Third party access to private electricity networks
Produced in partnership with Matthew Collinson
Third party access to private electricity networks

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

  • Third party access to private electricity networks
  • Access to electricity networks
  • Which private wires are affected?
  • How is third party access obtained?
  • Expressions of interest
  • If the distribution exemption holder does not consider that reinforcement is necessary
  • If the distribution exemption considers that reinforcement is necessary in order to accommodate the request
  • What if the distribution exemption holder and the third party supplier do not agree terms for access?
  • Obligations of the distribution exemption holder once access has been granted
  • Charges for use of the exempt distribution system
  • More...

Access to electricity networks

Successive packages of UK and European legislation have driven the separation of electricity retailing from the ownership and operation of monopoly networks.

Customers connected to networks that were exempt from these requirements did not benefit from the resulting increase in retail competition. So-called ‘private wires’ are a part of property estates of all kinds—from industrial parks to hospitals; university campuses to airports—and also feature in some new-build energy or multi-utility services company arrangements.

In Citiworks AG v Sächsisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft und Arbeit als Landesregulierungsbehörde (Case C-439/06), the European Court of Justice (now the Court of Justice of the European Union) expressed concerns about the effect these exemptions would have on integration of European energy markets and ruled that customers must be given access to alternative energy supplies.

The position was clarified and reinforced in the EU's Third Package of internal EU electricity market measures in Directive 2009/72/EC (Electricity Directive). For more information on the EU Internal Energy Market, see Practice Note: EU Internal Energy Market—electricity.

The changes in UK law required by the Electricity Directive, including the consequences of the Citiworks case, have been implemented by the introduction of a new Schedule 2ZA to the Electricity Act 1989 (EA 1989), which requires private electricity network operators to open their networks to third parties in certain circumstances.

Which private wires are affected?

Schedule 2ZA to the EA

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