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ENA standardises approach to flexibility for GB distribution network operators

31 March 2021


A tool developed by ENA’s leading Open Networks project for all distribution network operators in Great Britain to be able to ‘market test’ and make decisions on potential flexibility solutions will be adopted nationally from tomorrow (1 April).

It introduces a standard and transparent methodology for distribution network operators when choosing solutions to solve congestion. It will provide greater visibility of the decision methodology and give confidence to flexibility providers, in turn stimulating flexibility volumes and competition in the market, ultimately reducing costs for network customers.

The Common Evaluation Methodology helps the networks get the right solution onto the network when faced by constraints, by assessing different potential options, and ensures that distribution network operators are evaluating flexible options versus traditional network reinforcement solutions consistently and transparently.

The improved approach was developed in partnership with independent consultants Baringa Partners and drives consistency across the country and increases transparency of decision making. It creates a level playing field across the country for anyone to participate in, something all networks committed to in Our six steps for delivering flexibility services, and realise additional value from their connected smart technology.

Randolph Brazier, Director of Innovation and Electricity Systems at Energy Networks Association said:

“Opening local markets for flexibility services remains a major focus of the Open Networks project and the launch of this tool marks a big step forward as it essentially enables a common and transparent methodology for assessing flexibility across GB. Building these markets requires consumers to have the confidence to participate, so having a standard decision-making process across the country means that those wishing to pitch-in and provide services to the networks know exactly what criteria will be used to assess their solution no matter the location.

“The UK’s energy networks have committed to a level playing field across the country, and our Common Evaluation Methodology is, arguably, the world’s first of its type and a significant step forward in building confidence in new local markets. Reaching Net Zero carbon emissions remains our top priority, and with the publication and adoption of this methodology we believe the transparency and consistency will result in more liquidity in flexibility markets.”

Simon Brooke, the Common Evaluation Methodology project lead and ED2 DSO Business Plan lead at Electricity North West, said:

“Developing this common approach through the project has allowed us to bring together expertise from across the country, and through extensive input from the industry and potential users, to make sure everyone can realise the benefits.

“We’ve designed this tool to be enduring and under open governance arrangements at ENA, with all potential changes to be discussed at a new CEM User forum – to be created this summer - that includes stakeholders to reflect industry views in any decisions.”

A workshop webinar, which will include a practical run through of the Common Evaluation Methodology and Tool alongside an opportunity for Q&As, will be held on Thursday 8 April 13:00-14:30. Find out more on ENA’s events page.

Press contacts for journalists

Emily Jones

Communications Lead, Open Networks

+44 (0)20 4599 7681

ENA Press Office


Notes to editor

• You can find all resources associated to the Common Evaluation Methodology and Tool via ENA’s Resource Library.
• The new CEM User forum, to be created under open governance arrangements, will be announced this summer and comprise of the product team and interested industry reps. It will look to build further, important considerations into the tool, such as optionality and carbon impact assessment. The opportunity to put yourself forward to participate in the User Forum will be shared mid-spring.
• About Baringa Partners: Baringa Partners is an independent business and technology consultancy, with over 700 members of staff across our practice areas Energy and Resources, Financial Services, Products and Services, and Government and Public Sector. Baringa is uniquely placed to support our energy clients on network strategies based on 20 years of experience advising governments, industry bodies and network clients in the UK, Europe, Australia, US, Middle East and Asia.

About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

What are energy network operators?

Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 40,000 people in Great Britain.

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