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  • Delivering a Smarter Electricity System

    Our Transition to DSO

  • We strongly support the transition to net zero carbon emissions and will play an active role in delivering the UK and Scottish Governments’ respective 2050 and 2045 targets.

  • An increase in low-carbon distributed generation, electric vehicles, demand side response and energy storage are transforming our network, giving customers access to new products and services.

    To accommodate the changes that will enable net zero, we are transitioning from operating as a Distribution Network Operator (DNO), to become a Distribution System Operator (DSO). We are putting customers and communities at the heart of the process and ensuring best value for money. In 2017, we published Supporting a Smarter Electricity System which outlines the principles we will adhere to during this transition. 

    Our DSO transition is underway and our latest update can be read in Delivering DSO: A Progress Update, which details how we have put our DSO priorities into practice.

  • Our DSO priorities

  • Building blocks
  • Innovating to drive the DSO transition

    We are running innovation projects to understand how opportunities can be maximised from the transition to a smarter electricity system and how households, businesses and communities can realise its benefits.

  • Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO)

    Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO) is our flagship innovation project. Through LEO, we are seeking to replicate the conditions of the future electricity system to better understand relationships between stakeholders in the energy system and to inform how we should help manage the transition as a neutral market facilitator. 


    TRANSITION will help inform the requirements of the transition to DSO. It is working to develop a Neutral Market Facilitator platform that will facilitate the smarter electricity system. 

  • Flexibility at the heart of smarter electricity

    Our transition to DSO demands greater flexibility in management of the electricity network to ensure supply and demand are always balanced.

  • Flexibility services can be provided by households, businesses and communities in our distribution regions, who are paid to flex their demand or supply in response to constraint on our network. Their services could include small-scale renewables, battery storage, electric vehicles, demand side response and energy efficiency measures, to alleviate network constraint.

    When an area of constraint has been identified, we can respond by reinforcing the network, or by using flexibility services. To help stakeholders understand how we make this decision and to embed neutrality in this process, we commissioned Frontier Economics to develop a tool that compares the cost of either option and assesses the benefit of optionality.

    We use Constraint Managed Zones (CMZs) to identify areas where flexibility could be deployed to help manage the network in preference to traditional reinforcement. We now have several flexibility contracts in operation which are helping to save money for our customers and reduce carbon emissions. On the Isle of Islay we are successfully utilising low-carbon energy generation to manage the network. Within the first six months, this project had avoided 2,450 tonnes of CO2 emissions and saved customers £230,000 in the process. We have a significant procurement pipeline for flexibility services in both our licence areas.

    Payment for providing flexibility services will commonly consist of an availability payment and/or a utilisation payment and while the values will vary based on service type, market liquidity, geographical location and network need, values will typically be around £150/MW or MWh.

    We are seeking to procure flexibility services ahead of need from existing (or potential) flexibility providers. For further information please click here.

  • The role of low carbon technologies (LCTs) in flexibility

    We are investigating where future areas of constraint are likely to emerge, so we can ensure the network is resilient. We commissioned a study from sustainable energy experts, Regen in 2020, examining the possible rate of uptake of low carbon technologies (LCTs) in both our licence areas, if the UK is to meet its net zero targets. Download our report High granularity projections for low carbon technology uptake - electric vehicle, heat pumps and solar PV.

    The role of energy efficiency measures

    SSEN has taken an industry-leading step in forecasting energy efficiency uptake in its distribution areas. Energy efficiency will play a key role in meeting net zero. SSEN is committed to working with the local communities it serves to help them realise their net zero goals. 

  • Your future electricity grid

    We are working to understand how the demands on our networks are likely to change over the next decade. This will help us plan how we will support our demand or generation customers through network investment or flexibility. To support this process, we commissioned Regen to complete a set of future electricity scenarios for our Southern and Northern network distribution licence areas out to 2035. These studies are informed by National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios.  

    Future Energy – Our local network plans for RIIO-ED2

    Turning insights into action- we would value your insights into our Future Energy Plans

    We are a monopoly provider of electricity networks and it regulated by Ofgem, the regulator which periodically sets the revenue/allowances that we can spend and recover from customers through a price control process. The upcoming process is referred to as "RIIO - ED2" and will cover the period from 2023 to 2028.
    We are preparing to submit a business plan to Ofgem for RIIO- ED2, the first draft of which is due by June 2021.

    A key business case component is the "strategic investment" allowance which Ofgem will set to enable us to invest in the network to enable the uptake of low carbon technologies (LCTS) to meet the Net Zero policy goals.

    There is uncertainty regarding the pathways to Net Zero.  We are currently developing an approach to determine the "most likely" future scenarios in each of its licence areas which can be included in its business case submission to Ofgem.

    Ofgem will scrutinise the process and assumptions that we use to develop its network plan to enable the transition to Net Zero and have specified the process should involve consultation with national and local stakeholders.

    Our stakeholder engagement is in the Co-creation phase of the business plan development and will incorporate stakeholder insights into the process SSEN should adopt to take account of Local Government and community goals and ambitions for Net Zero in network planning.  

    Our proposed process for our Future Energy plans can be found here and we invite you to provide your insights through review and answering questions which are included.   The survey will close on 28th November 2020.

    Should you have more specific views we would value your further engagement in our Co-creation stakeholder engagement phase.  Please contact us at

  • EV Strategy cover
  • SSEN Digital Strategy Cover
  • View our DSO Document library

    Read all our reports about the DSO transition

    DSO library
  • Local Energy Oxforshire logo
  • Transition- Moving to a smart future logo
  • Evaluating Flexibility

    Read about our tool that compares network reinforcement with flexibility services

  • Register to offer flexibility services

    Find out what services we are looking to procure and register your interest to be included in future tenders

  • Flexible Connections

    To find out more about our Flexible Solutions and Flexibility services, visit our Flexible Connections page. 

    Flexible Connections
  • Powerlines

    Download report into LCT uptake

    Find out where low carbon technologies (LCTs) will appear on our networks. Download
  • Capacity Portal

    Access information on the rating and capacity of our network assets.


    Find out more
  • Embedded Capacity Register

    For information detailing the generation assets of ≥1MW that are connected to our distribution network please visit our resource register.

    Embedded Capacity Register