In October 2016, we were the first in our industry to publish a Distribution System
Operation (DSO) Vision in response to evolving customer needs and system challenges.
This described the whole system operating model which we think is best suited to address these changes, and the roles and responsibilities which this involves. Since then, we have worked alongside industry, government, and our customers, through the Open Networks project and other routes, to progress this evolution in the GB energy system.
Our DSO Strategy document, first published in June 2020 and now updated alongside our RIIO-ED2 Business Plan,builds on this work.
The magnitude of these changes means there is a clear need for a set of roles and activities to meet our customers’ evolving needs, deliver Net Zero, and ensure the continued safe, reliable, and efficient operation of the distribution network and wider energy system for all customers. Most of these roles and activities are evolutions of existing business-as-usual activities, whilst others are new. These roles and activities in turn require new supporting infrastructure.
This is what Distribution System Operation (DSO) is to us: the set of roles, activities, and infrastructure that we plan to deliver, so that we can continue to serve our customers and communities. They include more complex planning solutions, smarter and scalable network operation infrastructure, being a neutral facilitator of an open and accessible distribution energy resources (DER) services market, and coordinating DER services to deliver a safe, efficient, and reliable whole system. These must be delivered at a pace that meets our customers’ needs.
Our energy landscape is continually changing, and the needs of our customers and communities constantly evolving.
To tackle the climate emergency and deliver Net Zero carbon targets, a significant proportion of transport and heating will be electrified. We are also going to see a further leap in renewable generation capacity as fossil fuel power stations close, and experience more dynamic and complex power flows as customers become increasingly active participants in the energy system.
If we do not continue to adapt to meet these changes and our customers’ evolving needs, these developments will push the distribution network and wider system beyond what it is currently designed for and adversely impact our customers.