The National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS) has been developed to allow providers (commonly known as independent connections providers) to carry our contestable connection work. Any provider wishing to carry out this work within the contestable market, as defined by the Utility Regulator, must be accredited under this scheme. In May 2016, all new distribution connections greater than 5 MW became contestable In Northern Ireland. Until this point a customer requiring a new supply could only apply to NIE Networks. Now customers can contract this work to any of the accredited contractors who are known as Independent Connection Providers (ICPs). The connections Market for distribution connections<5MW will be opened in Northern Ireland in April 2018. The scope of NERS accreditation has been extended to cover transmission voltages of 110kV and 275kV in Northern Ireland. Whilst Transmission works are currently non-contestable in Northern Ireland, work is underway to also open transmission works to competition.
The scheme represents part of an ongoing process to introduce competition into the electrical services market.
What are the benefits?
Accreditation under the scheme will provide the service provider with the following benefits:
- accreditation recognised by all UK DNOs (now including Northern Ireland Electricity Networks)
- independent assessment and registration process
- assignment of an accreditation mark which will represent the achievement of a high technical, quality and safety standard
- Lloyd's Register website listing of registered service providers
All distribution network operators (DNOs) on mainland UK and now Northern Ireland, recognise this scheme and, provided that the NERS providers hold the appropriate UK utility schemes accreditations, the NERS provider can compete for work within the contestable connections market. When awarding contracts to registered NERS providers, the developer, who is usually the client organisation, can be confident that once the work has been completed, the host DNO will adopt the connection for the remainder of its lifetime. All contractors who wish to undertake any part of the contestable connections process including project management, design, cable installation etc require the relevant accreditation.
The scopes of registration are as follows:
- project management
- cable laying (LV,11kV, 33kV, 110kV, 275kV)
- cable jointing (11kV, 33kV, 110kV, 275kV )
- overhead lines wooden pole (11kV,33kV, 110kV)
- overhead lines steel tower (11kV, 33kV, 110kV, 275kV)
- substation installation (up to 11kV, 33kV, 110kV, 275kV)
- substation installation (11kV, 33kV, 132kV)
- all associated civil engineering works including excavation, cable laying and backfilling
- network switching and intrusive cable identification.