Ofgem has brought in a connections code of practice for distribution networks. It is hoped that the move will increase competition in the grid connections market, where businesses can often face delays and high prices before being connected to the grid.
The regulator said it will bring in the code from the end of October. It is acting because although independent connections providers are gaining a foothold in the market, there are some services only a DNO can provide. That can cause delays because independent connections providers are not always given all the required information when it is needed.
However, businesses themselves could be more proactive. Only around 35% of connection charges are contested, the majority of which come from the residential building industry, according to Tony Dodds, a director at Noveus, which provides connections consultancy and project management. The firm says clients do not have to just accept what they are offered and that six figure savings are realistic.
Ofgem’s Maxine Frerk said some DNOs were more anticompetitive than others. “This has to stop and our Code of Practice will ensure that independent companies are treated fairly and consistently across the country,” she said. “This means housing developers, businesses and other organisations will get real choice in who delivers their connections, leading to quicker completion and higher customer service standards.”
Housebuilders welcomed the move.