Ofgem wants electricity distribution network operators (DNOs) to be more flexible in connecting customers to local grids.

In a report, the energy regulator highlighted the number of generators being connected to distribution networks in recent years.

The watchdog said the number would increase as battery storage is added and electric vehicles become more popular.

By the end of 2015, about 26% of total generation capacity was made up of smaller generators linked to the DNOs’ grids, double the figure in 2011, according to the report.

3.7GW of capacity

James Veaney, Head of Electricity Connections and Constraint Management at Ofgem, said: “This report shows that DNOs have made more than 3.7 GW of capacity available through taking smarter approaches to connections.

“Some of this involves flexible connection arrangements where generators agree with DNOs that they won’t run at times when the network is being fully used.

“In other cases, the DNOs have been able to offer ‘firm’ capacity where the generator gets continual access to the network.”

Veaney said making best use of the full range of smarter, more innovative and flexible connection approaches “needs to become the norm for DNOs rather than the exception”.

“Overall, DNOs have come a long way in improving their approach to connections. When we surveyed stakeholders last year we found that they generally supported the new approaches DNOs are taking. But DNOs can still go further.

“At the heart of this is the need for DNOs to offer good customer service to network users, and a willingness to share best practice across the networks sector. We will continue to take a strong interest in this, monitoring progress closely. We encourage stakeholders to continue to engage with DNOs on their requirements and innovative proposals to speed up connections.”  

> Download the report