Distribution network operator

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Distribution network operators (DNOs) are companies licensed to distribute electricity in Great Britain by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets.

There are fourteen licensed geographically defined areas, based on the former area electricity board boundaries, where the distribution network operator distributes electricity from the transmission grid to homes and businesses. Under the Utilities Act 2000 they are prevented from supplying electricity; this is done by a separate electricity supply company, chosen by the consumer, who makes use of the distribution network.

Distribution network operators are also responsible for allocating the core Meter Point Administration Number used to identify individual supply points in their respective areas, as well as operating and administering a Meter Point Administration System that manages the details relating to each supply point. These systems then populate ECOES, the central online database of electricity supply points. Their trade association is the Energy Networks Association.

History[edit]

Map of DNO licence areas, coloured by company group

In 1990, the area boards were replaced by regional electricity companies, which were then privatised. The distribution network operators are the successors to the distribution arms of the regional electricity companies. The distribution network operators have a trade association called the Energy Networks Association

At September 2013, six company groups hold the fourteen distribution licences:[1]

Area ID Area Company
10 East England UK Power Networks
11 East Midlands Western Power Distribution
12 London UK Power Networks
13 North Wales, Merseyside and Cheshire Scottish Power Energy Networks
14 West Midlands Western Power Distribution
15 North East England Northern Power Grid
16 North West England Electricity North West
17 North Scotland Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution
18 South Scotland Scottish Power Energy Networks
19 South East England UK Power Networks
20 Southern England Southern Electric Power Distribution
21 South Wales Western Power Distribution
22 South West England Western Power Distribution
23 Yorkshire Northern Power Grid

IDNOs[edit]

In addition to the distribution network operators noted above who are licensed for a specific geographic area there are also independent distribution network operators (IDNO). IDNOs own and operate electricity distribution networks which will predominantly be network extensions connected to the existing distribution network, e.g. to serve new housing developments. Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution also provide distribution services in South Scotland as an IDNO and Southern Electric Power Distribution provide IDNO services in all other England and Wales areas. The IDNOs have no geographically defined "base" area.

Area ID Name Licensee MPAS Operator ID
24 Envoy Independent Power Networks IPNL
25 ESP Electricity ESP Electricity LENG
26 Energetics Global Utilities Connections (Electric) Ltd GUCL
27 GTC The Electricity Network Company Ltd ETCL
28 EDF IDNO UK Power Networks (IDNO) Ltd EDFI
29 HARLAXTON ENERGY NETWORKS LTD Harlaxton (IDNO) HARL

BNOs[edit]

A further, smaller level of distribution is the Building Network Operator (BNO), usually a company employed by the building owner, in a large building with many meters, such as a block of private flats. In this case the DNO may act as BNO and its responsibility may include the sub-mains to the individual flats, or DNO responsibility may end at the first incomer, in which case the independent BNO is responsible for the secure distribution cabling 'laterals' between that point and the individual fuses and meters. This arrangement is a relatively new development, historically such cabling would have been maintained and sealed by electricity boards that preceded the DNOs, and different DNOs supplying buildings of different sizes and conditions, may chose to adopt the wiring in the building or to insist that an independent BNO is appointed.[2] Unlike an DNO or an IDNO, BNOs are excepted from any registration requirement by schedule 3 of The Electricity (Class Exemptions from the Requirement for a Licence) Order 2001[3] and this allows those responsible for the building network (such as a housing association) to employ any suitable electrical contractor on an ad-hoc basis.

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