Ofgem introduces new grid connection rules

New rules have been introduced to increase competition in the electricity connections market.

Ofgem has brought in the first ever code of practice for distribution networks (DNOs), which sets out what they must do to improve competition. 

DNOs must follow the code rules or they could face enforcement action from Ofgem. 

The electricity connections market is worth over £500 million per year with hundreds of thousands of connections made every year, for example, to new housing estates and business premises. 

Over the last five years competition in this market has developed. However, in each region, DNOs are still the sole providers of several essential services needed to make connections. This limits competitors’ ability to control the delivery of their connections and can cause costly delays. 

“We want to see competition in the electricity connections market thriving,” said Ofgem’s Senior Partner in electricity distribution, Maxine Frerk.

“While some DNOs are helping to achieve this, many independent companies still face unnecessary delays and needless complexity.

“This has to stop and our code of practice will ensure that independent companies are treated fairly and consistently across the country. This means housing developers, businesses and other organisations will get real choice in who delivers their connections, leading to quicker completion and higher customer service standards.”

Dave Mitchell, Technical Director at the Home Builders Federation said: "Housebuilders welcome the introduction of the new code of practice and Ofgem’s attempts to improve the process of connecting up new build sites. Increasing the number of new homes being built and addressing the country's chronic housing crisis is a key the government target and already output is increasing. As the industry looks to drive further increases in supply, it is imperative that processes are in place to ensure the speedy and efficient connection of new homes to the grid."

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues