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3.30 ENA Industry Queue Management and Connection Milestones

Introduction and Scope:

UK Power Networks has, in conjunction with the Energy Networks Association (ENA) and all UK network companies (DNOs and transmission operators), developed improvements to the previous Queue Management process following stakeholder engagement and wider industry consultation.

The objective of Queue Management is to free up capacity by removing slow moving/stalled projects from the connection queue. UK Power Networks will establish Milestones (contractual commitments) when a connection offer is accepted and monitor progress against these Milestones enabling us to:

      a) Effectively manage contracted projects if they are not progressing against agreed Milestones and

      b) Remove stalled or slow-moving projects to release capacity for other projects in the connection queues

Following the Open Network Steering Group approval and publication UK Power Networks will implement the Queue Management principles as set out in the ENA Queue Management User Guide, to new and modified connection applications received on or after 1st July 2021 where either:

  • Requested generation is 1MW or above and / or 
  • The connection requires EHV work (including demand connections)

Milestones will be added to in scope quotations issued where the application date is on or after the 1st July 2021.

UK Power Networks will periodically review the progress of projects against the Milestones and where appropriate may terminate any project that cannot evidence suitable progression. UK Power Networks will take into account any issues outside of the customer’s direct control that have delayed or prevented achievement of the Milestones, and consider termination of projects as a last resort.

The Milestones and Timescales

Milestones form the basis of queue management and are included to in scope contracts (quotations) which enables UK Power Networks to monitor the progress of customers to meet their connection dates. A summary of the Milestones and timescales is shown below. 

 

 #  Milestone Description Date by which the Milestone must be evidenced 
1 You have initiated statutory consents including Planning Permission for the development of your Site.  Within 2 months of quote acceptance
2 You have secured statutory consents including Planning Permission for the development of Your Site.  Within 12 months of quote acceptance
3 You have obtained the necessary land rights for the development of Your Site. 

Within 2 months of quote acceptance

4

Where applicable to the development of Your Site all relevant Transmission System Operator (TSO) processes as required under the CUSC are completed including where you have:

  • Initiated and continued the process (including a separate application to the Transmission System Operator if applicable;
  • Made the necessary payment(s) to UK Power Networks in connection with the Statement of Works or Project Progression as the case may be;
  • Accepted any corresponding variation to the Quote or contract offers resulting from the Statement of Works;
 
5 If applicable, You have submitted a compliant design for the contestable design works.  Within 6 months of planning permission being secured
6 You have provided an agreeable Construction Plan (and/or ICP programme of works) demonstrating how You will achieve the agreed connection date.  Within 6 months of planning permission being secured
7  You must demonstrate that the project has the necessary Project Commitment / backing which is necessary for it to proceed.  As per Construction Plan
8 You must commence and complete the construction of your Works in line with the Construction Plan including any interim construction milestones As per Construction Plan

 

Evidence

Customers are required to provide timely evidence of their progression towards meeting the milestones. The table below summarises the evidence that UK Power Networks requires and further details can be found in the ENA Queue Management User Guide. 

#   Milestone Description Evidence Required
1 Initiated statutory consents including Planning Permission 
  • No Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – planning application reference number
  • EIA: written confirmation and cost commitment to engaging third parties to undertake EIA works is needed within 2 months and planning application reference number
2 Secured statutory consents including Planning Permission 
  • Planning decision notice issued to applicant;
3 Necessary Land Rights 
Paperwork to demonstrate that, with respect to the land on which the station is situated, the customer:
  • Is an owner or lessee of that land; or 
  • Has entered into an agreement to lease the land; or 
  • Has an option to purchase or to lease the land; or 
  • Has entered into an exclusivity agreement in relation to the land 

Transmission System Interface 

  • Payment of any required Statement of Works fees and
  • Acceptance of any corresponding variation to the Quote or contract offers resulting from the Statement of Works or Project Progression (if applicable)
5 Contestable Design Works Submission
  • Approved design submission
6 Provide an agreeable Construction Plan
  • Customer’s programme of works (and/or ICP programme of works) that demonstrates when project construction will commence and complete and how the project will be ready for the agreed connection date
7 Project Commitment 
  • Making any required staged payment made to UK Power Networks on time
8 Commence and complete the construction of Customer Works 
  • Commencement of substantive works at the customer’s project site
  • Clear progress as per the construction plan agreed with UK Power Networks inlcuding the completion of your works

  

Tolerance

The Queue Management process includes ‘tolerance’ to allow customers to manage reasonable delays without the risk of immediately terminating their quote if they fail to meet an agreed milestone. 

This also provides an opportunity for customers to highlight any issues out of their control, provide reasonable evidence and discuss issues with the network company. The creation of tolerance provides a degree of flexibility for delayed projects where specific circumstances are not extreme enough to warrant termination of the agreement. 

The tolerance period for a project varies by voltage level as shown in the tables below. For example, for an HV project, the total allowed Tolerance is 3 months for pre-construction Milestones (Milestones 1, 2, 3, 4, 6) with any delay is cumulative with delays to other pre-construction milestones

Once construction commences additional period of tolerance is provided to reflect delays to the project build phase.

 
Project Voltage

Project status for Pre Construction Milestones M1,M2, M3, M4 & M6 

(Any delays against Milestones are added to give a Cumulative Delay)

On track Within Tolerance Termination
LV & HV All Milestones to date achieved without delay Up to 65 working days Cumulative Delay (approx. 3 months) More than 65 working days Cumulative Delay (approx. 3 months)
EHV & 132kV All Milestones to date achieved without delay Up to 130 working days Cumulative Delay (approx. 6 months) More than 130 working days Cumulative Delay (approx. 6 months)
275kV, 400kV & offshore 132kV All Milestones to date achieved without delay Up to 260 working days Cumulative Delay (approx. 12 months) More than 260 working days Cumulative Delay (approx. 12 months)

 

Project Voltage

Project status for Construction Milestones M5, M7 & M8

On track Within Tolerance Termination
LV & HV All Milestones to date achieved without delay Up to 65 working days (approx. 3 months) More than 65 working days (approx. 3 months)
EHV & 132kV All Milestones to date achieved without delay Up to 130 working days (approx. 6 months) More than 130 working days (approx. 6 months)
275kV, 400kV & offshore 132kV All Milestones to date achieved without delay Up to 260 working days (approx. 12 months) More than 260 working days (approx. 12 months)

 

 Issue out of customers control

UK Power Networks recognises that there are exceptional issues that customers cannot control which may lead to project delay. Examples of such exceptional issues include, but are not limited to: 

  • Force Majeure is a provision in a contract that excuses a party from not performing its contractual obligations that becomes impossible or impracticable, due to an event or effect that the parties could not have anticipated or controlled; 
  • Planning appeals and third party challenges: Where a planning decision by the determining authority is challenged through a formal appeal process by the developer or a third party to that decision
  • Any delay which is caused by the network company, e.g. the customer/ICP is awaiting a required input from the network operator
  • Where a relevant authority places an obligation on the project which could cause the milestone/tolerance timescales to be exceed and change the project status.

Where a project experiences delays due to any of the above, UK Power Networks may place the project on hold and maintain the customer’s connection terms providing the customer complies with the following conditions:  

  • They discuss the specifics of the delay with the network company at the earliest opportunity; and 
  • They provide reasonable evidence to justify the specific delay 

For the avoidance of doubt, a failure to comply with any of these conditions can result in a failure of a Milestone and a change in the project status.

Where appropriate, UK Power Networks may issue a revised set of milestones to reflect the delays outside of a customer's control. 

 The ENA Queue Management User Guide

Please click here for the ENA Queue Management user Guide published Dec 2020