How to connect to the grid?

Unless you live in a very remote area where there are no mains power options or have chosen to live an off grid lifestyle, the chances are your home needs to connect to the grid. If you are moving house and live in an older or established property, then your connection is already in place.

Last update: April 2022

As you may have heard on the news, the UK energy market is currently under an immense amount of stress as a result of a global gas shortage driving up costs and putting several energy suppliers out of business. To learn more about this and stay updated on a daily basis you can read our page on the UK energy crisis.

But what happens if you build a new home from the ground up and need to make a mains connection? Then you need to apply to connect to the electricity and gas grid. This is a job that has to be carried out by a licensed professional with the required approval.

How to connect to the grid

In the UK, the national power network for electricity is called the grid and operated by the National Grid. This owns and manages the infrastructure of power lines, pylons, sub stations and cabling that connects power generation stations at one end to your home electricity meter at the other.

If your build project needs to connect or reconnect to the grid, then you need to apply to the relevant authorities for permission. They will organise a site visit to ensure that the conditions are met for a safe connection, recommending any extra work that needs to be done. You will then go through the remainder of the application process until your connection is installed.

Below we will outline the steps that you will go through on your connection journey.

connect to the grid

Different steps to get connected

The first stage of the connection process that needs to happen is a pre-application meeting. The organisation that is responsible for all connections to the grid is National Grid Energy Transmission (NGET). You will need to get in touch with them to arrange your initial pre-application meeting and discuss the works, costs and timelines involved in getting a connection.

The next step in the application process is to contact the Electricity Systems Operator (ESO). They will work with you to facilitate the necessary requirements for your connection.

You will then need to submit your application and pay the relevant fees. Your account manager will get in touch with you to discuss the most cost-effective solution for your connection.

Applying for a new connection

To apply for your grid connection you’ll need to fill in an application form. This can be quite technical and complicated as there are many complex stages in the process. But don’t worry as there is a guide to assist you in filling out the form. In addition, there will be assistance to help you understand the terminology and acronyms you will encounter.

Once complete, you need to submit the form to the ESO, along with your application fee. The ESO will then process the application and work with the transmission owner to develop the connection.

There are certain steps you need to take to make sure you are ready to apply and for your connection to be approved. These include the following:

  • Provide all the required information in the form, including technical information for the Data Registration Code
  • Have the application fee to pay
  • Make yourself ready to comply with the Grid Code
  • Understand the mandatory services requirements. These will be based on the size of your connection

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Pre-quote site visit

Before you get your final quote for connections and to ensure that your site will be safe and ready to connect, you will receive a site visit. This helps to confirm what is required and see if any alterations and further works are necessary.

The technician will outline a proposed cable route across your property. They will also highlight any excavation work or meter cabinet placement that needs to be done. You will be provided with a signed warranty on your property, showing that it meets the regulations and is ready for connection.

Be advised that you may be required to provide parking spaces for the visiting team, which can be for up to two vehicles.

Getting your quotation

Between five and 15 days after your application and the site visit, you will be given your quote for your connection. The size of your quote will depend on the size and complexity of your project. If you accept your quote for the services, you’ll then need to make a payment for the process to proceed. It is only ten days after this payment is received that a connection visit can be arranged.

Prepare your site for construction

Once your site visit is complete and you have paid all your connection charges, it’s then up to you to complete any work the technician has declared is necessary for a safe connection. If this involves laying cables on third party property, you will need to get the appropriate consent. If road closure and traffic management is required, this can take up to 14 weeks to secure so you need to keep this in mind if your connection runs under or near a public road.

Any onsite excavation required will either need to be carried out by yourself or a third party at your expense. You may also need to install a suitable meter box for the connection.

Typical cost for your quotation

You will be required to pay a number of charges on your connection journey, which can vary according to:

  1. The type of connection you need
  2. The size of your connection
  3. Where you are connecting on your property

Your final bill will include the application charge, which depends on the size of your proposed build, plus ongoing connection charges and other associated costs. These can include the balancing services of use charge and transmission network of use charge.

While the cost of every connection will vary, in the UK the average cost of a new connection to the grid is £1619. However, excavation work, traffic management and meter installation – amongst others – should all be added to this total for each connection.

Inheriting a supplier from the building works

Sometimes it might happen that you take over a building project before completion. In this case, the builders may have established a temporary connection that needs moving to a more permanent site. A temporary connection will usually be housed in a weatherproof enclosure on the boundary of the site and a more permanent connection will need to be located in a meter box closer to the property.

In these circumstances, you will still need to apply for a relocation of connection. The same applies if you wish to move an existing meter or when upgrading your supply to a large capacity meter.

How to connect a solar panel to the grid?

The National Grid is not just a one way power supplying system, it is also possible to sell power back. To do this you must have some form of power generation equipment at your end. Most commonly this takes the form of a solar or wind system.

connect to the grid

The government runs an incentive scheme to financially reward people who supply power back to the grid. This is called the Feed in Tariff, or FIT. For each kWh of power you produce you are paid a certain rate. By combining this with energy savings you could make up to £695 a year.

When installing your solar panel, your engineer should do much of the connection work for you. They will supply all the necessary information to the District Network Operator and will ensure you are connected to the grid in the correct way. Both your installer and solar PV system need to be certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

You will need to get additional permission to connect your solar PV system, depending on its size, if your local grid cannot handle the extra capacity. The DNO will carry out tests to ensure this is possible. In addition to the tests, you will also have to provide your FIT supplier with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This shows the energy efficiency of your property. It needs to achieve at least a D rating, the average band for homes in the UK.

How to connect wind power to the grid

As with solar, home wind turbine systems are becoming more popular. When excess energy is produced it can be hard to store in battery form in the long term. Wind power can also be sold back to the grid and connections are made in much the same ways as with solar PV systems. Your installer will again do the hard work, applying to the DNO for permission. Again, they will need to be approved in order to establish a grid connection and provide an EPC.

Would you like to know more information about moving house? Great! Check out these related articles

  1. property inventory
  2. Moving away

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FAQ

How to connect to the grid

To apply for your grid connection you’ll need to fill in an application form. This can be quite technical and complicated but there will be assistance to help you understand the terminology and acronyms you will encounter. Once complete, you need to submit the form to the ESO, along with an application fee. The ESO will then process the application and develop the connection after a site visit.

What is a pre-connection visit?

Before you get your final quote for connections, and to ensure that your site will be safe and ready to connect, you will receive a site visit. This helps to confirm what is required and see if any alterations and further works are necessary.

Typical cost for your quotation

While the cost of every connection varies, in the UK the average cost of a new connection to the grid is £1619. However, you may also need to pay for excavation work, traffic management and meter installation in addition to the connection charge.

How to connect a solar panel to the grid?

It is also possible to sell power back to the grid but to do this you must have some form of power generation equipment. Most commonly this takes the form of a solar or wind system. For each kWh of power you produce you are paid a certain rate. By combining this with energy savings you could make up to £695 a year. Your registered solar installer should be able to do the connection work for you, applying to the DNO, providing an Energy Performance Certificate and making any upgrades that are needed.

Updated on 24 Jan, 2022

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