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Export Capacity Recovery

Releasing export capacity from existing customers

As part of Ofgem’s consultation process in to Quicker and More Efficient Connections (QMEC) it was clear that the requirement to reinforce the distribution system (and the associated costs) was one of the biggest factors in influencing the timescale for connection. Reinforcement is required for both demand and distributed generation (DG) type connections but the extremely high volumes of DG applications made due in part to the various Government incentives have put a tremendous strain on the distribution system to the extent now that, due to connected and committed capacity, much of WPD’s network is operating at its limits so that significant reinforcement is required before further generation can be accommodated.
As a member of the DG/DNO Working Group sub-group (coordinated by the ENA) we have worked with other stakeholders to identify methods of improving the connection process and have committed to look at ways of releasing unused capacity so that it may be utilised for new connecting customers and potentially defer reinforcement. Analysis has shown that many existing connected DG customers are underutilising their agreed capacity requirements, in some cases quite significantly. As part of the QMEC initiative and as part of our ICE Workplan, WPD contacted its existing DG customers who were significantly underutilising their export capacity requirements.  Specifically, we wrote to those DG customers who we had identified as not, at any time during any period of 12 consecutive months, exceed 75% of the Maximum Export Capacity and asked them to voluntarily relinquish some of that capacity.
Although the exercise did not prove as successful as we had hoped we did ultimately recover an amount of export capacity, that may be utilised by new DG customers. As a consequence we have committed to regularly  monitor capacity utilisation and to continue to make requests to customers to voluntary relinquish capacity. We will review DG capacity utilisation on a 3 month rolling basis, thus returning to each of our 4 licensed distribution areas on an annual basis. At each review point we will seek to identify any new cases of export capacity underutilisation and make further requests to DG customers to relinquish capacity. We will keep this process under review and monitor its success.”