Introduced by Ofgem, DCP 161 came into force on 1st April 2018 to ensure that any half-hourly (HH) metered sites are billed fairly and correctly in respect of their Agreed Supply Capacity (ASC). Each HH meter across the UK has an ASC, which is measured in kVA and forms part of the site’s Connection Agreement with the local distribution network (DNO) The ASC is charged at a rate which has been agreed within the supply contract and is affected by both voltage level and area. The penalty charge for exceeding your available capacity will increase on average, by an estimated 81%. This charge will vary significantly from region to region.

The purpose behind this new legislation is to assist the Distribution Network Operators with balancing out network usage. The legislation will help encourage customers to manage their load more diligently or to request the correct level of capacity upfront. As a further note, when looking to review contracted ASC it should be noted that if a supply does demand higher than its contracted Available Capacity, not only does it attract Excess Capacity charges, but there are potential liabilities that the DNO could levy in relation to the physical impact of that Excess Capacity on the network infrastructure. In the current climate where local networks are being required to carry increased load requirements, this may become more prominent.

An ASC increase must be a considered decision since the elimination of excess charges does not always outweigh the cost of the higher ASC every month. In addition some increases require site works to be carried out that can be very expensive.

Electricity meters that have been or are due to be converted to HH as a result of P272, will be settled on the HH market in time for the introduction of DCP 161. To ensure the ASC is set at the correct level it is essential to understand the site’s requirements and peak Maximum Demand levels. Any sites that are incurring excess capacity charges will need to consider agreeing a revised ASC or take energy saving measures to reduce their maximum demand.

So what can you do?

Those who are moving from non-HH to HH meters are slightly vulnerable as they may not know their available capacity and should seek advice to establish the agreed capacity.

If you want to review your ASC or are looking at ways to reduce your energy consumption and avoid excess charges, Inspired Energy can help.

Inspired Energy can assist you in the following ways:

• Analysis of the existing Agreed Supply Capacity charge utilising HH data, Power Factor information and your own knowledge of the site to establish if an increase or decrease is required.
• Once it has been decided that a change is required we can contact the relevant DNO and request that a new Connection Agreement is drawn up. The new figure is then automatically passed to your current supplier who, in turn, ensures that the new figure appears on your electricity invoice.
• We will monitor your supply invoices to ensure that any change in the ASC has been correctly applied.