Electricity licensees: street-opening and necessary wayleaves
Produced in partnership with Matthew Collinson of Igloo Energy
Electricity licensees: street-opening and necessary wayleaves

The following Energy practice note Produced in partnership with Matthew Collinson of Igloo Energy provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Electricity licensees: street-opening and necessary wayleaves
  • What are street-opening powers?
  • What counts as a street?
  • What powers do electricity licensees have to open streets?
  • Do electricity licensees’ powers extend to third party infrastructure?
  • What protections exist for third party owners whose assets are affected?
  • What are ‘necessary wayleaves’?
  • When can an electricity licensee apply for a necessary wayleave in relation to a new asset?
  • When can an electricity licensee apply for a necessary wayleave in relation to an existing asset?
  • What happens if a necessary wayleave is granted?
  • More...

In order for a new connection to be made, whether to a generator, a home, an office or an entire new development, new network infrastructure will need to be built. As network operators recover the capital cost of installation over an extended period of time (by charging suppliers for use of the network), a key concern for the operator will be the security of the network asset—ie the right for it to be and remain installed in the land.

This usually involves a mixture of statutory powers granted to licensed electricity distribution and transmission network operators as well as private rights in the form of long leases and easements.

What are street-opening powers?

Section 10 and Schedule 4 of the Electricity Act 1989 (EA 1989) grant street-opening powers to licensed electricity generators, network operators, suppliers and interconnector operators (referred to as ‘licence holders’ in this Practice Note) to the extent set out in, and for purposes connected to, their licence. Generation licensees can also use their street-opening powers for equipment connected with the supply of heat or cooling effects to premises, ie for combined-heat-and-power (CHP) or combined-cooling-heat-and-power (CCHP) plant under EA 1989, ss 10(3) and 10(3A).

Street-opening powers can only be used on streets dedicated to public use, and cannot be used to place assets in, through or against a building. If the street is not a highway

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