that this drive to boost competition will have a real benefit for all electricity connection customers.”
To ensure you receive the best service at the best price today, Rock Power Connections recommends connection customers follow these four critical steps:
Contact a reputable, fully authorised ICP as soon as you understand your project needs. Rock Power Connections are connection specialists and are able to work on the most complex or simple connection projects. We offer a free, no obligation quote and advice.
Rely on your ICP to manage the process and provide peace of mind. Rock Power Connections will take the stress out of the process by managing the DNO interface on your behalf.
Challenge your quote. A leading ICP like Rock Power Connections will provide you with a competitive quote which includes the ‘non-contestable works’. This is the charge the DNO makes to provide a point of connection and any alterations needed to its network. If we think the cost for the ‘non-contestable’ works does not seem fair, we will happily review and challenge the DNO on your behalf.
Manage your costs. Unlike the DNOs, Rock Power Connections offer a staged payment scheme to ease your cash flow.
Rock Power Connections supports all of its customers through the electrical connections process and is on hand to offer expert advice from the very first enquiry. We’re proud of our multi-skilled expert team and believe we have the know-how and experience for your connections challenge.
Rock Power Connections offer:
Competitive prices with staged payments
Flexible install to suit you and your project
Free, no obligation quote and advice
Friendly expert team and multi-skilled electrical engineers
Dedicated Project Manager for a reliable point of contact
Hassle free solution – we deal with the DNO
Expert partner on site from initial design to final switch-on
For more expert information, please visit our connections pages or get in touch today
For more information on the steps Ofgem is taking to improve competition, please visit: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/electricity/distribution-networks/connections-and-competition/competition-connections