How to avoid unknowingly being a Building Network Operator

Building Network Operator (or BNO) is one of those technical jargon phrases that you might hear in relation to apartment or mixed-use developments. Put simply, it applies to electrical installations where one incoming supply is split into multiple individually-metered supplies.

Regardless of whether these supplies are for residential or commercial properties, or whether there is a communal meter room or meters within the individual premises, it is termed a Building Network Operator installation if the internal network beyond the incoming supply is the responsibility of the Building Owner.

Increasingly, the building owner can find themselves in a position of responsibility without even realising it.

WHO CAN BE A BUILDING NETWORK OPERATOR?

A ‘Building Network Operator’ is an organisation that owns the electrical installation between the ‘intake’ and the end user’s installation (their meter). The Building Network Operator may be an organisation with an electricity distribution licence (such as the DNO - Distribution Network Operator - or an IDNO - an Independent Distribution Network Operator).

Alternatively, because the regulations deem this to be a licence-exempt role, it could be another organisation such as the building owner or outsourced to a Facilities Management company.

The Building Network Operator will be responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of the electrical installation past the intake point. Put simply, if the power goes off beyond the cut out, it is the responsibility of the owner of that network to put it right – including covering any costs.

WHY ISN’T IT ALWAYS OWNED BY THE DNO?

Not all DNOs will install an individually-metered supply. Some will only offer a bulk-metered supply, leaving you the responsibility to install the remainder of the network past the intake. UKPN is a prime example, with others varying from project-to-project on whether they do or don’t.

You should be able to spot this on your connection offer from the DNO. Whilst you may have been offered multiple meters points (MPANs), your offer may state a single intake. Effectively, the DNO is leaving it to you to organise the installation between the intake and the end meters.

This is a perfect example of an internal network which will NOT be the responsibility of the DNO. Very often, the ownership and responsibility is not even considered – the client just assumes it will revert to the DNO. If it is not explicitly adopted, the responsibility automatically reverts to the building owner – hence the term Building Network Operator installation.

HOW TO AVOID THIS

Thankfully, there is a simple solution.

Instead of getting the DNO to do the new connection, you can use an accredited Independent Connections Providers - like Rock Power Connections – to do the work. An ICP can offer individually metered supplies, where the DNO may not.

Rock Power Connections can get your installation ‘adopted’ by an Independent Distribution Network Operator (iDNO). This means that the iDNO adopts the entire installation through to the meter points and no responsibility falls on the building owner for maintenance or repair.

In addition, the IDNO will pay a one-off amount called an ‘Asset Value’ to own your installed network. Why? Because they make money from the meter in the same way a DNO does. This financial sum is likely to result in a more commercially competitive quotation. In short, a cheaper installation for you.

Other benefits of using an ICP, like Rock Power Connections, for the entire installation is that you are only dealing with one contractor and you have no hassle with the DNO (because Rock do all that).

HOW ROCK POWER CONNECTIONS CAN HELP?

Not sure whether your connection offer from the DNO is providing you with what you need? Want to check who will be responsible for the network after it is live?

We will happily look over any projects and outline the options available to you. Contact Sophie or Emma on 01905 456384, email emma@rockpowerconnections.co.uk or submit your enquiry here.

We offer a free, no-obligation quotation process and have extensive experience of designing and installing Building Network Operator (BNO) installations.

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