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.

Our 5 key focuses

We aim to deliver the right capacity in the right place, at the right time, at the lowest cost for our customers. To do this, we focus our work around five key areas:

Collaborating across our sector

Bringing you data and information

Developing the flexibility market

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Being transparent in our decision-making

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Planning our network with local authorities

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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

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
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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


DNOA Methodology 2024 published

In March 2024 we published the second version of our DNOA suite of documents. This year it includes the DNOA Methodology, setting out our dedicated governance processes for recommending and approving investment decisions, plus the DNOA Reports, giving a detailed summary of the approved recommendations.

View DNOA 2024

Local Net Zero team recognised at International Energy Awards

UK Power Networks DSO Local Net Zero team took home the Engagement Award for their collaboration with local authorities at the Energy Institute’s International Energy Awards held in London on 29 February. Our 8 Net Zero champions have been busy collaborating with local authorities to make their energy plans a reality through a combination of active engagement, listening, and co-design through people, data, and digital tools.

Read more

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
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