Capacity allocation and reservation
As part of our role as the incumbent DNO for the regions in which we operate, we have an obligation to connect new customers to the network by constructing new assets and upgrading the existing network as required to provide customers with the capacity they need.
In the past few years we have seen an upturn in new demand connections enquiries with many of these characterised by relatively large capacity requirements and long development build-out timescales. These are typically related to housing or commercial schemes. We have also seen a rapid increase in requests to connect battery storage schemes which are characterised by having large and immediate demand capacity requirements (alongside their equivalent export capacity requirements).
The increase in activity and demand for capacity means that in certain areas the network has become constrained so no further connections can be made without significant reinforcement. A considerable proportion of these constraints can be attributed to capacity which has been contracted under new connections schemes and ‘reserved’ but has not yet been taken up by an end user. This is because once a new connection offer has been accepted we have to ensure that this capacity is available to the customer according to the terms of the connection offer agreement. Therefore any design for subsequent applications for connection must assume that the previously contracted capacity will be fully utilised and is no longer available for the benefit of new customers.
We wanted to address this issue and find a way of contracting for capacity that is fair and reasonable for both the customer first requesting capacity, subsequent customers wishing to connect in the same proximity and also our wider customer base. To help us explore the matter we issued a consultation setting out our initial thoughts. The consultation set out the issues we had been encountering with the volume, size and type of new demand connection applications and how these impacted on both existing and future customers. We also presented some proposals on our minded to approach to the way in which we allocate network capacity to new customers and how we allow them to reserve this capacity prior to the connection and energisation of the end user connections.
We wanted to know your views on the issues and proposals presented in this consultation. It was important that we got a broad range of stakeholders’ opinions and we were keen to get your feedback on the specific questions we included throughout the consultation. Our intention was that the underlying principles established by this consultation process would enable us to produce policy and process changes supported by and benefiting our stakeholders.
We received over 20 responses from stakeholders representing a broad spectrum of connections stakeholders, including Local Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Independent Connection Providers (ICPs), Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNOs), developers and consultants. We have produced a response document which sets out the feedback received, WPD's view and our proposed next steps.
Having considered the points raised throughout the process, we have now provided a decision document which sets out the changes we will implement by the end of June 2019.
Should you have any queries regarding this consultation or WPD's response, please contact:
Connections Policy Engineer
Western Power Distribution
Pegasus Business Park
East Midlands Airport
T: 01332 827510
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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