Tom Melhuish 4 min read

Who operates the electricity distribution network?

Have you ever wondered how electricity moves power plants to homes and businesses across the country? You pay your business energy supplier each month to provide electricity, but how does it actually work? Well, that’s where the electricity distribution network comes into play.

We explore the electricity distribution network in detail and the purpose of distribution network operators.

What is an electricity distribution network?

An electricity distribution network is a high voltage transmission grid across England and Wales owned by The National Grid. They connect to the distribution network operators (DNOs) who deliver to homes and business properties through privately-owned power lines and underground cables.

What is a DNO?

A DNO stands for a distribution network operator. The distribution network operator is the company that operates and owns the infrastructure that connects the energy supply to your premises.

The distribution network operator can help you with a new business energy connection, meter queries and in the event of a power cut.

What are DNOs responsible for?

Distribution network operators are responsible for the following:

  • Sub-stations
  • Transformers
  • Cables – both underground and overhead
  • Moving the supply to the property meter
  • Connecting premises to the electricity network

However, they are not responsible for the following:

DNOs should also not be confused with the role of business energy suppliers, who offer business energy tariffs to companies and perform billing and customer services.

Who operates the electricity distribution network?

There are eight distribution networks operated by six different companies. These power homes and commercial properties. Below is a list of the DNOs, and a table with each individual operator’s information.

A list of electricity distribution network operators

Here’s a list of the six different electricity distribution network operators:

  • Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks
  • Scottish Power Energy Networks
  • Electricity North West
  • Northern Powergrid
  • UK Power Networks
  • Western Power Distribution

The table below shows the coverage of each DNO:

Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) per region

This table shows the distribution network operators per region with their key details so you can identify your network operator and contact them with any queries or issues.

AreaDistributor IDDNOPhone number
North Scotland17Scottish & Southern
Electricity Networks
0800 048 3515
Central & Southern Scotland18SP Energy Networks0800 092 9290
North East England15Northern Powergrid0800 011 3332
North West England16Electricity North West0800 195 4141
Yorkshire23Northern Powergrid0800 011 3332
Merseyside, Cheshire,
North Wales & North Shropshire
13SP Energy Networks0800 001 5400
East Midlands, West Midlands,
South Wales & South West England
11, 14, 21, 22Western Power Distribution0800 096 3080
Eastern England10UK Power Networks0800 029 4285
Central Southern England20Scottish & Southern
Electricity Networks
0800 048 3516
London & South East England12, 19UK Power Networks0800 029 4285

The regional DNOs all have their own pricing depending on the cost of operating and maintaining the infrastructure in their region. This is the reason that commercial electricity rates vary by location.

What is an IDNO?

An IDNO is an independent distribution network operator; these companies develop local electricity distribution within the DNO network. The IDNOs will also operate and maintain these networks.

One clear difference between the two is that the independent distribution network operators are not bound to specific regions. They can offer their services across England and Wales with no restrictions.

List of IDNOs in the UK:

Here’s a list of registered independent distribution network operators in England and Wales:

How do I find out who my electricity distribution network operator is?

You can use the Energy Networks Association search tool. Simply enter your postcode to begin the search.

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