WPD Commits to Connectability
Connectability is key to a low carbon future and underpins our plans to connect thousands of electric vehicles, heat pumps and requests for renewable generation.
Our commitment to Connectability is one of four central pillars underpinning our most ambitious Business Plan ever, alongside our focus on Sustainability, Vulnerability and Affordability.
Our connectability plans for ED2 (which runs from 2023 – 28) will ensure customers can connect low carbon technologies (LCTs) quickly and easily, at a time and place to suit them. We’re already working hard to make sure our network is ready to connect at least an additional 1.5 million electric vehicles and 600,000 heat pumps by 2028. That’s a 279% increase on RIIO-ED1 figures.
As a highly adaptive and innovative business, we’ll do this by continuing to transform our network which is already able to connect more than 31GW of distribution, local and green generation - in spite of being designed for just 14GW of demand.
We’ll promise a same day connections response to domestic customers who want to connect LCTs, as well as speeding up the connections process by introducing our online self-assessment tool for domestic customers.
We will also harness unprecedented digitalisation and innovation to build a smart network that can respond quickly and efficiently to the rapidly changing needs of our customers in a zero carbon future. This will enable customers to adopt domestic LCTs at scale, meaning that network capacity will never be a barrier to connection.
To drive connectability, we will deliver a wide range of outcomes that we know are valued highly by our customers. These include our support for huge uplifts in community energy. We know that community-led renewable energy projects and services to reduce energy demand are key to the UK’s efforts to tackle climate change.
These projects deliver social, environmental and economic benefits to the communities they serve, helping to reduce fuel poverty, encourage engagement with energy issues and generate community funds from renewable energy projects. For all these reasons, we will ensure that the network can connect new community owned generation at scale.
We’ll also deliver additional support to community groups, holding 60 community energy surgeries a year with our dedicated WPD community engineers. We’ve already helped more than 100 community energy schemes to connect to the network, totaling 100MW of distributed generation. During RIIO-ED2, we’ll connect at least a further 150 community energy schemes.
To achieve this, everyone in our business will have a critical role to play. Staff input on how to improve processes, work smarter and introduce digitalised solutions will be key to driving efficiencies that will help us to meet these increased connection volumes in the future. Our first staff engagement workshop since the Business Plan was submitted has already kick-started these conversations, and will be followed by many more opportunities over the coming year to discuss how greater collaboration and innovative thinking can drive improvements.
During ED2, innovative and digital technology will play an increasingly important part in helping both customers and our staff to speed up connection processes. For example, innovative uncertainty mechanisms will help us to deliver a network that meets the evolving needs of our customers by aligning our future energy forecasts with the plans of local regions and the Electricity System Operator.
Our commitment to connectability is just one of the ways in which we are acting on the ambitious and changing priorities of the communities we serve. As we move towards a low carbon future, we will continue to harness the latest innovative and digital solutions to ensure network capacity is never a barrier to the growing demand for LCTs – and that all customers can connect quickly and easily, at a time and place to suit them.
Find out more about our ambitious Business Plan commitments here.