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Open Networks’ relentless focus on innovation, delivery and Net Zero

02 October 2019


Today, Energy Networks Association has responded to BEIS and Ofgem’s open letter on the Open Networks Project. Open Networks has led a positive step-change to bring new benefits to the public, drive openness and competition in the electricity market and ensure greater network coordination – vital to helping deliver Net Zero.

The Project will keep up its focus on delivering tangible outcomes that help network companies manage their systems smarter while facilitating the growth of emerging flexibility services markets – market places for services provided by new smart energy technologies. It has already been a year of success with major initiatives delivered including:

  • Electricity network companies launching a new flexibility commitment, outlined in ENA’s Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services.
  • Securing strong agreement and a shared industry vision on the next steps to deliver a smarter grid via the Project’s Future World’s Impact Assessment consultation.
  • Improving customer experience by implementing good practice across electricity network processes.
  • Practical progress to ensure more transparent use of data, including launching ENA’s System-Wide Resource Register.

In order to build further momentum in the right direction, stakeholders will continue to be involved at every stage of the Open Networks Project. ENA is grateful for BEIS and Ofgem’s ongoing support and involvement, and their recognition of the value the Project is delivering toward Britain’s energy transition.

Direction received from BEIS and Ofgem enables the Project to build on the success achieved to-date, and plan and deliver the next important steps toward a smart grid including:

  • Monitoring implementation of Open Networks’ outcomes and Flexibility Commitments on a six-monthly basis
  • Planning change to deliver Distribution System Operation (DSO) through a DSO implementation plan
  • Defining outcomes with planned timescales in the 2020 work plan
  • Raising appropriate change within electricity network companies and/or electricity codes
  • Identifying any barriers to development where we may need Ofgem or BEIS policy intervention

Commenting on the letter, David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association, said:

“With this direction and support from BEIS and Ofgem, ENA’s Open Networks Project can continue to drive vital change within our energy system to benefit the public and help meet Britain’s Net Zero target.

“The major work delivered by the Project this year alone is the result of stakeholder involvement from across the energy industry and will continue to be key as Britain transitions its energy system

“Not only is the Project laying the foundations for a smarter grid, but it is delivering tangible, short-term changes including enabling the growth of emerging local electricity markets and ensuring local electricity networks can be managed actively and efficiently.”

Press contacts for journalists

Daniel Clelland

Communications Manager

Energy Networks Association

020 7706 5186

+44 (0) 7885 998360

ENA Press Office


Notes to editor

  • Energy Networks Association represents the companies responsible for operating the ‘wires and pipes’ of Britain’s energy network infrastructure.
  • The Open Networks Project brings together electricity transmission and distribution network companies with industry stakeholders, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the energy regulator Ofgem, to lay the foundations for the smart grid in Great Britain and inform future developments Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
  • Examples of flexibility services include:
    • Households charging their electric vehicles at off-peak times or when it is sunniest, whilst other households’ domestic solar panels are generating electricity.
    • Businesses striking demand-side response agreements to adjust their electricity use at the times of day when they least need it, helping reduce the need and cost of building new infrastructure.
    • Using battery storage to help network operators proactively manage a rapidly changing electricity grid where electricity now flows in many different directions, rather than in just one as it has done in the past.
  • The full ENA response to the BEIS and Ofgem open letter can be found here.
  • While ENA is not formally consulting on their response to the BEIS / Ofgem letter, stakeholder feedback is welcome on how ENA has responded to the challenges set by BEIS and Ofgem in their original letter.
    • The Open Networks Project is beginning to plan out the work for 2020 and draft the annual Project Initiation Document, therefore this is an opportunity to provide stakeholder input to the planning whilst it is still in development.
    • Stakeholder feedback is encouraged to be submitted by COP Tuesday 22nd October 2019 to:
  • ENA and its members recently launched a new commitment to support flexibility services. The full text of the Flexibility Commitment: Our Six Steps for Delivering Flexibility Services can be found here. The steps adopted will be fundamental in defining how the public, businesses and networks interact in the future by:
    • Championing a level playing field;
    • Ensuring visibility and accessibility;
    • Conducting procurement in an open and transparent manner;
    • Providing clarity on the dispatch of services;
    • Providing regular, consistent and transparent reporting;
    • Working together towards whole energy system outcomes
  • As a world leader in clean energy, this commitment builds on the work of ENA’s Open Networks Project, where the long-term roles and responsibilities of Britain’s local electricity networks are being redefined as new competitive markets for flexibility open up. ENA and its member electricity organisations has worked extensively and inclusively with stakeholders, sharing our flexibility developments and listening to wide reaching feedback at every step to arrive at these commitments.

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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