THE LEGAL PROCESS INVOLVED IN AN ELECTRICAL CONNECTION
July 3, 2020
Before an electrical connection can be energised, the legal process determining ownership and responsibility for the installed equipment must be completed. Whilst this can be a simple process, it can cause frustrating delays if the legal paperwork is ‘put to one side’ whilst the focus is on installing switchgear and cables.
As a worst-case scenario, costly generators may be needed if tenants move in before the legals are completed.
At Rock Power Connections, we believe in starting the legal process early and outlining the processes involved at the outset so everyone knows what is required of them. This ensures a smooth progression to getting the legal process complete ready to have the supply switched on.
Here is a quick summary of the organisations and timescales involved, together with an outline of the main issues that can cause delays.
WHO WILL OWN YOUR ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT?
The electrical equipment can be owned – or ‘adopted’ - by either the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) or an Independent Distribution Network Operator (iDNO). They will adopt the electrical apparatus between the Point of Connection (PoC) and the metering point.
Any subsequent transformer and switchgear after the meter will be privately-owned by you.
WHAT LEGAL ARANGEMENTS ARE REQUIRED
The DNO or iDNO will want to have legal documentation (wayleave, easement, lease or transfer as applicable to the site) to be completed prior to adoption of the equipment.
These legal documents will govern the relationship between the DNO/iDNO and the landowner for post-adoption access to, and the maintenance and replacement of, the equipment.
The legal documents usually take the form of a Heads of Terms, followed by a Lease.
WHICH PARTIES WILL NEED TO BE INVOLVED IN THE LEGAL PROCESS?
The landowner. In some cases, it may be appropriate for it to be the leaseholder.
Any lender named on the title deed, such as mortgage providers.
Any third party which is named within the title deeds as having rights over the land.
Any landowner of third party land that the installation may cross (such as a cable route).
WHAT TIMESCALES ARE INVOLVED?
The whole process will typically take 3-4 months to complete all lease agreements and relevant searches. Achieving these timescales is reliant on your solicitors responding promptly to all legal requests from the iDNO’s solicitors.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN ISSUES THAT CAUSE LEGAL COMPLEXITIES?
Other rights affecting the land (eg gas, oil, water or telecoms easements with obligations to enter into indemnities or deeds with third parties) which may take time to resolve or agree.
Restrictive covenants, land title issues or encumbrances on the land preventing the landowner entering into a deed with DNO/IDNO.
Legal charges affecting the land. For example, if there is a mortgage on the land of the lease then the mortgage company solicitors will also need to approve the lease.
Third party landowners whose agreement is needed to allow a cable to cross their land.
Attempts by a client to make significant changes to the lease clauses.
IF YOU NEED A NEW ELECTRICAL SUPPLY, ACT NOW!
Do not underestimate the amount of time the legal process can take. If you need your power on by a certain date, make sure you begin the process of procuring the supply at least six months beforehand.
The legals do not start until your proposed installation has design approval from the DNO and IDNO so, even if you are not ready to put a spade in the ground, you can still be pushing forward with getting the design and the legals agreed.