Britain’s largest electricity distributor, UK Power Networks, has announced its intention to create an electricity system that will enable consumers to benefit from new technologies becoming available.
Increasing numbers of people in the UK are driving electric cars and in the future many of them will switch to driverless cars as the technology becomes available. Smart appliances will also appear in significant numbers in people’s homes, enabling consumers to generate, store and sell their own electricity.
UK Power Networks, which delivers electricity to London, the East and South East, has now set out its vision for the future, explaining how it will enable people, communities and business to benefit from such technologies, while continuing to provide safe, reliable services for all customers. The company has set out its vision in its new Future Smart consultation which is proposing radical changes to electricity networks in order to keep up with the needs and expectations of consumers and outlining how people and their use of new technologies will be at the heart of the new electricity system. The consultation has been launched at a time when the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy is revolutionising electricity production, distribution and consumption.
The company will transform itself from a Distribution Network Operator (DNO) which simply manages the network, to become a Distribution System Operator (DSO) which enables a smart, flexible system that responds to customers’ needs. During the transition, UK Power Networks says it will continue to maintain the safety and reliability of its electricity networks whilst managing the increased complexity driven by the distributed energy connected to its networks.
“We are on the verge of a change as significant for electricity as the advent of broadband was for telecommunications” said Basil Scarsella, CEO UK Power Networks. “We are working with policy makers, regulators, academia, SMEs and importantly customers to lay the foundations for an exciting future, which will place customers in control of energy usage. We’re doing the work now to make this exciting future possible. So today we’re launching our vision for the smart network, and we want everyone’s views”.
David Smith, chief executive of the Energy Networks Association, added that move from traditional Distribution Network Operators to more active and empowered Distribution System Operators, with far greater capabilities to manage local electricity grids, is a major transition for power networks in the UK.
Developing a DSO Strategy is a significant step forward to delivering the smart grid, and will present a whole new host of new opportunities for energy networks and consumers. Networks and the system operator will in future work together through the Open Networks Project, in order to ensure that they facilitate new technology and services, invest in the most efficient way possible and keep the lights on whilst keeping down costs as the UK transitions to a low carbon economy