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Words by Anthony Bivens, Advisory Services Senior Consultant, ElectraLink

The shift from Distribution Network Operators (DNO) to Distribution System Operators (DSO) – colloquially known as the DSO transition – is one of the greatest paradigm shifts seen in the electricity sector since deregulation in the late 1990s.

This transition will enable network operators to dynamically manage their networks and underpin the move to net zero. It will also allow better responses to the challenges and opportunities arising from increasing levels of renewable generation and energy storage, electrification of transport, and the proliferation of low carbon technologies and services.

The move to DSO will enable new services, solutions and opportunities for market participants and customers alike, unlocking the potential of flexibility, allowing customers to take greater control of their energy and enabling a smart, efficient and low carbon electricity system.

Realising the transition

There are several key industry initiatives underway which are contributing to the DSO transition as well as individual network operator DSO visions and strategies. Such initiatives include the Open Networks project and ElectraLink’s Flexr project. The energy market needs to consider the regulatory requirements from initiatives across the system that will either need to be developed, or for existing licences and codes, evolved.

In order to realise the maximum benefit from the DSO transition, it is essential that market participants effectively collaborate and that the broad range of skill sets across the sector are appropriately positioned and leveraged. Effective market coordination is key to ensure the delivery of a fit for purpose electricity system and in ensuring the facilitation of open and accessible markets for all participants.

For example, ElectraLink recently produced a consultancy report with SSEN, which sets out DSO code governance guidance to feed into SSEN’s TRANSITION and LEO projects. The findings of discovery and validation workshops (facilitated by ElectraLink in 2019 and 2020) informed the development of a regulatory roadmap and bespoke regulatory service framework with repeatable impact assessment.

Each business is unique and operates in a highly complex energy landscape, particularly with setbacks emerging from the COVID-19 lockdown. Expert management of effective business outcomes requires industry experience and knowledge to provide outcomes that meet individual business needs now and in the future, continually evolving to deliver both existing and new services in a transforming marketplace.

Supporting the shift to DSO

ElectraLink has been delivering services on behalf of energy market participants since 1998. We actively contribute to the energy market as thought leaders, innovators and providers of market data analysis, sharing our knowledge and providing insight into the future of the market.

We work closely with customers to provide tailored DSO services and support across a broad range of areas including agile governance, digitisation, project management and more. Some of our Advisory Service offerings includes:

  • Regulation and code expertise
  • DNO – DSO transition
  • Innovation project proposals, funding bids and governance guidance
  • Process assessment and improvement
  • Dashboards, fixed cycle reporting and market insight
  • Workshops and collaborative solutions development
  • Roadmaps, impact assessments and regulatory landscaping
  • Digitalisation of complex information and processes

If you are interested in finding out more about ElectraLink and our Advisory Services, please contact us at [email protected]