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Distribution System Operator

Our energy landscape

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.

The Changing Energy Landscape

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. 

What is a Distribution System Operator (DSO)?

The magnitude of these changes means there is a clear need for us to deliver a set of functions, activities, and enablers 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.

To us, a DSO is a set of functions, activities and enablers that we plan to deliver, so that we can continue to serve our customers and communities.

They include delivering a smarter and more agile network infrastructure, making extensive use of services delivered by our customers, being a neutral facilitator of an open and accessible Distributed Energy Resources (DER) services market, and coordinating DER services to deliver a safe, efficient, and reliable whole system. We’ll deliver these in a cost effective way and at a pace that meets our customers’ needs.

Our DSO strategy

To start to address the changes we see as being critical to the future, in October 2016 we were the first in our industry to publish a Distribution System Operation Vision. This described the whole system operating model which we think is best suited to address these changes, and the roles and responsibilities which it involves.

Since then, the changes have increased and the challenges intensified.

The magnitude of these changes means there is a clear need for a set of functions and activities to meet our customers’ evolving needs, delivering net zero, and ensure the continued safe, reliable and efficient operation of the distribution network and wider energy system for all customers.

We’ve already started delivering many of these DSO functions and activities. There is still some way to go, but we’re ready for this journey.

Building on this Vision and the extensive work we have done since, we have now created our DSO Strategy. This details the exact functions, activities and enablers we see as necessary from now through to the end of RIIO-ED2 (2028), to delivering this vital development for the GB electricity system.

We recently spent time updating our strategy, which now details the progress we’ve made since 2016 and crucially, the exact functions, activities and enablers we see as necessary, to delivering this vital development for the GB electricity system.


You can also read more on some of our specific DSO activities via the following pages:

 
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