UK Power Networks, an electricity distributor in London, the East and South East has launched a new vision to support the future and to create an electricity network that lets communities and consumers benefit from new technologies.

In the coming years, more and more people will own electric and driverless cars, use smart appliances in their homes, and generate, store and sell their own electricity.  UK Power Networks is setting out how it will enable people, communities and business to benefit from such technologies, while continuing to provide safe, reliable services for all customers.

The business will transform from being a Distribution Network Operator (DNO) which simply manages the network, to become a Distribution System Operator (DSO) which enables a smart, flexible system that responds to customers’ needs.

UK Power Networks’ vision for the future, outlined in its Future Smart consultation, proposes radical changes to enable electricity networks to keep up with the needs and expectations of consumers, and outlines how people and their use of new technologies will be at the heart of the new electricity system.

UK Power Networks launches the consultation at a time when the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy is revolutionising electricity production, distribution and consumption.

Basil Scarsella, CEO UK Power Networks, commented:

“We are on the verge of a change as significant for electricity as the advent of broadband was for telecommunications.

“We are working with policy makers, regulators, academia, SMEs and importantly customers to lay the foundations for an exciting future, which will place customers in control of energy usage.

“We’re doing the work now to make this exciting future possible.  So today we’re launching our vision for the smart network, and we want everyone’s views”.

During the transition to being a DSO, UK Power Networks will continue to maintain the safety and reliability of its electricity networks whilst managing the increased complexity driven by the distributed energy connected to its networks.

Basil is also chairman of the Energy Networks Association, and the chief executive David Smith said:

“The move from traditional Distribution Network Operators to more active and empowered Distribution System Operators, with far greater capabilities to manage local electricity grids, is a major transition for our networks.

“Developing a DSO Strategy is a significant step forward to delivering the smart grid, and will present a whole new host of new opportunities for energy networks and consumers. Through the Open Networks Project, the networks and the system operator will work together to ensure that they facilitate new technology and services, invest in the most efficient way possible and keep our lights on whilst keeping down costs as we transition to a low carbon economy.”