Working with your Distribution Network Operator?

What is a Distribution Network Operator?

There are 14 different Distribution Network Operators (DNO) across Great Britain. These are the licensed companies that own and operate the network of towers, transformers, cables, and meters that carry electricity from the national transmission system and distribute it across Britain.

The DNO acts as a gatekeeper to the national transmission grid, distributing energy from the grid to homes and businesses. 

It is required to satisfy itself that the local grid can cope with demand. So, for heat pump purposes it must ensure that it can manage the demand of the new pump being installed before granting permission for connection. 

This is because heat pumps are viewed as equipment that have the potential to disturb the quality of voltage provided to the DNO.

This document aims to provide Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) Applicants with best practice information. Our guidance is designed to help you get your heat pump connected to your local electricity network.

Heat pumps are a key solution for decarbonising buildings and will be critical for meeting the UK’s commitment to achieve net zero by 2050. 

In addition to the guidance below, if you feel it would be beneficial to talk to Salix Finance to understand our programmes better, please contact us by emailing [email protected]

Change in capacity (upgrade or reduce your supply)

Why would I need to upgrade or reduce my electricity supply?

You may need to upgrade your supply if you’re making changes to your property, like installing a piece of electrical equipment that will increase the electricity demand.
You may also need to decrease your supply if you have removed a large piece of equipment from your property.
Source:  Change in capacity (Upgrade or reduce your supply) - SSEN

Upgrading your supply

Before you start:

  • Remember to engage early with your DNO and maintain communication with the Salix project manager assigned to your project; should you have any further issues, please contact your relationship manager. Your Salix relationship manager is assigned to you at the beginning of your project and will help guide you through your decarbonization journey.

What the DNO will need from you:

  • Your contact details.
  • The MPAN number of the property you would like to increase or decrease. You can ask for this number from your energy supplier.
  • The meter serial number.
  • The full address of the site.
  • The total current load at the property. This means the capacity already available at the address you are asking for. If unsure about the available capacity, you can ask your energy supplier.
  • The total load you will need. This value represents the total capacity needed after the upgrade; you might get this value from your technical solution supplier or consultant.  
  • A letter of authority if you do not own the land.
  • A drawing or a plan showing the location of the electricity meter within the property.

Submitting your request:

Each DNO has a page to submit your application on their website. You may need to register for this.

From the menu of the DNO’s website, look for the Electricity area and select “Change an existing supply” or, in case of a new building that never had an energy connection, please select “Install something new”. 

Complete your request form and submit it to the address on the form. You should receive a confirmation of submission within 48 hours of your submission.

What is important to know:  

  • DETAILS: be accurate when writing contact details, make sure that the email address and phone number in your details are active and used regularly.
  • SITE ADDRESS: if your project is taking place at a single site, use the site address. If your project includes a series of locations, to avoid any confusion, make sure that you have a conversation with your DNO’s customer service to address what is the best way to submit your request. 
  • COMMENTS: please be very clear that your request is PSDS programme related, so that the DNO team can give the right priority to your question.
  • TYPE OF QUOTATION: we recommend asking for a formal quotation; however, you will need to be very clear on how much capacity you need and where.

Please see an example here of an upgrade form. (Source UKPN): 

What happens next?

  • You should receive a notification accepting your request with the details of the team members that is looking into it.
  • The expected resolution time is between three weeks to six months for the most complex requests, therefore plan adequate time for your DNO request submission. This should be in your priority list during or at the end of the design phase.
  • Keep in regular touch with your supplier, speak with the person who is managing your request and make sure they understand that your project is PSDS funded and that you have a hard delivery deadline. 
  • Make sure that you have clearly read the list of activities listed in your quotation, that you are responsible for, and ensure that you can complete them within the project timeline.
  • The power capacity might be available but is not yours until you pay for it. Do not wait for the quotation to expire and if you have any questions, ask them as soon as possible. There is a lot of work that needs to be done after your quotation acceptance, please do not wait too long.
  • You will be quoted for ‘contestable’ and ‘non-contestable work'. The non-contestable works can be completed only by the DNO, for the contestable works you can appoint the DNO or an IDNO (Independent DNO). This work must be paid for in advance once a contract is signed with the DNO covering any work commencing on or off site.