UK Power Networks
Distribution System Operator (DSO)

UK Power Networks' DSO is using smart technology to deliver a network ready for the future

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Electricity networks are changing and continuing to evolve at pace.

As more people opt for low-carbon, electric alternatives, the demand on the electricity network continues to rise and is forecasted to double by 2050. UK Power Networks’ DSO ensures sufficient electricity capacity across London, the East and South East to support the anticipated uptake of electric vehicles, heat pumps and renewables generation.

Letting our customers use the network how they like, when they like.

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Electric Vehicles served by our network.

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Distributed energy resources across our network.

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Enough to power more than 6 million homes.

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Customer savings in the next five years.

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Why we’ve established the DSO

Using flexibility as a smart solution to complement new infrastructure.

Security of supply, affordability and sustainability remain the three priorities of an effective, balanced energy system. That’s why we’re taking a flexibility-first approach to planning the future of our network.

To achieve this requires new and innovative thinking in how to run a network. That is why in April 2023, UK Power Networks launched the first independent DSO to provide, at lowest cost, enough electricity capacity across London, the East and the South East of England to facilitate the transition to Net Zero.

We have set ourselves ambitious targets including a reduction in network reinforcement costs of over £400m by 2028.

To reach these targets requires a big push from us to develop flexibility markets in the areas we serve. Well-functioning markets require information and trust, which is why we have also committed to strong governance measures to guarantee the DSO’s independence and transparency of decision-making.

We have guaranteed its independence by establishing the DSO as a separate legal entity, with its own independent supervisory board, executive management level representation within UK Power Networks and clear incentives from our regulator, Ofgem.

How it works

The Distribution System Operator (DSO) has three main roles:

    1. Network strategy and local Net Zero

      Using data and insights to demonstrate how our network can best meet future capacity needs, while centring customers through a cost-effective, transparent approach and centring local authorities’ decarbonisation plans.

    2. Market development through flexibility products and services

      Once we have market tested load needs and assessed options, we can begin developing flexibility products and services and build the market for them. Flexibility is a way of using existing infrastructure intelligently to save costs and work towards Net Zero, instead of building more infrastructure on our network.

    3. Network operation

      The final stage in the process is ensuring the flexibility services we’ve developed are used efficiently and transparently in our Control Room.

    In delivering these roles, our interaction with the distribution network operator (DNO) is key. To ensure a productive working relationship with clear allocation of responsibilities and to address any potential conflicts of interest or misaligned incentives, we have produced an Operational Agreement between the DSO and DNO, and we are aiming for 100% compliance.

Through our independent Distribution System Operator, UK Power Networks is becoming a disrupter – thinking in new ways, being more dynamic and agile in line with changing market conditions and customer behaviour and working in much stronger collaboration with others.

Basil Scarsella

Chief Executive Officer

Basil Scarsella
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Enabling Net Zero at lowest cost

‘Flexibility’ is the ability to change generation or consumption patterns to support the electricity system. Participating homes and businesses can earn payments, while saving costs for everyone and helping more low-carbon technologies to connect to the network.

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Tender Hub

Could you be a flexibility provider?

The DSO is looking to recruit flexible providers who have solutions ready to connect to the grid and able to either meet or reduce demand on the network. Find out more and apply in our Tender Hub.

View Tender Hub
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Upcoming events

Your chance to learn more

Our team holds numerous events from breakfast briefings to conferences – your opportunity to make your voice heard and learn more about our service.

View events
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Got a question?

If you would like any more information about the DSO or want to share your own ideas, we would love to hear from you.

Latest news & updates from UK Power Networks' DSO


Latest DFES now available

The Distribution Future Energy Scenarios (DFES) comprises an interactive summary, a technical report, and interactive maps that create a picture of how the energy system might look by 2050, using four ‘scenario worlds’. We publish this as an interactive summary and share it with local councils, regional planning authorities, businesses, or charities to help them build their own climate action plans. We also publish the raw data so users can create their own analysis.

Read the DFES

New partnership between UK Power Networks and EPEX SPOT set to 'supercharge flexibility market'

UK Power Networks’ Distribution System Operator (DSO) has announced a partnership with the power market operator EPEX SPOT to host its flexibility market. The new cooperation is set to deliver a paradigm shift in the flexibility market. It opens the market to a new segment of participants, bringing EPEX SPOT’s wholesale market expertise to local flexibility markets, delivering a world-class customer experience.

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Full curtailment history data published

UK Power Networks has become the first Distribution System Operator (DSO) to respond to industry calls and publish full data on curtailment history across its network. We have acted to be more open with data on when and why distributed energy resources are ‘curtailed’ to reduce the impact and get more renewable energy into customers’ homes.

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