Great Britain electricity generation, distribution and supply licensing and exemptions regime
Produced in partnership with Matthew Collinson of Igloo Energy
Great Britain electricity generation, distribution and supply licensing and exemptions regime

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

  • Great Britain electricity generation, distribution and supply licensing and exemptions regime
  • The requirement for a licence or exemption
  • Changes to supply licensing
  • The exemptions regime
  • Individual exemptions (requiring an application to the Secretary of State)
  • Class exemptions (automatically applicable to qualifying entities)
  • The ‘small generator’ class exemption
  • Supply class exemptions
  • The ‘small supplier’ class exemption
  • The ‘resale’ class exemption
  • More...

Great Britain electricity generation, distribution and supply licensing and exemptions regime

The requirement for a licence or exemption

It is an offence to carry out any of the following ‘licensable activities’ in the electricity sector without a licence or an exemption:

  1. generating electricity for the purpose of giving a supply to any premises or enabling a supply to be so given

  2. participating in the transmission of electricity for that purpose

  3. distributing electricity for that purpose

  4. supplying electricity to any premises

  5. participating in the operation of an interconnector

  6. providing a smart meter communication service

For a detailed overview of the wider Great Britain electricity sector licensing regime, see Practice Note: An Introduction to Electricity Licensing in Great Britain. Development Consent Orders (DCOs) can also take effect as an energy generation licence. For information on DCOs generally, see Practice Note: Permission for nationally significant infrastructure projects.

Generation licensing is relevant for those building power plants of whatever scale. Supply licensing is relevant to those who want to directly supply an 'offtaker' (say, a local community or a business), even if they are using a ‘private wire’ (colloquially, a distribution system that is not owned or operated by a licensed electricity distribution network operator—but in some circumstances, touched on below, it has a legal meaning). Distribution licensing is relevant to those operating the private wires themselves.

Generation projects usually involve a

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