How to connect to the electricity supply?

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If you’re building a new home, or developing a building that wasn’t previously connected to the grid, you may need a new energy supply. In order to get your property connected to the electricity supply, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps.
Last update: November 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.

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The most important step is getting in touch with your Distribution Network Operator, or DNO. They’ll be the ones to install the cables for your connection and ensure your new property is on the grid. You’ll also need to contact your chosen energy supplier to arrange for a meter to be installed and your connection to be activated.

Here, we take a closer look at how to connect to the electricity supply and get your property on the grid.

How do I connect electricity?

If you need to arrange for a new electricity supply, it’s a good idea to get a better understanding of how the UK electricity network operates. Getting to know the difference between a DNO and a supplier will ensure you know exactly who to call to get your property connected as soon as possible.

Different steps to get connected

Connecting your home to the electricity supply may seem a little complicated at first. However, it’s actually fairly straightforward as long as you do things in the right order.

  1. Contact your Distribution Network Operator (DNO)
  2. Provide details of the installation required
  3. Get a quote from your DNO
  4. Prepare the trenches for cables
  5. Pay the installation fee
  6. Arrange for work to be carried out
  7. Choose an energy supplier
  8. Arrange for the supplier to install your electricity meter and activate your connection

When you get in touch with your DNO, you’ll need to provide them with details about the property including how many electricity meters you need, how much power is required (most domestic properties need between 23kVA and 70kVA) and the location of the site.

They will then be able to tell you exactly how to prepare the site for electricity connection and when the work can be carried out. They’ll need to know about access to your site and other information about the project, so make sure you have as many details as possible.

You’ll then need to choose an energy supplier for your property. This is the company that will send you bills and manage your connection. Your supplier is also responsible for installing your electricity meter. As you won’t be able to use your new electricity connection until the meter is installed, selecting a supplier is a very important part of the process.

How is electricity connected to a house?

Electricity is connected to domestic homes via a series of underground and overhead power cables. Electricity travels from energy generations sites – like power plants, solar farms and wind turbines – via this infrastructure to local substations.

When it arrives at local substations, the electricity’s voltage is stepped down in order to make it suitable for domestic use. It’s then fed into our homes via a local distribution network.

At the point the electricity enters your property, you’ll see an energy meter. This measures the amount of electricity your household uses and allows energy companies to calculate your bills.

How much kVA is required for a house UK?

When you get in touch with your DNO, they’ll need to know how much power, or kVA, your property requires. A kVA is a kilo-volt-ampere. Kilo-volt-amperes are a measure of apparent power. A kVA rating describes the total amount of power being used by a system.

As virtually no electricity system is 100% efficient, not all of this power will make it to your sockets. If you want to know exactly how much electricity you’ll get in your new property, you’ll need to calculate the power factor of the system. This is a value between 0 and 1.

The closer to 1 the power factor is, the more efficient the system is. Multiply the kVA by the power factor to get the actual power, or kW, of the system.

However, if you’re just connecting a standing home to the grid, you don’t really need to do these advanced sums. Instead, you just need to know that the vast majority of domestic properties require between 23kVA and 70kVA of apparent power.

How much does it cost to connect to electricity?

You’ll need to pay your DNO to connect your property to the electricity main. The amount you pay will depend on how much work is involved in the connection and how long this work takes.

For example, if your DNO has to access neighbouring properties or close roads in order to connect your home, the cost of the installation will be higher than if they can connect your property directly to the mains.

Getting your quotation

You’ll need to get in touch with your DNO to find out how much the installation will cost. The DNO will calculate the cost of the work using its own connection charging methodology. This methodology has to be published on the DNO’s website and approved by energy industry regulator Ofgem.

Your DNO has to provide you with transparent information on these costs and on the installation process. This should ensure you know exactly what you’re paying for.

New electric meter installation cost UK

As we’ve seen, the cost of connecting to the electricity supply varies according to a number of factors. If you just need to get a single property connected to the grid, and there are no access issues involved in the installation, you should be looking at a cost of between £200 and £800.

However, if you’re developing a number of residential units, or are a long way from the nearest mains connection, the cost could be much higher.

More info

DNOs & National Grid – how do they work?

The UK’s electricity distribution network is made up of a number of elements. Two of the most important are the National Grid and DNOs.

The National Grid

The National Grid is a network of overhead and underground power cableselectricity production that transport electricity across the country. It’s a bit like a motorway system for our energy. Electricity is taken from generation points like power plants, wind farms and solar panels and channelled into the grid where it’s sent all across the UK.

In England and Wales alone, there are around 4,470 miles of overhead cables and 870 miles of underground cables. The electricity that travels through these cables is at 275,000 and 400,000 volts respectively.

When this high-voltage electricity reaches regional sub stations, it’s stepped down to a lower voltage in order to be usable by local homes and businesses. It’s then distributed to local properties via more underground and overhead cables.


Distribution Network Operators, or DNOs, are the companies responsible for the maintenance and upgrading of the National Grid. Each DNO is responsible for their own part of the country. The UK is currently split into 14 geographical areas. These are managed by a number of DNOs.

The table below shows the DNOs currently operating in the UK.

Area (code) Company Emergency No.
North Scotland (17) SSE Power Distribution 0800 300 999
Central and Southern Scotland (18) SP Energy Networks 0800 092 9290
North East England (15) Northern Powergrid 0800 668 877
North West England (16) Electricity North West 0800 195 4141
Yorkshire (23) Northern Powergrid 0800 375 675
Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire (13) SP Energy Networks 0800 001 5400
East Midlands, West Midlands, South Wales & South West England (11, 14, 21, 22) Western Power Distribution 0800 6783 105
Eastern England (10) UK Power Networks 0800 316 3105
Southern England (20) SSE Power Distribution 0800 072 7282
London (12) UK Power Networks 0800 316 3105
South East England (19) UK Power Networks 0800 316 3105
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Electricity 0345 764 3643

If you need to connect to the electricity or gas supply, your local DNO should be your first point of contact. You may also need to get in touch with your DNO if there’s a power cut in your area or if you need to report a problem with the local energy infrastructure.

Alter your electricity supply line

If you’re renovating or extending a property with an existing electricity connection, you may need to alter your supply line in order to fit in with your works.

Again, you’ll need to get in touch with your DNO before you touch any of the cables or infrastructure. They’ll be able to tell you what’s possible and what’s not and give you an idea of the costs involved.

Remember, it’s illegal to try and move your own electricity meter, so make sure you get in touch with your DNO and have them do the work for you.

Temporary builder’s electric supply

In some cases, a builder may install an electricity supply when carrying out work on a property. These connections should be temporary – in most cases, they will be in place for one year – and should be either discontinued or made permanent when work is completed.

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Who is my electricity Distribution Network Operator?

The UK is divided into 14 regions by Distribution Network Operators. If you need to find out which DNO covers your area, you can use the above table or visit the National Grid website and put your postcode into the search tool.

How to reconnect my electricity supply?

If your property has previously been connected to the electricity supply, and your meter and energy infrastructure are still in place, you’ll need to get in touch with your energy supplier to arrange reconnection. This process should be fairly quick and easy. Your supplier should be able to tell you how long it will take when you get in touch.

How to move your energy meter?

If you need to relocate your electricity meter for any reason, you’ll need to get in touch with your energy supplier. Energy companies are normally able to move electricity meters a short distance without charge or inconvenience to your supply. If you need to move your meter further, you may need to contact your DNO, as well as your energy supplier, to arrange for the work to be carried out.

Who are the electricity suppliers?

Electricity suppliers are the companies that sell energy to end users. It’s your energy company that will offer you tariffs and it’s their name you’ll see on your bill. At the moment, there are around 60 energy suppliers operating in the UK.

Updated on 11 Nov, 2022

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