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DNO Connections

Distribution Network Operator Connections

As an accredited Utilities Connections Provider (UCP), by Lloyds Register – under the National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS) – and holding a Principal Contractor Licence with Network Rail, we can provide a full turnkey offering anywhere within the UK. From providing the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) connection to the distribution network through to supplying our clients with requisite track side infrastructure – such as Principal Supply Points (PSP’s), Functional Supply Points (FSP’s) and Relocatable Equipment Buildings (REB’s) – our in house expertise allows all the contestable activities to be undertaken.

Linbrooke have a workforce made up of industry specialists who are experts in the associated policies and procedures. With years of experience in the provision of connections to DNO networks, many of our individuals hold influential positions within various national bodies.

With industry regulator, Ofgem, extending the scope of what was historically non-contestable works, this extension now allows the UCP to do the final connection to the DNO network – including the securing of wayleaves.

Our strategy

Our strategy is to leverage our knowledge, experience and expertise within DNO connections to ensure the DNO energisation is not on the critical path for any client projects. This, coupled with our rail capabilities and experience brings about cost reductions and risk management to project delivery.

While the DNO will still have involvement and a degree of input – primarily around design approval – we have the knowledge and working experience of all regulations to ensure that they conform and successfully meet client stipulations.

To ensure the DNO cabinet is energised in accordance with all project requirements and timescales, works are scheduled on both sides of the metered supply point to increase the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery.

Current client experience

In practice, Linbrooke have provided Network Rail with the direct DNO connection service on a national basis in order to mitigate delays with point of supply connection that they have experienced. We have also delivered projects for Siemens Rail Automation.

To date we have successfully completed circa 50 DNO connections across a portfolio of six different projects for rail infrastructure purposes – covering both low and high voltage connections.

Project experience – example

The example above was a DNO connection that had formerly appeared to Network Rail and its supply chain to be impossible to deliver, that is until Linbrooke were engaged. Displaying honesty, quality and reliability, we successfully delivered the connection as a UCP.

The initially tabled early Grip design proposed the upgrade to 3km of DNO overhead line. This resulted in extraneousexpenses – with costs payable upfront – as well as wayleave issues due to the distance over agricultural land. Delays to delivery in the point of supply meant that costs were also being incurred to run the supply from a mobile generator.

Though our expertise in understanding the DNO network with our in house DNO designers and our rail infrastructure E&P designers, we worked up an alternative solution for acceptance whereby Linbrooke could install the DNO cabinet and feed the REB without recourse to the DNO resources.

The resulting solution meant that all of the work could be carried out in the public highway – involving 700m of underground cable and introducing a significant time and cost saving on the original proposed solution. As a result of Linbrooke’s unique offering, the work was successfully completed ahead of the final project milestone and the generator supply removed.

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Process

The Linbrooke process consists of 6 major steps:

1. Initial DNO design and quotation – with speed as the key aspect, we immediately apply to the appropriate DNO for a free design and quote.

2. Pricing – contestable and non-contestable works – adopting Ofgem’s standard licence condition SLC4F, we apply to the appropriate DNO for a point of connection, determine the contestable/non-contestable elements of the scheme and price/design the contestable element of the works.

3. Return of the point of connection from DNO – with two prices to show the client – one for the DNO to do all the work and one for the point of connection – we agree how we are to proceed. If we are to go the UCP route then Linbrooke will enter a bi-lateral agreement with the DNO for the connection where we do as much as is allowed under the terms of extension of contestability.

4. Submit design for approval to the DNO – using the original DNO design and notifying the principal contractor of the intended connection, we can start work on constructing the asset after 5 days. The DNO would at this point obtain the appropriate wayleaves.

5. Asset construction – we agree an energisation date with the DNO and deliver the final joint – based on what level of contestability it is. We then notify the meter operator of the energisation date and start work on building the asset to the DNO specification. The DNO will then undertake his inspection of the asset being constructed.

6. Test & Commissioning and Handback – we conclude all test and commissioning activities on the distribution network / feeder in accord with both railway and DNO standards as appropriate and develop a compatible handback package and O&M documentation package to meet Network Rail and DNO requirements, supporting Network Rail Infrastructure Projects with handback to the route asset owner and their DNO supplier.

“With the difficulty of obtaining DNO connections remaining high, projects and key milestones are frequently missed and wayleave problems and poor customer services are repercussive problems. Ofgem, the electricity regulator, recognised these issues and subsequently introduced competition in connections by way of instating Utilities Connections Providers (UCP’s – formally ICP’s). Following this vein, Linbrooke Services deliver an exceptional solution.” – Justin Hopkins, Programme Director

 Benefits we offer

With our industry relationships and expertise within DNO connections, we utilise our knowledge of current regulatory positions to ensure the DNOs meet all specified timescales. Linbrooke have recognised the value added to our offered services through being a UCP with the capability to provide complete DNO connections. Plus, having full E&P capabilities allows us to offer full turnkey solutions.

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 Further benefits offered:

Linbrooke provides full turnkey services for clients which renders the need for a DNO, meter operators or third party intervention as obsolete. This contributes to both cost and time efficiencies

Surety of connection and energisation dates to the DNO cabinet and subsequent rail infrastructure equipment

Having direct control over third parties, meter installation and new roads and street works act (NRASWA) notifications

Significant reduction in overall cost of delivery of the integrated rail supply solution compared to DNO delivered solutions

A thorough understanding of the stakeholder arrangements surrounding the delivery and competent management of the required communications and interfaces with a clear view on a successful outcome for Network Rail

The process to be followed is well documented and regulated by industry regulator – Ofgem.

The DNO’s are incentivised to enable this process with ourselves as a competent UCP as a result of the risk of a resulting competition commission referral

Have a Query?

Contact Linbrooke today!