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  • Entering the electricity connections market

    Entering the electricity connections market

  • Contestable electricity connection works may be provided by Independent Connections Providers (ICPs) instead of incumbent Distribution Network Operators (DNOs).

    In order to enter the market to compete for contestable connection works, an ICP must gain accreditation under the National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS), which is operated by Lloyd’s Register. This scheme ensures that accredited ICPs have appropriate management systems in place and the required levels of competence to undertake contestable works that will be adopted by DNOs. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks recognises the NERS and will work with any ICP that is registered on the scheme, to facilitate their delivery of contestable connections works. We will adopt assets installed by ICPs with the appropriate accreditations, subject to satisfactory workmanship and the terms of our Adoption Agreements.

    An ICP can seek accreditation under the categories of project management, design and/or construction, for some or all of the following scopes of work:

    • Underground cables, at any voltage from LV to 132kV
    • Overhead lines, at any voltage from LV to 132kV
    • Substations, at any voltage from LV to 132kV
    • All associated civil works

     

    For example if an ICP wishes to compete to deliver electricity connections for new large housing developments, using their own workforce, they may seek NERS accreditation under the following categories:

    • Design of LV cable networks to domestic properties
    • Design of HV cable networks up to 11kV
    • Design of substation layouts up to 11kV
    • Excavation and backfilling up to tile tape level
    • Cable laying up to 11kV
    • Cable jointing at LV (live and/or dead)
    • Cable jointing at 11kV
    • Substation installation up to 11kV

     

    Gaining accreditation is a two stage process. With assistance from a Lloyd’s Register, an initial gap analysis will help the ICP identify any deficiencies to be addressed. The Assessor will check that the ICP has the appropriate management systems, method statements and competencies in place, and if satisfactory, will award partial accreditation for the categories and scopes of works being sought. A well prepared ICP can gain partial accreditation within a period of around six weeks.

    With partial accreditation, an ICP can apply to DNOs for non-contestable point of connection (POC) quotations and compete for contestable connections works. Upon winning work, the second stage assessment to gain full accreditation is begun, with site visits undertaken by the Assessor to check that work is being undertaken in accordance with the systems and methods assessed en route to partial accreditation. Full accreditation is awarded for the scope of works that is satisfactorily demonstrated on site.

    Depending on the ICP’s level of readiness, the time taken from initial application to full accreditation can take up to three months.