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The DSO roles: SO- and AO-led activities

David Butcher

This blog is a part of the DSO model series. You can read the previous blog about how the nature of the UK power industry is changing (blog 1), about the challenges and solutions for the DSO role (blog 2), about the benefits of a separated system operator (SO) (blog 3), and what this separation will actually look like (blog 4).

In this blog, we will see how the interaction between System Operator (SO) and Asset Owner (AO)-led activities that are working to provide the full range of DSO responsibility:

Commercial – DSO role

The DSO role must provide accurate and timely charging information to all customers and stakeholders, timely collection of revenue and payment of fees, and maintenance and capital investment costs. It should be noted that a central body may own the data (in the same way as Elexon or Xoserve do), but the DSO will provide access through its platform. These responsibilities will be split between the two entities as shown below:

Investment – DSO role

The DSO role must provide investment in the whole system to improve value and service to customers and provide an opportunity for all parties to successfully invest alongside it. These responsibilities will be split between the two entities as shown below:

Connections – DSO role

The DSO role will be to manage all applications to connect and provide offers to customers for connection onto the distribution network based on improving whole system performance.

Planning – DSO role

The DSO role will be to develop the distribution network outage plan and an agreed means of implementation of the plan.

Operations – DSO role

The DSO role will be to operate the distribution network and enable access to assets for third parties for capital and maintenance works.

As can be seen from the above activity splits there is a variance between the responsibilities of the two parties at each level. The list can be used as a rule of thumb to set out how the early DSOs should start to prepare themselves and their respective departments for the split. However, given that the DSO model is not a strictly defined role the above tables are likely to represent a pick-and-mix approach depending on geographical, market, and business model landscapes. As a simple guide, the weight of accountabilities is likely to look something like the model below:

In the next and last blog, we will look at the next steps to deliver transnational change in the UK power industry. Meanwhile, I would be happy to discuss the DSO model. Feel free to reach out to me via my profile or on social media.