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  • Issue no9

    Welcome to our final Capacity to Customers (C2C) newsletter in which we cover our closedown activities and summarise our key findings from the project.

    Summary of key findings

    In January 2015 we held our final dissemination event for C2C. Delegates from across the industry heard a series of presentations which examined the findings from the three-year project. The main findings can be summarised as follows:

    C2C releases extra capacity and delivers economic and carbon benefits
    The C2C team worked with academic partners to prove that C2C can unlock capacity for demand and generation and produced an implementation model that can be adopted by other DNOs. This shows that C2C unlocks real benefits for customers such as quicker new network connections at lower cost and cheaper DUoS costs.

    Our industrial and commercial customers are willing to sign up to C2C contracts
    Customers were offered a monthly payment or a reduced new connection charge in exchange for allowing us to manage their connection in the event of a fault. During the project we signed up 10 existing customers and 10 new connection agreements.

    C2C improves our customers’ power quality perception
    We surveyed customers on the trial circuits to monitor the effects of C2C technology on power quality. Our findings show that the introduction of C2C did not have an adverse effect on overall customer experience and in many cases improved customer perception of their electricity service.

    Head of engineering Steve Cox said, “C2C is only the start of transforming how we offer new services and value to our customers. It’s great to see C2C already delivering benefits for our customers and shareholders. Over the next few years we will see many changes like this as our projects move from research to become business as usual.”

    Please note our closedown report is out for consultation with Ofgem and industry peers. Please visit our website to see the draft closedown report. The final version will be circulated once the consultation process is complete

    Customer engagement – commercial

    To realise the capacity benefits that C2C can offer requires new and/or existing customers to adopt new forms of commercial arrangements. The trial area affected 12% of our customers, of which approximately 1200 were I&C customers. We contacted all our industrial and commercial (I&C) customers on the selected circuits directly to test their appetite for these new commercial contracts.

    Project partner Impact Research gathered and collated a segmented database from our customer data systems then cleansed and enriched the data to provide a holistic and meaningful view of the trial area customers. We then issued a bespoke mailing containing a leaflet and video to all 1200 customers. A total of 180 questionnaires were completed by I&C customers from 12 July to 10 August 2012 either through online self completion or by telephone interview.

    The research explored various contract elements including: the maximum number of managed interruptions per year; the maximum cumulative interruption duration per year; the payment method; the length of contract; the number of safeguarded days; and various levels of payment. Key findings from our research showed:

    • Many I&C customers found the C2C concept appealing and 31% would recommend their organisation consider opting into a C2C contract
    • Contracts need to be carefully tailored to the needs of individual customers, with a range of customisable contract elements offered to make them as attractive as possible
    • An increase in financial reward outweighs all other factors particularly the inconvenience of longer durations.

    A detailed summary of the research framework and results can be found in the Customer segmentation report.

    Customer engagement – impact on customers

    The change in operating arrangements on the C2C selected circuits could potentially increase the number of short duration interruptions experienced by all customers; as closing the normally open point (NOP) to form a closed ring will generally double the number of customers affected by a fault. But the new operating regime should deliver a shorter interruption to supply than under present operating arrangements. It was therefore essential to carry out extensive customer engagement throughout the trial to understand any impact on overall customer experience.

    We carried out detailed customer research with a sample of customers in the trial area to understand any relative shift in overall customer experience, looking at power quality, interruption frequency and duration.

    The results of this engagement showed that the change in operating conditions did not adversely affect customer perception of their electricity service. In some cases customers’ perception was more favourable for all three key power quality measures: frequency, duration and dips and spikes. Full reports on the research can be found in the Customer reactive post-fault report and Customer proactive power quality monitoring report.

    We also employed an engaged customer panel to explore the extent to which customers understood C2C, its benefits, any perceived barriers to its success and whether domestic customers needed to be informed about it. This panel helped formulate effective communication plans, as a result of which we published and circulated a customer leaflet to all domestic customers on the trial circuits before the trial started. A detailed summary of the framework and key findings can be found in the ECP report.

    Technology implementation and effectiveness

    As part of the C2C trial we examined the benefits of an alternative operating model for existing EHV and HV networks which were enhanced with modern network automation functionality. Specifically at HV, C2C closes the NOP between two adjacent HV circuits to form a closed HV ring which in general releases the inherent ‘capacity to customers’. We retrofitted existing infrastructure with low cost proven remote control at key locations on the ring. This equipment allowed us to reconfigure the network in the event of a fault to allow us to rapidly re-energise customers’ supplies and minimise the need to activate demand and/or generation side response contracts. This capability not only reduced the incidence of DSR contract use but improved acceptability of C2C for all customers.

    We tested the effectiveness of the technology by installing monitoring equipment on the trial circuits and taking real time data from the network. This allowed us to monitor the actual performance and informed a series of network simulations and modelling exercises.

    The fault management system architecture and process that we designed and embedded was effective during the trial. We successfully demonstrated automatic network segregation and fault sectionalising for faults occurring on trial networks. We also showed that C2C has the ability to prioritise and restore multiple managed customers through a detailed testing schedule. The direct real time management of customer loads during the trial was successfully proven through a suite of automation solutions comprising various types of SCADA and through a range of EHV/HV/LV switches or moulded case circuit breakers (MCCB). These enabled us to control either all or part of a customer’s load in accordance with the managed connection agreement.

    A detailed description of the sequence of events that will occur in the event of a fault outage on any of the relevant network assets can be found in the fault performance white paper.

    Commercial framework for demand response services

    To extend the benefits of C2C to all DNO customers, we developed new commercial templates to provide post-fault demand side response for new and existing demand and/or generation customers. The development of these new arrangements was supported by the substantial customer engagement exercise described above.

    The survey provided a significant insight into an I&C customer’s appetite for C2C and is detailed in the customer segmentation report that was published on our website in June 2012.

    Having completed this detailed engagement exercise with trial area I&C customers, the new contracts were brought to market and tested with new connection and existing customers. These contracts are proven modifications to existing industry framework contracts and are intended to offer significant benefits for customers over traditional demand side response formats by being less intrusive and provided at lower cost. These agreements were published on our website in December 2012.

    These commercial templates were successfully applied to the 20 participants who signed up during the trial. For the ten new connections customers, the total customer contributions for a traditional solution would have been £7.84m compared £0.37m for a C2C contract – a saving of £7.47m for customers from avoiding the associated reinforcement costs. The customer types covered demand and generation managed contracts and ranged in capacity from 500kVA to 10,500kVA.

    To achieve our target of 20 participants we trialled three routes to market:

    • DNO direct
    • Use of an agent or aggregator utilising a finder’s fee but using the DNO technology infrastructure and contract forms. Final contracts were bilateral between Electricity North West and the customer
    • Via an aggregator using their technology infrastructure and contract forms.
    • DNO direct engagement was clearly the most effective route to market offering a significantly higher sign-up rate and lower contract cost. In addition, customers valued the strong ongoing relationship with the DNO which reinforced confidence in C2C.

    Evaluating the benefits of post-fault demand response – network performance

    During the trial it was essential to quantify the technical performance of C2C to understand its long-term potential when deployed on typical distribution networks. Specifically we considered the impact of C2C operation on available demand capacity, DG capacity, electrical losses, power quality and fault levels.

    Working in partnership with the University of Strathclyde we generated data and developed representative simulation models of the trial networks to understand the theoretical maximum limits and effects of C2C operation on the above criteria. We carried out system studies to establish the performance of the network under present and future scenarios. Particular attention was given to quantifying the benefits of interconnected (closed-ring) HV network operation over conventional radial (open-ring) operation.

    The simulation studies of actual C2C circuits showed that C2C operation can release significant demand and DG capacity. On average, C2C operation can achieve up to approximately a 76% increase in demand and a 225% increase in DG, compared with defined base case scenarios. However, the results depend significantly on the individual circuit topologies, the thermal ratings of circuit sections, and load or DG locations. On average, interconnected C2C operation (with closed HV rings) releases more demand and DG capacity when compared to radial C2C operation (with radial HV feeders). Furthermore, a ‘holistic’ system approach is required when considering the connection of load or generation; other technical factors (such as primary transformer ratings) or non-technical factors (such as cost-effectiveness) may affect the maximum capacity which can be released by a particular HV circuit. For more information please see the Technical performance report

    Evaluating the benefits of post-fault demand response – carbon impact

    By releasing latent network capacity C2C should reduce carbon emissions related to reinforcement work; and by releasing capacity quicker, C2C should reduce emissions related to the connection of low carbon technologies. To evaluate this potential carbon reduction we worked in partnership with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to carry out detailed modelling and assessment.

    The purpose of this research was to quantify the impact of C2C, compare this to traditional reinforcement and understand the major sources of emissions in each to better enable management of distribution networks.

    The Tyndall Centre developed a robust and comprehensive methodology to inform the carbon impact model, taking inputs from the power flow assessment and associated economic modelling.

    Our assessment showed that embodied carbon reductions are observed in the vast majority of scenarios and circuit combinations. In cases where C2C is not able to meet all the required demand/DG growth over the studied time period, it successfully defers the timing of network reinforcement. Operations impacts arising from change in network losses are sensitive to the existing composition of the network and the operating pattern of the additional demand or generation that is to be connected. As a result the benefits are very wide ranging and must be quantified specifically.

    Increases in renewable distributed generation tend to reduce operations carbon impact from losses and C2C is therefore favoured as a method for capacity release. However, for the cases studied the net impact, whether positive or negative, are typically modest at less than 15% of the equivalent traditional solution net carbon impact.

    For more information see our Final carbon impact assessment report.

    Evaluating the benefits of post-fault demand response – economic

    In addition to the technical challenges, we needed to identify a suitable economic framework that could properly quantify the different economic benefits and costs associated with C2C.

    To be consistent with existing frameworks for the assessment of distribution network solutions C2C was assessed using the CBA framework introduced by Ofgem for the new RIIO-ED1 price control.

    Working with the University of Manchester we demonstrated that C2C can be an attractive means to defer or even avoid costly line reinforcements and substation upgrades. From an economic perspective, both C2C configurations (radial or interconnected) are a better option than traditional interventions, particularly when demand growth is modest (or uncertain). Both configurations can lead to significant savings from investment avoidance or deferral.

    From a power losses perspective, the interconnected C2C configuration is an attractive option, particularly in scenarios where demand is expected to increase significantly. The primary factors that make C2C beneficial have been clearly identified, namely: reference demand level, substation capacity, DSR availability and capital investment costs. The inclusion of C2C in a DNO’s solution set will help the DNO to optimise overall costs and will consistently outperform traditional solutions. These conclusions are also valid for connection of DG in the distribution system.

    For more information see our Economic modelling methodology.

    P2/6 security of supply

    A key element of the C2C project was to explore the interaction between DSR services and existing industry policy, more specifically the network planning requirements in ER P2/6. ER P2/6 stipulates the security of supply to customers based on the aggregation of their demand as it appears on the network. In its simplest form the recommendation sets out the amount of capacity that must be available on the network for specified demand thresholds, so that demand can always be supplied when capacity becomes unavailable due to a fault or a planned outage.

    As C2C uses this inherent latent capacity specified as a requirement of ER P2/6 for the connection of new demand, there will be instances following an outage and prior to network switching when customers’ unconstrained demand cannot be supported leading to a potential non-compliance under the current framework. For the purposes of the C2C trial a derogation from the requirements of P2/6 was granted for all demand groups supplying the trial circuits.

    The remit of this area of work within the project was to present a recommendation for how DSR could be accommodated within ER P2/6 and to provide a consistent and practical approach for the industry to follow when assessing the contribution of DSR to security of supply assessments.

    It was proposed that:

    • the short term an appropriate allowance for DSR should be taken into account when calculating group demand or by adjusting network capability. It is up to each DNO to justify and formally record its approach for each DSR connection.
    • It is up to each individual DNO to decide on the percentage of DSR that it will take into account when calculating group demand and this value should be recorded.
    • At this current time it is the view of the industry that for EHV networks the gross level of demand (group demand plus the responsive demand) should be curtailed to ensure that the system is able to maintain supplies to customers while responsive demand is disconnected.
    The proposed amendments to ETR 130 can be found detailed in Accommodating Demand Side Response in Engineering Recommendation P2/6 – Change Proposal .

    Keeping in touch

  • Issue no 8

    Welcome to our Capacity to Customers (C2C) quarterly newsletter. This issue provides an update on our proposed project extension, and the latest on our managed agreements, network performance studies and customer surveys. 

    Consultation on proposed project extension

    We have applied to Ofgem for a time extension for the C2C project. The time extension requested is for a period of three months from December 2014 to March 2015. As part of the consultation process we have consulted other distribution network operators and our academic partners to obtain their views on the proposed project extension.

    The reason we have requested the extension is to allow us additional time to achieve our objective to sign ten new connection agreements. Due to the economic downturn during the trial period, demand on our trial network has reduced. This meant we were unable to offer as many  C2C agreements to customers as we had originally planned. 

    We expect a decision from Ofgem in the next few weeks.

    Update on managed agreements 

    We have now secured eight agreements with new connection/add load customers and we expect to reach our target of ten by the end of the year, within the timeframe of the requested project extension.

    As part of C2C we have a target to secure 20 managed agreements with industrial and commercial customers. This target is divided into two – ten agreements with existing customers and ten with new connection/add load customers. 

    We achieved the target for the ten existing customers 12 months ahead of schedule in October 2013.


    Network performance studies 

    The objective of this area of work is to analyse the results, benefits and impact that C2C operation could bring to the high voltage (HV) network. This is in terms of extra released capacity, enabling greater utilisation of network assets, reducing like for like power losses and improvement in power quality. This work is now at the stage where results and conclusions are being finalised. It is important to understand the typical performance of HV circuits without C2C operation, ie without interruptible load and without closed ring operation, which forms the base case scenario. Hence, we have quantified the relative performance of C2C operation for a number of scenarios.

    In terms of capacity improvement for each circuit, relative to the base case, we evaluated “Radial C2C” operation and “Interconnected C2C” operation, ie the effects of operating the network with a closed ring. The respective increases in capacity are 59% and 66% for uniform demand growth. 

    The losses analysis distinguishes between the effects of interruptible load and interconnected network operation, both of which affect losses. We have also compared C2C operation to conventional reinforcement of HV radial networks, which would traditionally be required to connect the additional demand. In summary Interconnected C2C offers a 0.1% improvement in annual losses relative to annual demand when compared to radial operation.

    We have conducted detailed monitoring of the network during the trial period to establish the effects of C2C operation on power quality. Our analysis of the data concluded that there is little observable impact on power quality and that fault levels are unlikely to constrain C2C adoption.



    Customer surveys

    Ongoing performance measurement - we have now completed a series of surveys to monitor the effects of the C2C trials on our customers and to compare the perceptions of customers on C2C circuits (test group) with those who are not (control group). In total, we have completed 656.

    • Overall, customers have not observed any material changes in their power supply quality as a result of C2C operating conditions.
    • Power quality perception is consistent across trial and control groups.
    • Where short duration interruptions occur and they are noticed by customers, there is convincing evidence that they enhance power quality perception.

    These findings suggest that, for domestic customers, the introduction of C2C does not have an adverse effect on their overall customer experience.

    To find out if these lower levels of observation are a result of fewer faults actually taking place or as a result of customers finding them more difficult to detect, we have begun cross-referencing fault data with customer perception. Our initial findings show that the number of domestic customers claiming to experience faults roughly matches the number of actual faults. We have further work to do to cross-reference real fault data to allow for further qualitative analysis to be undertaken and to validate our findings.

    We will publish the final results of what we have learnt on our website. 

    Post fault survey – we have also just completed a series of surveys to monitor the effects of the C2C trial on customers who have experienced a fault. Faults will help us prove that C2C works, that the enhanced network management system operates as required and contracted customers provide the demand or generation response required. In total 702 interviews have been completed. Analysis is ongoing and our findings will be published on our website soon.

    What’s next?

    Over the next few months we will focus on the following key activities:

    • Complete agreements to achieve our target of ten new connections customers
    • Publish findings from our suite of customer surveys
    • More results from our carbon and economic assessment models
    • Power quality analysis work from Strathclyde University
    • Closedown reports published
    • Final project dissemination event in January 2015.

    Keeping in touch

  • Issue no 7

    Welcome to our latest Capacity to Customers (C2C) quarterly newsletter. This issue provides an update on our power quality monitoring, managed contracts and analysis of our project data. 

    Power quality monitoring with our customers - interim findings

    We are continuing to carry out a series of surveys to monitor the effects of the C2Ctrial on our customers. So far, 429 interviews have been completed, mostly with domestic customers, to help us understand any relative shift in the overall customer experience. So far we have learnt:

    • Overall, customers are not observing any material changes in their power supply quality as a result of the change in the operating conditions of their C2C circuit.
    • Power quality perception is consistent across customers in our trial and control groups.
    • Where short duration interruptions (SDIs) occur and they are noticed by customers, there is convincing evidence that they enhance power quality perception.
    • Faults are not having an adverse effect on power quality perception - even amongst customers that we know have experienced a fault. The net change in perception on trial circuits is generally positive, meaning it would not be a concern to roll out C2C technology as business as usual.

    These interim findings suggest that, for domestic customers, the introduction of C2C does not have an adverse effect on their overall customer experience. 

    Further customer interviews will be carried out before the end of the trial to validate our findings and produce a final report. We will share all our learning on an ongoing basis as it becomes available and publish any results on our website.

    Update on managed agreements 

    As part of C2C we have a target to secure 20 managed agreements with industrial and commercial customers before the end of September 2014. This target is divided into two – ten agreements with existing customers and ten with new connection/add load customers. We achieved the target for the ten existing customers in October 2013 (12 months ahead of schedule). However, due to the economic downturn there has been a decrease in maximum demand on our trial circuits and this has led to an unusually low number of requests for connections related reinforcements. This in turn acts as a barrier to offering C2C managed agreements.

    We have secured one connection/add load agreement and we are progressing a further 11 proposals which are ‘likely to be accepted’. The challenge now is to finalise the contracts before the end of September. This activity is being managed very closely to ensure every opportunity is being progressed. 


    Carbon impact assessment methodology and white paper 

    The C2C solution has multiple consequences in terms of assets, operation of the network and facilitation of new connections that are different to the existing practices of Electricity North West. The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, at the University of Manchester, is assessing its carbon impact, identifying and quantifying the major sources of emissions and areas where C2C can provide savings and where it may increase emissions.

    Recent literature review and methodology work by the Tyndall Centre examines the techniques that can be used in the impact assessment and reviews the research to date that has considered the carbon impact of electricity networks. The methodology sets the general framework for the carbon impact assessment of the application of the C2C solution to trial circuits and wider elements of the Electricity North West network. The framework assumes emissions reductions from direct and indirect sources are combined together to provide a net carbon impact for the C2C solution. Also a means of calculating short-term facilitated emissions reductions is established separately with a simplified methodology. The impact assessment will be extended in future work to develop multiple scenarios of future load growth, reinforcement and deployment of C2C to estimate its likely impact on multiple networks. 

    Click here to see our white paper on carbon impact assessment.



    Economic modelling methodology

    The main aim of the C2C economic benefit analysis work is to develop a fundamental understanding of the economic rationale to implement C2C solutions in existing distribution networks.

    The work so far has presented a cost benefit analysis (CBA) methodology for (i) the economic assessment of C2C interventions considering the C2C method as an alternative to network reinforcements and (ii) the planning of network expansions considering that optimal investment strategies may be formulated by implementing traditional network reinforcements in combination with C2C interventions. The work has also identified, using a number of test networks, some of the conditions that favour or discourage the use of the C2C solution.

    Ofgem’s CBA framework compares the economic costs associated with proposed network solutions (eg the C2C solution) with those of a baseline in a specific scenario, with the objective of identifying the most convenient investments. The baseline comprises least cost network reinforcements triggered whenever demand increases and reaches the firm capacity of the network. 

    Based on some pilot studies it can be shown that the C2C solution is more likely to become economically attractive when:

    • costly investments in network or substation reinforcements can be avoided, particularly if this can be achieved via the use of a relatively small level of demand side response (DSR);
    • expected load growth is highly uncertain (which is modelled with the different scenarios introduced to the CBA framework) and can introduce demand peaks (eg new customer connections).

    Network monitoring data

    As part of the ongoing work with our academic partners to understand the capability and benefits of the C2C closed ring configuration, we have deployed network monitoring devices on 36 closed ring networks in the trial area. 

    The raw power flow data from these monitoring devices will allow interested parties to produce their own models and simulate the closed ring configuration. 

    We have now set up a dedicated area of our website to view this information. If you would like to access the data please click here.


    Getting involved 

    We are still looking for customers to get involved in C2C.

    If you are a new connections or add load customer and are interested in taking part, please contact us so we can discuss specific commercial and technical arrangements with you.

    Click here to check if you are on or near to a trial circuit.

    Click here for more information on taking part in the C2C trial. 


    What’s next? 

    Over the next few months we will focus on the following key activities:


    • Continue assessment of qualifying new connections customers
    • Continue with suite of customer surveys
    • More results from both carbon and economic assessment models
    • Power quality analysis work from Strathclyde University

    Keeping in touch 

  • Issue no 6

    Welcome to our sixthCapacity to Customers (C2C) quarterly newsletter. This issue provides an update on our latest stakeholder engagement activities and an overview of the different areas of network data analysis. 

    Analysing the effects of new technology

    C2C Go LiveA key aspect of the C2C trial is the analysis of the new network configuration for which we have partnered with two leading academic institutions: The University of Strathclyde and The University of Manchester.

    The University of Strathclyde is conducting detailed analysis and quantification of the technical effects of C2C operation. This work is based on simulation studies and on actual data from the live trial system.

    The University of Manchester is conducting economic benefit analysis and is responsible for developing appropriate frameworks to investigate whether or not the C2C method is economically sound.

    The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester is conducting studies to understand the carbon impacts of the C2C project.

    For more information on each of the analysis areas, see our latest trade advertorial.

    Engaging with our stakeholders

    ENWL Network Monitoring image

    On Friday 11 April, we met with a group of our connections customers at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. We engaged with a mix of load and generation customers, and discussed how they could save money on a new or additional load connection by taking part in the C2C trial.

    The day started with an overview of the UK’s energy challenges and what we are doing to plan for the future. We then discussed the C2C trial in detail, introducing the customers to the concept and walking them through the process, from application through to accepting an offer and what will happen after they are connected.

    This is the fifth customer seminar undertaken by the project team. Feedback about the trial was positive. We will continue to work with our connections teams to bring more lower cost alternatives to our connections customers throughout the remainder of the trial period. 

    Click here to see the slides from the seminar.

     

    Getting involved

    C2C Get InvolvedWe are still looking for customers to get involved in C2C.
     
    If you are a new connections or add load customer and are interested in taking part, we’ll discuss specific commercial and technical arrangements with you.
     
    Click here to check if you are on or near to a trial circuit
    Click here for more information on taking part in the C2C trial.

    What’s next?

    solar panelsOver the next few months we will focus on the following key activities:

    • Wave 2 of our power quality monitoring survey
    • Making network data available to stakeholders
    • Continue assessment of qualifying new connections customers 
    • Continue post acceptance surveys

    Keeping in touch

    Newspapers

    Low Carbon Network Fund logo

  • Issue no 5

    Welcome to our fifth Capacity to Customers (C2C) quarterly newsletter. This issue provides an update on fault restoration performance, network monitoring data, power quality monitoring and our work on Engineering Recommendation P2/6.

    Fault restoration performance

    Our latest white paper describes the position to date of restoration performance following five faults that have occurred on designated C2C HV trial rings. The closed ring network configuration being trialled as part of the project has the ability to release network capacity and initially reduce network losses. However, it is important to evaluate for existing customers connected to these networks that their quality of supply is not adversely impacted using the closed ring network configuration. The paper details the post fault restoration sequences for the closed ring networks and compares this against a baseline of the respective radial network. The difference in performance is calculated based on Ofgem’s quality of service metrics. In addition, it explains any lessons learnt and improvements that have been made to the automation hardware or the control software following a fault operation.   
    All five fault occurrences demonstrate that when the network is configured as a closed ring, customer interruptions (CI) and customer minutes lost (CML) are improved, compared to the radial equivalent, however, short duration interruptions (SDI) are increased.
     
    Click this link to read the white paper in full.

    Network monitoring data

    ENWL Network Monitoring imageAs part of the ongoing work with our academic partners to understand the capability and benefits of the C2C closed ring configuration, we have deployed network monitoring devices on 36 closed ring networks in the trial area. 
     
    The raw power flow data from these monitoring devices will allow interested parties to produce their own models and simulate the closed ring configuration. 
     
    If you would like to request this data please submit your details and a member of our project team will contact you to arrange transfer of the data.

    Power quality monitoring with our customers  

    Engaging with stakeholdersIn our last newsletter we told you about a series of surveys to monitor the effects of the trial on customers. 
     
    Our findings suggested that for domestic customers the introduction of C2C improves perceptions of the occurrence of faults. Faults under C2C conditions are generally shorter in duration than faults on circuits outside of C2C. 
     
    To find out if these lower levels of observation are a result of fewer faults actually taking place or as a result of customers finding them more difficult to detect, we have cross-referenced fault data with customer perception. 
     
    Our initial findings show that the number of domestic customers claiming to experience faults roughly matches the number of actual faults. We will continue to conduct interviews with customers on C2C circuits and cross reference with fault data to allow for further qualitative analysis to be undertaken and in order to validate our findings.

    P2/6 security of supply  

    security of supplyWe have completed an industry consultation and have published a recommendations report on the implications of C2C for P2/6 during the current reporting period. Our work indicates that there is a general consensus among network operators that P2/6 does not preclude the use of n-1 demand side response (DSR) to maintain compliance but clarification is required. 
     
    There is a difference of opinion regarding how to account for DSR in the short or long term when assessing P2 system compliance.
     
    Our work indicates that there is support for an update to ETR130 to clarify the use of DSR and the management of system intact load levels in the short term. Following the consultation process and further discussions with other DNOs we have issued a revised recommendation report.

    Getting involved

    C2C Get InvolvedWe are still looking for customers to get involved in C2C.
     
    If you are a new connections or add load customer and are interested in taking part, we’ll discuss specific commercial and technical arrangements with you.
     
    Click here to check if you are on or near to a trial circuit
    Click here for more information on taking part in the C2C trial.

    What’s next?

    solar panelsOver the next few months we will focus on the following key activities:

    • Wave 2 of our power quality monitoring survey
    • Making network data available to stakeholders
    • Continue assessment of qualifying new connections customers 
    • Continue post acceptance surveys
    • White paper – methodology for the cost benefits analysis of the C2C solution (University of Manchester)
    • Publication of trade magazine article

    Keeping in touch

    Newspapers

    Low Carbon Network Fund logo
  • Issue no 4

    Welcome to our fourth Capacity to Customers (C2C) quarterly newsletter. This issue provides an update on our ten trial participants, our latest stakeholder engagement and our technical activities.

    Our ten trial participants

    In September we achieved one of our most significant milestones – the purchase of ten C2C managed contracts from our existing industrial and commercial customers.

    The customers come from a range of sectors – one each from utilities, retail and leisure; the remainder are a range of manufacturers.

    Customers were offered a monthly payment in exchange for allowing us to manage their connection in the event of a fault on our system. This means they have agreed to a delay of up to eight hours to the restoration of supplies to some or all of their network if a fault were to occur on a circuit in their area.

    As part of the contract existing customers are able to specify a small number of contract variables in order to ‘tailor’ the service so that the contract balances the risks to the needs of their businesses. Variables such as size of managed load, number of managed events per annum, protected days and maximum duration of interruption can be specified by the customer. These are fed into a model that then calculates the monthly payment.

    We have purchased contracts directly and via our project partners npower and are also working with our other partner Flexitricity to secure this service via a third party’s control system.

    Post acceptance survey

    C2C Image quality monitoringWe have contacted all customers who have either accepted or rejected a C2C contract to understand their main barriers or motivations to taking part in the trial.

    Most customers who have accepted a contract cite financial reward as the main reason for signing up to a contract. Secondary benefits were the long-term financial and environmental impacts of deferring network reinforcement.

    Financial reward was also the main reason for customers rejecting a C2C contract. Other barriers to accepting a contract include concern over taking part in a new trial and uncertainty of the effects on supply

    To support our ongoing learning and dissemination, our project partner Impact Research will provide regular feedback throughout the trial so that the survey can be continuously monitored and  improved.

    Power quality monitoring with our customers - initial findings

    Now that C2C is live we are carrying out a series of surveys to monitor the effects of the trial on customers. So far 212 interviews have been completed, almost all with domestic customers.

    Lessons learnt

    • Customers in the trial areas reported significantly fewer faults since the C2C trial began in April 2013 compared to those in non-trial areas (8% v 18% of respondents).
    • Customers in the trial areas reported significantly fewer dips or spikes in their supply compared to non-trial areas (14% v 28% of respondents).
    • Three times as many respondents in the trial areas said that the frequency of faults had decreased (9% v 3%) and only a third as many said they had increased (2% v 6%).

    These findings suggest that for domestic customers the introduction of C2C improves perceptions of the occurrence of faults. Faults under C2C conditions are generally shorter in duration that faults on circuits outside of C2C. So the question remains: are these lower levels of observation amongst customers on trial circuits a result of fewer faults actually taking place or as a result of customers finding them more difficult to detect, thus enhancing perceptions of power quality?

    To answer this, we will look at cross-referencing fault data with customer perception. Where short fault durations are detected, there is an indication that they enhance levels of acceptability of fault length amongst customers, which is something that our post-fault research seeks to validate. Further post-fault interviews need to be conducted before this claim can be validated.

    P2/6 security of supply 

    We have completed an industry consultation and have published a recommendations report on the implications of C2C for P2/6 during the current reporting period. Our work indicates that there is a general consensus among network operators that P2/6 does not preclude the use of n-1 demand side response (DSR) to maintain compliance. 

    There is a difference of opinion regarding the requirement to change ER P2/6 in the short or long term to enable DSR to be used at an appropriate level.

    Our work indicates that there is support for an update to ETR130 to clarify the use of DSR and the management of system intact load levels in the short term. Following the consultation process we have issued a recommendation report.

    This report is currently undergoing revision due to further discussions with DNOs regarding the question of whether DSR should be accounted for in group demand or network capacity.

    Low Carbon Network Conference 

    Last week the annual Low Carbon Network (LCN) Fund conference took place in Brighton. Colleagues from our future networks team attended the event to promote the work of our LCN Fund projects and update on progress. This three-day conference is hugely important for our industry as a whole as it provides the distribution network community opportunities to discuss and debate developments and demonstrate how customers benefit from LCN Fund innovations.

    The team gave presentations on a variety of subjects including demand side management, LV network management and customer engagement. We also had a stand which allowed industry colleagues to talk to our team and find out more about our innovation activities and strategy.

    Ofgem confirmed the success and quality of the event and urged businesses to continue the good work so far on knowledge dissemination.

    For more information on our future networks projects and to see our slides from the event visit our website

    Follow us ...

    We are using social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn to raise awareness of tier 2 project objectives, impacts and key milestones and to direct stakeholders to more detailed information such as project-specific websites and key documents.

    Follow us on:

    Facebook icon

    www.facebook.com/ElectricityNorthWest

     https://twitter.com/#!/electricityNW

    linkedin logo

    http://www.linkedin.com/company/electricity-north-west

    youtube icon

     http://www.youtube.com/electricitynorthwest


    Or join our new future networks forum on LinkedIn.

    Getting involved  

    We are still looking to for customers to get involved in C2C.

    If you are a new connections or add load customer and are interested in taking part, we’ll discuss specific commercial and technical arrangements with you.

    Click here to check if you are on or near to a trial circuit
    Click here for more information on taking part in the C2C trial

    What’s next?  

    PylonOver the next few months we will focus on the following key activities:

    • Continue to work closely with our partner Flexitricity to sign up new customers for our trial
    • Host customer workshops and presentations ranging from small manufacturers and service providers to large blue-chip organisations 
    • Carry out repeat power quality monitoring survey in February 2014 and again in August 2014 before the trial is completed
    • Conduct further interviews with industrial and commercial customers to allow for qualitative analysis to be undertaken.

    Keeping in touch

  • Issue no 3

    Welcome to our third Capacity to Customers (C2C) quarterly newsletter. This issue provides an update on our latest stakeholder engagement activities and profiles our first manufacturing customer to sign up to C2C.

    Engaging with our stakeholders

    People at customer seminarCustomer engagement is at the heart of this trial and active customer participation is key to its success. Now that the trial is live we have developed a suite of surveys that will be carried out during the trial by Impact Research.

    Post acceptance survey – we will undertake a survey with new and existing Industrial and Commercial (I&C) customers to understand their willingness to participate in the trial and test their potential uptake of a C2C contract. This will help us gain valuable learning about why customers accept or reject a C2C offer and specifically, what contract elements are required to make the offer attractive to customers.

    Power quality monitoring with our customers

    C2C Image quality monitoringWe are also carrying out power quality monitoring as part of the trial to help us understand any relative shift in the overall customer experience:

    Post fault survey – we will identify customers on trial circuits who have experienced a fault and seek their feedback. Faults will help us prove that C2C works, that the enhanced network management system operates as required and contracted customers provide the demand or generation response required.
     
    Ongoing performance measurement – we will carry out detailed customer research with domestic and business customers on trial circuits and a reference population outside the trial area at appropriate points during the trial. This will cover power quality, interruption frequency and duration. 

    Vulnerable customers –  some of our customers have additional requirements and are vulnerable during a fault. As part of our customer engagement activities, we will identify vulnerable customers on trial circuits and seek feedback on their overall experience.

    We will share all our learning on an ongoing basis as it becomes available and publish any results on our website. 

    Licence standards and demand response

    electricity workerWe have recently completed a review of industry standards and licence obligations on how they might accommodate or limit the widespread application of post fault demand response. The review looked at a number of documents and included an internal employee workshop in September 2012 and an industry workshop held in January 2013.

    Our findings show that compliance with Engineering Recommendation P2/6 - Security of Supply, July 2006 presents the main obstacle for the widespread application of post fault demand response. 

    In the short term we expect that ER P2/6 will be modified to include explicitly the effects of demand side response before a longer term overall review is carried out.

    The full report will be published on the key documents section of our website in mid-August 2013.

    Our first customer

    C2C_First_customerThe first manufacturing customer to sign up to C2C was W.Howard, a manufacturer of MDF mouldings based in Greater Manchester.  

    Chief executive Jonathan Grant told us, “The reason we decided to sign up to C2C was that we understood why this project was necessary. To upgrade the current infrastructure to meet future demand will cost billions which would have to go on our electricity bill as well as other peoples. It, therefore, made logical sense for our business to support the project.

    We also realised that power cuts could occur anyway so it’s better to know how long we are going to be off for, having a better line of communication and being compensated for it, whereas under normal circumstances we would not be.” 

    To minimise the impact of possible power cuts the company is considering installing a standby generator for the office. Jonathan said, “We know power cuts don’t happen very often but having a generator as a backup means we know we can always keep the computers and telephones working.

    Getting involved

    C2C TrialWe are still looking for customers to get involved in C2C.

    If you’re interested in taking part we’ll discuss specific commercial and technical arrangements with you. On agreement your details will be formalised in a contract. Once this has been completed we will make arrangements to install the remote control, monitoring and communications equipment at your premises at no cost to you. We’ll agree the design for this with you before we start work at your site.

    Click here for more information on taking part in the C2C trial.

    Click here to check if you are on or near to a trial circuit.

    What’s next?

    PylonOver the next few months we will be focused on the following key activities:

    • Working closely with our partner npower to sign up trial customers
    • Customer workshops and presentations ranging from small manufacturers and service providers to large blue-chip organisations
    • Ongoing monitoring of trial participants and customers on C2C and non C2C circuits
    • Monitoring of trial circuits to quantify power quality improvements due to the closed ring running arrangement 

    Keeping in touch

    Newspapers
  • Issue no 2

    Welcome to our second Capacity to Customers (C2C) quarterly newsletter. This issue provides an update on our ‘go live’ and the latest in our stakeholder engagement activities.

    Go live

    C2C Trial Go Live

    On 1 April 2013 the C2C trial went live. This followed the installation of 500 remote control devices on our trial circuits. Remote control enables us to reconfigure the network remotely and re-route power when we have a network fault. We’ve also upgraded automation software in our control centre systems to ‘talk’ to the new remote control devices.  The remote control takes away the need for an engineer to attend site when a fault occurs and means that the majority of customers on the trial circuits will have their power restored within three minutes.

    Engaging with our stakeholders

    C2C Stakeholders

    Our latest stakeholder event was held in London earlier this month and focused on sharing our findings from the project with our peers in the electricity industry. The event was well received by our delegates and we’ll be using their feedback to improve future engagement activities. Click here to see the slides from our knowledge-sharing event.

    As well as the key activities already completed with our industrial and commercial customers, we’ve carried out a number of focus groups with our domestic customers. Our findings are summarised here. This ‘engaged customer panel’ helped us develop a leaflet which we sent to all 382,000 domestic customers on the trial circuits earlier this month to let them know how they are benefiting from C2C.

    Contracts in place

    C2C Contracts

    We have already recruited three of our industrial and commercial customers to take part in the C2C trial. These customers will receive incentive payments in exchange for signing up to a managed contract. For existing customers, our commercial arrangement is based on a monthly incentive payment in exchange for delaying the restoration of their supply after a fault.
     
    A new customer will be given the choice of a standard or C2C connection quotation. A standard quotation usually includes charges for reinforcing the electricity network because of the additional load created by the new connection. If a new customer signs up to a C2C contract, the cost of network reinforcement is waived in exchange for delaying the restoration of the customer’s supply after a fault.
     
    Click here to find out more about our commercial contracts.
    Click here to review our connections process.

    Getting involved

    C2C Get Involved

    We are still looking for customers to get involved in C2C.

    If you’re interested in taking part we’ll discuss specific commercial and technical arrangements with you. On agreement your details will be formalised in a contract. Once this has been completed we will make arrangements to install the remote control, monitoring and communications equipment at your premises at no cost to you. We’ll agree the design for this with you before we start work at your site.  

    Click here for more information on taking part in the trial.  
    Click here to check if you are on or near to a trial circuit.

    What's next

    What's Next

    Over the next few months we will be focused on the following key activities:

    • Working closely with our aggregator npower to sign up trial customers
    • Customer workshops and presentations ranging from small manufacturers and service providers to large blue-chip organisations
    • Ongoing monitoring of trial participants and customers on C2C and non C2C circuits
    • Monitoring of trial circuits to quantify power quality improvements due to the closed ring running arrangement
    • Issue of P2/6 change recommendations report.

    Keeping in touch

    Newspapers
  • Issue no 1

    In this first issue of our quarterly newsletter, we provide an introduction to the Capacity to Customers (C2C) project and an update on our progress to date. We hope you find it of interest.

    Introduction

    Hybrid Car

    To meet government carbon reduction targets we all need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels like gas and petrol and change to renewable sources such as wind and solar power. This means that as a country the demand for electricity could double by 2050.

    At Electricity North West we’re leading the way in developing smart solutions to meet the UK’s future energy challenges. Our C2C project is part of Ofgem’s Low Carbon Network Fund. It will trial the use of new technology and innovative commercial contracts to increase the amount of energy that can be transmitted through our network.

    How does it work

    Pylon

    Our network is designed to keep the lights on when things go wrong by keeping some of our capacity for emergency use. This allows us to re-route electricity following a power cut so most of the time, we only use half of our total capacity with half reserved for emergencies. By reconfiguring the network and working smarter, we can release this extra emergency capacity for the everyday use of our customers and meet the electricity demands of the future at lower cost.

    Essentially C2C allows customers to receive payments or lower connections charges in exchange for reducing their demand during a fault. The trial will last for 18 months and, if successful, will form part of the blue-print for the UK’s future electricity network.

    Choosing the trial area

    C2C Trial Area

    We are trialling C2C on part of our high voltage (HV) network. 360 high voltage circuits have been selected serving 12% of our customer base to ensure that the trial is statistically significant and representative of the whole of the UK’s high voltage network. A detailed operational study was carried out to ensure the circuits were suitable for the trial.

    All circuits selected will be fitted with remote control devices before the start of the trial in April 2013. Automation software will use this remote control to sectionalise faults which will decrease the amount of time the majority of customers are off supply due to a fault.

    Click here to find out more about our circuit selection methodology.

    Click here to find out if you are in the trial area.

    Talking to our customers

    Customers

    Once the circuits were selected we were able to start talking to existing business customers about taking part in C2C. We did this using a targeted mailshot, our website which features an explanatory video, followed by an in-depth customer survey involving the 1800 business customers on the trial circuits. The survey helped us to understand interest in C2C and if our customers were willing to take part in the trial. We also held a seminar in December 2012 to engage with new connections customers.

    Results from our survey tells us that over 50% of surveyed customers find C2C appealing. 86% of delegates at our seminar would recommend that their organisation consider a C2C contract.

    Click here to see the complete results from our customer survey.

    Click here to see our customer engagement plan.

    Putting contracts in place

    Filing Cabinets

    To help understand how best to structure C2C contracts so that the customer and Electricity North West get best value, we asked customers what they value most and how we can reduce disturbance to their business.

    For existing customers, this commercial arrangement is based on a monthly payment in exchange for managing the timing of the re-energisation of their supply after a power cut.

    A new customer will be presented with a standard connection design and quotation (with applicable reinforcement charges) along with a C2C design and quotation. The C2C commercial arrangement is based on a reduced connection charge as the new managed arrangements would mitigate the need for network reinforcement. This is in exchange for allowing us to manage the timing of the re-energisation of the customer’s system after a fault. A delay of up to eight hours will be agreed.

    Click here to find out more about our commercial contracts.

    Click here to review our connections process.

    Getting involved

    Engineer

    We are still looking for customers to get involved in C2C.

    If you’re interested in taking part we’ll discuss specific commercial and technical arrangements with you. On agreement your details will be formalised in a contract. Once this has been completed we will make arrangements to install the remote control, monitoring and communications equipment at your premises at no cost to you. We’ll agree the design for this with you before we start work at your site.

    Click here for more information on taking part in the C2C trial. 

    Click here to check if you are on or near to a trial circuit.

    What's next

    What's Next

    Over the next few months we will be focused on the following key activities:

    • Signing up trial customers
    • Installation of remote control equipment to enable the network to be reconfigured remotely
    • Customer focus groups to help us formulate our communications to customers
    • Second customer seminar in April 2013
    • Knowledge sharing event in April 2013.

    Keeping in touch

    Newspapers