Moving to a Distribution System Operator

20 December 2018

Moving to a Distribution System Operator

20 December 2018

As we move to a low-carbon economy, new technology and digitisation are driving unprecedented change in the way energy is created and used. As an electricity infrastructure provider, we need to make sure that our network is able to safely and securely support these changes whilst maintaining high standards of reliability for our customers.

The industry is responding to this change by transitioning from a traditional Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to a Distribution System Operator (DSO) model. At Northern Powergrid, we are helping to shape this transition to ensure it delivers value for our customers.

DSO V1.0

The document sets out how we aim to build a smart, local and cost-effective network around the needs of our customers.

It demonstrates the significant progress we are already making, and shows how we are collaborating with other network operators and working to support the government’s Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan.

The transition to Distribution System Operator will require a complete transformation of the way we operate, and we lay out a pathway to 2030 detailing how we propose to acquire the capabilities and develop the services we will need.

  • For the full DSO v1.0 document (December 2018), click here


Starting in Winter 2018, we are assessing the flexible capacity connected to our network and how it could help us manage it actively.

We have published details of nine locations on our network where we are seeking up to 12.5MW of flexible capacity for winter 2019/20. We are welcoming expressions of interest from operators of flexible assets at each of these areas. We would encourage operators of assets located in the identified areas to register their assets.

Following this step, if there is sufficient interest we will then assess when to launch a competitive tendering stage to procure flexibility.

  • For full information on our flexibility plan, click here
  • To response to the expression of interest by 25 February 2019, click here



We are seeking dialogue in the period to the end of March 2019. Subsequently, we will bring forward detailed plans in Summer 2019.
Email us at 

  • Tell us what you think about DSO v1.0 - we have included a list of questions in the document, but are happy to receive feedback on any aspect.
  • Register for our newsletter so we can keep you informed of opportunities to hear about progress updates and give us your feedback.

Register to our upcoming events on :

  • Our DSO event in London - 23 January 2019
  • Our future Electric Vehicle events - early 2019- registration not yet open