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Preparing for the future: Our DSO Strategy

Posted: 19th June 2020

Our energy landscape

Our energy landscape is changing rapidly, and our customers’ needs are evolving.

Decarbonisation is at the forefront of our industry, and with the electrification of heat and transport alone, the demand on the electricity network will increase significantly. For example, within the next ten years, the number of customer electric vehicles (EVs) we supply on our two distribution networks may increase from 10,000 now to up to 1.2m. In addition to this demand, the number of generators we connect to the network for our customers could triple in the next ten years.

To tackle the climate emergency, support these significant changes and achieve decarbonisation targets, we need to adapt quickly to ensure the continued safe, reliable and efficient operation of our network and wider energy system.

That’s why we’re focused on progressing our transition to a Distribution System Operator (DSO).

So, what is a DSO?

To us, Distribution System Operation is the set of functions, activities and enablers we plan to deliver, so that we can continue to provide our customers and communities with the electricity network they need now and in the future.

This will deliver smarter, more agile network infrastructure, make extensive use of services delivered by our customers, be a neutral facilitator of an open and inclusive Distributed Energy Resources (DER) market, and coordinate DER services to deliver a safe, reliable and efficient whole system. As a DSO, we’ll deliver these in a cost effective way and at a pace that meets our customers’ needs.

Our DSO Strategy
To start to address the changes we see across the energy landscape, back in 2016 we were the first in our industry to publish a DSO Vision. Building on this Vision and the extensive work we’ve done since, we’ve now developed our DSO Strategy, which we are delighted to share with you.

View SP Energy Networks’ DSO Strategy Executive Summary

View full SP Energy Networks’ DSO Strategy

This strategy details the exact functions, activities and enablers we see as necessary from now through to the end of the RIIO-ED2 price control period (2028), delivering this vital development for the GB electricity system.

We’ve already started delivering many of these DSO functions and activities. There’s still some way to go, but we’re ready for the challenge. And if the current pandemic has reinforced anything, it’s that the journey to net zero has never been more important. Now is the time to be planning for that future and in particular, for the green recovery we’ll need post-COVID.

Our next steps
It’s important we bring everyone on this journey with us, including you.

Our stakeholders’ input and feedback is critical to how we progress, so we’ll shortly be commencing a stakeholder engagement programme around our DSO strategy and ED2 business planning.

If you have any particular thoughts on our strategy or indeed any questions, the team would be delighted to hear from you. Get in touch via

In the meantime, you can read more on our DSO activities here.

SP Energy Networks

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