If you are considering switching your fleet to electric vehicles (EVs), or providingEVcharging facilities at your business, you will need to install chargepoints and connect them to the electricity network.
This guidance sets out the process for connecting to the electricity network and includes links to useful resources.
There are 2 types of networks you can connect to:
These networks are maintained and managed by network operators. This guidance focuses mainly on the process for connecting to the distribution network.
The majority of households and businesses will connect to the local low voltage distribution network.
If you are seeking a large connection, for example for a large number of chargepoints or a group of rapid chargepoints, or are connecting in certain areas, it may be more efficient and cost effective for you to connect to the transmission network.
For more information about transmission network connections:
You need to consider your requirements early in the process:
This table sets out some typical chargepoint types and charging times for a standard car battery.
|Approximate charge time||3-8 hours||1-3 hours||20-40 minutes||15-30 minutes|
Contact a chargepoint installer or network operator to discuss and tailor your charging requirements.
For workplaces and depots installing multiple chargepoints, discuss your project with your network operator at an early stage to understand how your connection might be delivered. Before network operators can install new overhead lines, cables or substations, they may need to get planning permission. Some electrical works can be installed without planning permission, but it is a specialist area and it is best that you discuss your individual case with your network operator.
You can discuss smaller installations, for example installing just one chargepoint, with a chargepoint installer. The chargepoint installer will visit the property to determine whether your distribution network operator needs to be informed before or after installation. The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has produced a process flowchart which should be followed when assessing the proposed connection. This process will tell the installer whether the connection can be completed before involving the Distribution Network Operator (DNO).
Find out more about notifying your network operator.
Use theENA’s Who’s my network Operator? tool to find your Distribution Network Operator (DNO). It is worth talking through your requirements with yourDNO, but they don’t need to carry out the works. Once you understand your requirements, you can get alternative quotes from other organisations. Independent Connections Providers (ICP) or Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNO) can carry out some of the work (referred to as Contestable Work in your quotation) when getting a connection:
AllDNOwebsites contain details of alternative connection providers. Your chargepoint installer or electrical contractor is often best placed to liaise with appropriate accredited network operators and providers.
If your chargepoint installer or network operator determines that a new or upgraded connection is required, the process for applying for a connection is:
The time to deliver the connection will often depend on the size of the connection required and the complexity of the work involved. Smaller connections that connect to an existing cable in the street can be delivered in a few weeks. Very large connections may take many months or sometimes years to complete.
There is a cost to connecting to the network, and the connection cost may be a significant proportion of your total chargepoint installation costs. The cost to connect depends on:
There are regulations to ensure that connection customers pay a fair proportion of the cost of the work required to connect them. Sometimes upgrades will need to be made to the wider network to accommodate your connection. This is known as network reinforcement. Under the current charging arrangements set by Ofgem you will pay:
DNOconnection offers will contain a breakdown of the connection costs for your project.
The current charging arrangements are under review by Ofgem, specifically how the costs of network reinforcement are allocated to consumers. Ofgem have proposed that, from April 2023, network reinforcement costs for electricity demand projects such as electric vehicle chargepoints will be removed from the connection charge paid by the connecting customer. This would reduce connection costs for any project where network reinforcement is required. A final decision from Ofgem is expected in 2022.
You can minimise the cost of your connection by amending your requirements:
1. Review your overall electricity requirements and take steps to free up your existing electricity capacity forEVcharging. For example, consider energy efficiency measures or changes to your power usage to avoid increases to your maximum electricity usage, such as when you use machinery onsite.
2. Review yourEVrequirements – if you intend to charge yourEVovernight (that is over an 8 hour period), you may not need to install rapidEVchargers. Installing a slow or fastEVcharger is more cost effective and may be sufficient to meet your requirements. AlsoEVusers do not routinely charge from empty so the full 8 hours may not be needed.
3. Consider time-profiled or non-firm connection – this means you can draw different amounts of power from the electricity network at different times. Your network operator should be able to help explore this option.
4. Consider a new connection, rather than a larger connection - in some instances it may be cheaper to request a new connection that would connect to another part of your site, rather than an increase to your existing connection. This may be particularly relevant if you have a large site or depot. Your network operator should be able to help explore this option.
5. Reduce yourEVcharging demand by using flexibility services – see How can I reduce my demand?
Currently, the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) grants forEVcharging infrastructure cover only the chargepoints themselves, not the cost of the underlying energy infrastructure: see the Workplace charging scheme guidance for applicants, chargepoint installers and manufacturers.
All network operators have robust complaints procedures in place. If you are not happy with the service you receive from a network company and cannot resolve this, you can submit complaints directly. You can also contact Citizens Advice for support. They can advise on whether you can refer your case to the Energy Ombudsman. You can also refer a dispute you are having with your network operator to Ofgem to determine - see the guidance on dispute determinations.
There are many energy tariffs that offer cheaper electricity overnight, some of which are specifically designed forEVcharging. Switching to one of these tariffs can bring the cost ofEVcharging down, especially if you do the bulk of your charging overnight. These types of energy tariffs are known as time of use tariffs. Speak to your energy supplier or see what’s on the market to find one that suits your needs.
Each site and fleet have different characteristics, meaning there is no one size fits all approach to managingEVcharging. Reducing demand could help you to avoid network reinforcement and its associated costs. Some of the key options to consider are:
1. Installing smart chargers to intelligently manage how you charge yourEVs: this allows you to program yourEVcharging to suit your needs. You may also be able to combine smart charging with a time of use tariff so yourEVsautomatically charge when electricity is cheapest.
2. Installing additional on-site energy assets, such as solarPVor battery storage: on their own or combined with time of use tariffs and/or smart charging, you can optimise your site’s electricity consumption and prioritise charging yourEVswith renewable electricity generated onsite. You can also use onsite batteries to provide services to the grid and be paid for this. Specialist smart solution providers can advise you how to implement this.
3. There are not many commercial vehicle to grid (V2G) offerings at the moment, but there are a large number of large-scale trials taking place. The role ofV2Gmay grow as the technology matures.V2GallowsEVbatteries to store energy and discharge it back to the electricity network when it is most needed - for instance at peak times of the day when usage across the UK is at its highest. This 2-way exchange of energy can provide your business with a number of financial, environmental and operational benefits.