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A low cost, innovative solution which manages electricity demand by controlling voltage...
but with the same great service to customers.

Why do we need CLASS?

As we face the challenge of making the transition to a low carbon future and meeting government carbon reduction targets, demand for electricity in Great Britain is set to rise significantly.

This will present new challenges to electricity distribution network operators like Electricity North West who will need to invest heavily in new network infrastructure to meet this increased demand. This would be a massively disruptive programme of work and could mean much higher bills for customers.

What is CLASS

To minimise potential cost, disruption and carbon emissions, we need to develop smarter and more flexible ways of managing electricity networks. At Electricity North West we are leading a number of innovative projects, including the £9 million Customer Load Active System Services (CLASS) project funded by the Low Carbon Network Fund.

CLASS is an innovative approach which aims to increase the capacity of the electricity network. It’s a low-cost solution which uses voltage control to manage electricity consumption at peak times, while still providing customers with the same great service.


To adjust voltage we installed smart voltage control in major substations linked to our control centre. This automatically stabilises the network and keeps voltages at safe levels. An advanced network management system links our control centre to the National Grid.

To demonstrate the CLASS approach we ran four trials on 60 primary substations. This represents 17% of our network and around 485,000 customers.
As part of the trial collected and analysed data on voltage and power quality so that we could quantify the effects of the trial on the regional and national electricity networks. At the same time we talked to customers in the trial area to understand if the trials had any noticeable effects on their electricity supply.

Latest updates

  • Filing Cabinets
    CLASS wins award
    Project wins prestigious European Utility Industry Award ... read more

    CLASS extension
    Our report looks at how CLASS technology can be deployed commercially  ... read more

    Closedown report
    See our project closedown report and all related documents here.