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Core Network Access - Core Capacity

28 June 2019

Core Network Access - Core Capacity [ 9.2 mb]

In December 2018 Ofgem launched a Significant Code Review (SCR) “Getting more out of our electricity networks through reforming access and forward-looking charging arrangements”. This review is looking at access and charging arrangements at distribution level, and is aimed at, amongst other things, “clarifying access rights and choices for small users”.

Ofgem has introduced the concept of “core access” in its proposals. “Core access” (if it can be defined) is an amount of capacity that cannot readily be flexed and that provides for consumers’ everyday needs. Capacity-based charging might mirror this concept by considering an affordable level of “core access”. 

Citizens Advice is participating in the SCR and has commissioned this report [ 9.2 mb] to better understand the concept of core access, and understand what it means for consumers. Citizens Advice posed three key questions for this research:

  • Is it possible to determine a -or a set of- common core electricity network capacity levels for domestic consumers and micro-businesses?
  • What should the core level of access be set at?
  • How could this be implemented (technical or commercial solutions)? What are the barriers/risks to consumers, suppliers and networks?

In the same order, we address these questions through:

  • An evidence review covering experiences with capacity limits and capacity charging in other electricity markets.
  • Interrogation of smart meter data available from DNO innovation projects.
  • Commentary on the implementation options, looking at both voluntary and mandatory measures.