DNO: Distribution Network Operators in the UK

A short guide to electricity distribution companies and what they do

This guide is intended to provide general guidance only. It is not intended to give you advice on your personal financial circumstances. You should seek independent professional advice if you’re unsure about anything mentioned in this guide or what choices to make.

A Distribution Network Operator is a company licensed to distribute electricity in the UK. These companies own and operate the system of cables and towers that bring electricity from the national transmission network to our homes and businesses.

Unlike the widely known Big Six energy companies that sell electricity to consumers, many of the leading distribution companies are largely unknown to the public. In this guide we’ll look at what they do and who they are.

What is a Distribution Network Operator (DNO)?

Although most people in the UK are familiar with the energy company they buy their electricity from, they actually rely on four types of companies to keep the lights on. These companies make up the UK power network:

  • Generation: power plant ownership and operation
  • Transmission: operate high voltage transmission networks
  • Distribution: operate local distribution via towers, cables and meters
  • Suppliers: electricity sellers like the Big Six and OVO energy

The company that is responsible for the distribution of electricity from the national transmission grid to your home or business is the Distribution Network Operator, or DNO. These are the people you should call if there is a power cut, as they are responsible for the network of towers, transformers, poles, cables and meters that deliver power to your home. If you are experiencing a power cut call 105, this is free from most landline and mobile numbers and will put you straight through to your District Network Operator.

DNO regions and operators

In Great Britain there are 14 different district networks or DNO regions. However, because these 14 regions are managed by just six operators, it is relatively simple to work out who yours is.

The map below from the Energy Networks Association provides a good visual idea of where they operate. If you are looking to work out who your DNO is then check the map; contact details follow in the table below.

dno

Who is my District Network Operator?

The map above should give you a good idea as to who you Distribution Network Operator is. If you’d like to contact them check out the details below from the ENA:

UK District Network Operators

Area (code)

Company

Emergency No.

Website

Twitter account

North Scotland (17) SSE Power Distribution 0800 300 999 www.ssepd.co.uk @hydroPD
Central and Southern Scotland (18) SP Energy Networks 0800 092 9290 www.spenergynetworks.co.uk @SPEnergyNetwork
North East England (15) Northern Powergrid 0800 668 877 www.northernpowergrid.com @Northpowergrid
North West England (16) Electricity North West 0800 195 4141 www.enwl.co.uk @ElectricityNW
Yorkshire (23) Northern Powergrid 0800 375 675 www.northernpowergrid.com @Northpowergrid
Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire (13) SP Energy Networks 0800 001 5400 www.spenergynetworks.co.uk @SPEnergyNetwork
East Midlands, West Midlands, South Wales & South West England (11, 14, 21, 22) Western Power Distribution 0800 6783 105 www.westernpower.co.uk @wpduk
Eastern England (10) UK Power Networks 0800 783 8838 www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk @UKPowerNetworks
Southern England (20) SSE Power Distribution 0800 072 7282 www.ssepd.co.uk @southernelecPD
London (12) UK Power Networks 0800 028 0247 www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk @UKPowerNetworks
South East England (19) UK Power Networks 0800 783 8866 www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk @UKPowerNetworks
Northern Ireland  Northern Ireland Electricity 0345 764 3643 www.nie.co.uk @NIElectricity

DNO by postcode

If for some reason you can’t work out who you should call from the map and tables above, then simply click this link and enter your postcode to find out.

District Network Operator solar connection

Whenever you connect a form of electricity generation to the grid, you need to inform your local Distribution Network Operator (DNO). In general this is not a big issue, but you should be aware that your responsibilities are different depending on the size of the system you are looking at. Any installer registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme should be well aware of these details, but it's worth being clear yourself:

Smaller systems: If you are connecting a small system (up to 16A per phase or 3.7 kW), then your installer just needs to inform the DNO with 28 days of the system’s commissioning. Such small systems are unlikely to result in load issues for the local grid, so the regulation is relatively simple. For more details consult this guide on the G83/2 engineering recommendation.

Larger systems: For bigger systems your installer will need to get permission from the DNO in order to connect to the grid. In many cases this will require a network study (which you may be charged for) to ensure that the local grid network is adequate for the power your system will produce. If the grid needs additional work to cope with the energy from your system, the DNO is required to provide you with a quote for the work within 45 days.

O​VO​ Energy Ltd, registered office 1 Rivergate Temple Quay Bristol, BS1 6ED, company no. 06890795 registered in England and Wales, VAT No. 100119879

Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.

 

1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount.  All rates correct as of 06/06/2017, but may go up or down.

2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas).  All rates correct as of 06/06/2017, but may go up or down.

3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 03/11/2016 and 06/06/2017. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location. 

4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location. 

We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.

33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.

3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year for customers paying by advance direct debit.  The OVO Interest Reward is paid monthly based on   number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill,  and the credit balance on which you can earn the OVO Interest Reward is capped. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/

95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Savings based on the average estimated annual costs for all new OVO customers quoted through the OVO website, compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/05/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT.

94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.

uSwitch's Energy Supplier of the Year: OVO energy was voted and awarded  'Energy Supplier of the year' and best for: Overall Customer Satisfaction, Most Likely to be Recommended, Value for Money, Best Deal for You, Customer Service, Billing Services, Energy Efficiency, Meter Services, Online Services, Green Services and Transfer Process. OVO Energy scored a 96% customer satisfaction score.

Which?: Achieved the highest score of 78% in the Which? Satisfaction Survey conducted in September and October 2016.

Pay Monthly unit rates

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