Distribution System Operator (DSO)
UK Power Networks' DSO is using smart technology to deliver a network ready for the future
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.
Electric Vehicles served by our network.
Distributed energy resources across our network.
Enough to power more than 6 million homes.
Customer savings in the next five years.
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.
The Distribution System Operator (DSO) has three main roles:
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.
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.
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 a 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.
Chief Executive Officer
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.Find out more
Get to know the DSO team
Our DSO team are experts in numerous areas of the energy sector. From Flexibility Markets, Open Data and Network Operation to our Local Net Zero team, our people have the knowledge, skills and experience to help you realise your Net Zero ambitions.Meet the team
Latest news & updates from UK Power Networks
DSO Forward Plan 2023/2024
As part of our commitment to facilitating Net Zero, we’ve established an independent Distribution System Operator to keep pace with this change. A new era for electricity networks is here, with electricity demand forecast to double by 2050 and a commitment to decarbonise by 2035. Our new Forward Plan sets out the actions the UK’s first independent DSO is taking and how they’ll benefit our customers.View the DSO Forward Plan
Distribution Network Options Assessment (DNOA)
The DNOA suite of documents provides transparency to the industry on the decisions we are taking to meet the future capacity needs across our South East, London and East of England regions over the next few years. The framework will help us prioritise flexibility and reduce up to £410 million in load related expenditure.Read more
If you want to play a part in powering the lives of over 8 million people, UK Power Networks is the place to be. Join us, and we’ll give you every opportunity to fulfil your potential and have a long and successful career, where you’ll help us shape the future of the energy and utility industry.Search jobs