Distribution network operator

The UK Power Networks has been recognised by Ofgem for improvements in customer service through direct engagement with customers.According to a statement, the distribution network operator has been ranked second out of six in the energy regulator's 2016-2017 Stakeholder Engagement and Consumer Vulnerability Incentive.

The Stakeholder Engagement and Consumer Vulnerability is designed by Ofgem to help distribution system operators learn how consumers view their services in order to develop frameworks they can they can use to improve their operations and customer services.

The recognition is UK Power Networks' second following the company’s first recognition in Ofgem’s 2015-2016 report.

The utility has in 2016 and 2017 engaged with some 44,648 consumers at 125 events including at shopping centres where the UK Power Networks advertised and registered customers to its Priority Service Register.

The company’s Priority Service Register is used to provide registered consumers with tailored or personalised assistance in the event of power outages and in a number of utility programmes such as energy efficiency.

For instance, using the list UK Power Networks' staff visit homes of customers with disability challenges to do home energy assessments, provide meals and during times when power outages occur.

According to UK Power Networks, the shopping centre events and advertisements placed on shopping bags have helped increase the Priority Service Register by 50% as the lists exceeded one million registers.

Matt Rudling, director of customer services at UKPN, said: “It is crucially important that we adapt to meet changing customer needs and expectations, especially at a time of unprecedented change. This year we have engaged more stakeholders from more organisations than ever before...”

Rebecca Packwood, CEO, of Dementia charity, Age Exchange said: “It has been great to see UK Power Networks engage directly with people living with dementia to understand their needs. UK Power Networks is leading the way in engaging with vulnerable customers and I’m delighted to see they have been rewarded for their hard work today.”

Distribution network operator and energy storage adoption

Meanwhile, the utility has launched a new online platform to simplify and fast-track the application process for connecting small-scale energy storage systems for domestic and commercial customers.

In a statement, the UK energy distributor said the online tool falls under efforts to increase adoption of energy storage systems and renewable energy resources by the utility’s customers to be able to meet demand during peak periods.

In addition, energy storage systems will help keep energy bills low by avoiding use grid power during peak periods when tariffs are high.

The tool will help customers of the distribution network operator wanting to be equipped with energy storage systems to save time and money in the application process.

The launch of the online application process follows the UK government announcing £246 million ($325 million) in investments towards research and development energy storage battery technologies under efforts to expand the region’s energy storage market.

At the same time, UK Power Networks is in partnership with the Energy Networks Association in the process of developing guidelines for connecting small-scale energy storage systems.

Barry Hatton, Director of Asset Management at UK Power Networks, said: “UK Power Networks is embracing the future of energy distribution and generation, and this move underlines our commitment to listening to our customers and delivering practical solutions.

“Small-scale electricity storage in people’s homes and businesses is predicted to grow in the coming years and we have taken another step to facilitate it by making it quicker and easier to connect to our network.

The company claims it was the first to develop a grid-scale energy storage system in Britain by constructing its plant in Leighton Buzzard. Read more...