Our team of experts have listened to the most common questions asked about competition in the new connections sector. Whether you are a customer, or looking to join our company, or have a general interest in the utilities industry, we hope you can find an answer to your question below.
If you have a question that isn’t listed below please send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will reply directly to you.
I thought the only company who could install and connect a new electricity and/or gas supply was the local network / supply company known e.g. for electricity the DNO (Distribution Network Operator)?
No, the industry regulator OFGEM created an open competitive market back in 1999, and as a result, over half of all new electricity connections (as at June 2015) are now completed by independent connection companies, not just the DNOs. In the gas market, an estimated 1 million homes use an IGT network.
Energetics is accredited to design and build new utility networks and the company also has two asset owning companies (Energetics Electricity Ltd and Energetics Gas Ltd) that are licenced by OFGEM to own and operate electricity and gas networks.
Energetics Electricity Ltd holds an OFGEM issued IDNO (Independent Distribution Network Operator) licence, whilst Energetics Gas Ltd holds and OFGEM issued IGT (Independent Gas Transporter) licence.
Many thousands of new developments across housing and commercial property enjoy the benefits of getting their electricity and gas connections completed by an independent connections provider like Energetics.
What is the difference between an IDNO and a DNO?
DNOs (formerly Regional Electricity Companies) cover a separate geographical region of Great Britain, however IDNOs of which Energetics is one, are not restricted by regions and can own and operate networks located within the areas covered by the DNOs. IDNO networks are mainly extensions to the DNO networks serving new housing and commercial developments.
IDNOs are licenced and governed by OFGEM and have the same obligations and performance standards as DNOs.
How are independent connection companies accredited?
Lloyd's Register operates, on behalf of the UK (DNOs), the National Electricity Registration Scheme.
The scheme represents part of an ongoing process to facilitate competition into the electrical services and connections market.
Under the scheme, Lloyd’s perform technical assessments for the accreditation of electrical connections contestable works. This ensures network safety and that new connection work is meeting the required DNO standards. Energetics is fully accredited under the Lloyds Registration Scheme. Visit our Accreditations page to see our licences and industry compliance.
Are IDNOs licenced?
Yes. IDNOs own, operate and maintain local electricity distribution networks that are directly connected to DNO networks. IDNOs hold licences issued by the energy regulator OFGEM and have the same obligations and performance standards as DNOs. Under licence conditions IDNOs have full responsibility for emergency coverage and network performance; Energetics meets all the stringent criteria required under licence.
Are Energetics’ networks built to the same standards as DNO networks?
Yes. Energetics guarantee that all networks built will meet the standard laid down by the regional DNO. Energetics’ heritage is largely based on DNO knowledge, methodology and experience; therefore our experienced engineers are experts in the design and build of power networks to the required standards.
Are IDNO networks safe?
Yes. Because of stringent accreditation and licensing by OFGEM, IDNO networks are designed and built to meet the highest standards of quality and safety. The element of a project designed by the IDNO which will be adopted by the DNO are inspected and approved by the regional DNO under what is known as ‘Design Approval’.
There are many thousands of IDNO networks across the UK, including most new private housing and other commercial sectors including hospitals, data centres, schools, manufacturing, technology and retail.
What do the terms Contestable and Non Contestable works mean?
Most of the work required for your new utility supply is known as contestable work i.e. work that can be undertaken by an independent company and not exclusively by the host DNO or Gas Distribution Network Operator.
In some instances the host DNO or Gas Distribution Network Operator has to complete some of the works on their equipment to enable your development to be connected which they restrict solely to their own operators or chosen contractors, as well as completing the final connection. This work is known as non-contestable works.
Are there guaranteed delivery standards?
Yes. Under OFGEM regulations, there are certain service level guarantees for non-contestable activity such as design approval and the final connection.
What happens in an emergency or loss of supply?
IDNOs have licence obligations in place to ensure a 24/7 emergency response that matches that of a DNO. Once the IDNO is informed of an emergency (either by being called directly or via the DNO/energy supplier) a procedural response will be actioned to ensure the network is made safe and any supply fault is isolated and rectified as quickly as possible. Use our troubleshooting guides in our Network Emergencies section before calling.
For Electricity emergencies, you should call our emergency Freephone number on 0800 804 8688.
Who maintains an IDNO network?
In line with their licenced obligations, an IDNO is responsible for the maintenance of their network.
Does it cost more for domestic consumers if they are connected to an IDNO network?
No. All IDNOs have a licence obligation to not charge more than if the residential customer was connected to the DNO directly. OFGEM regulate the amounts that IDNOs can charge for using their networks via a ‘Relative Price Control’. This requires IDNO charges to be capped for all customers at a level broadly consistent with the DNO equivalent charge.
Does it affect my choice of electricity supplier if I am connected to an IDNO network?
No, the choice of supplier is not affected.
Can DNOs offer capital installation cost discounts (Asset Value) for new developments?
No. To create and promote competition in the connections market, OFGEM through its licencing, allow IDNO’s (who own and operate their electrical networks) to utilise future revenue from their networks. This capital installation costs discount or ‘Asset Value’ is attractive and is used to help reduce the total capital cost of designing and building the power network.
DNOs cannot discount in this way.
What’s a POC?
This is the point of connection where your new supply network is connected to the existing electricity or gas network in the area.
Why do you need to know the POC before you can provide a price?
It’s essential that we know where the connection point of the new network to the existing mains network will be. This is so that we can provide a design and price for the offsite works as well as the onsite network installation. This is known as contestable works. The final connection to the existing electricity and gas network is non-contestable.
What other key benefits does Energetics offer as opposed to a DNO?
Energetics are experts in multi utility connections and can provide a complete end-to-end managed utility service for to get you connected easier and quicker. We do this by tailoring the utility network design and build to meet your needs, providing you with a single point of contact for all your mains utilities (elect/gas and water) supported by a proven multi utility process that covers all third party liaision, legals and on site coordination. In addition we offer consultancy and advisory services on getting utilities connected, together with flexible and attractive commercial terms which are not normally available via the DNO.
Do I have to deal with someone else to get my water supply connected?
No. Energetics can do that for you as well. We are also accredited through Lloyds Register WIRS (Water Industry Regulation Scheme) to provide a self-lay design and build service and the process is principally the same as for the other utilities. Many of our hundreds of development projects have delivered the great advantage of having only one fully managed connections service getting all the utilities to the new development.
As with the gas and electricity work, we will complete all the administration, legals, design, installation, commissioning and liaison with the local water company, however we will then hand over the network to them to adopt, own and operate the water network once connected.
What about my gas supply, who can do that?
The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) has ensured that there is open competition within the gas connections market, so as an independent connections provider, Energetics has the accreditations, skills and significant experience to design, build and install gas networks.
Also as an Independent Gas Transporter (IGT) Energetics is also licenced by OFGEM to own and operate gas networks across the UK.
So can any utility contractor complete the electricity and gas connections work I need?
No. Only companies that are accredited to the right level through Lloyds Register NERS (National Electricity Registration Scheme) and GIRS (Gas Industry Registration Scheme) are able to perform this work. Energetics holds these accreditations and is therefore authorised to perform the technical and engineering work to the appropriate standards.
What do the terms Contestable and Non-Contestable works mean?
Most of the work required for your new utility supply is known as contestable work i.e. work that can be undertaken by an independent company and not exclusively by the Regional Gas Distribution Company.
In some instances the Regional Gas Distribution Company has to complete some of the works on their equipment to enable your development to be connected which they restrict solely to their own operators or chosen contractors, as well as completing the final connection. This work is known as non-contestable works.
I just want a supply, why should I have to sort out different types of work?
You don’t have to; we will do all that for you. Once we have all your site / load details we will do the rest, including liaison and legal compliance work, to ensure you obtain appropriate consents. We will also deal with the electricity and gas network operators for any works they have to do to support your supply connection.
Why use Energetics rather than go straight to the regional gas network operator?
In most instances our price and commercial terms will be more competitive than those offered by existing network operators and because we will also adopt, own and operate the network, the initial installation costs are also likely to be less than other installers who have to ensure the networks are adopted by others. There are also the efficiency benefits of multi utility which is a very popular method of installing utilities; one trench, one contact point and all done in-house by one supplier.
Does this mean Energetics can provide electricity/gas and water utility connections services as a single contact?
Yes, it’s that easy. All we need are the details of your requirements such as a site plan and location, the type of construction either domestic housing, industrial or commercial building, and what the gas, electricity and water usage is likely to be. We will then process the multi utility requirements for the project including applying for the POC (Point of Connection), network design and costing so that we can then provide a fully inclusive quotation for completing the works.
In addition, Energetics can also include telecommunications/fibre and street lighting networks for your development. Find out more by visiting our page on What We Do.
What happens during a gas emergency/loss of supply?
Upon calling the national emergency number, you will usually need to provide your details so that an engineer can be deployed to assess the situation and make safe any faults. If you feel you are an individual with special circumstances, please inform the call handler.