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Flexibility & flexible power

Times are changing for the country’s electricity distribution networks. The transition to a low carbon economy is the biggest change we have faced in our history.

The networks were designed for a one-way power flow: from centralised power stations, through the transmission network and then into the local distribution networks to the point where it arrives at customers’ meters. But the increasing electrification of heat, the introduction of electric vehicles and the change in the way we generate electricity from fossil fuels to renewables are both increasing demand and changing the power flows on our network.

We’re no longer dealing with one-way power flows: that means we have to find new ways of balancing the load on the networks to ensure customers have the power they need when they want it.

Flexibility is one of the solutions to the changing use of the power networks. Fundamentally, flexibility is about reducing loads on the network by using customers’ ability to change their usage patterns by either switching on generators or reducing consumption. Managing peak load through flexibility helps reduce costs to all customers because it means we don’t have to invest in a permanent upgrade to meet a temporary spike in demand.

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