Power and gas networks

Our consultancy team has a detailed understanding of existing power and gas networks and their future direction, ranging from network company business models to generation and demand connection arrangements and corresponding ongoing network charges. We are able to utilise this expertise to support:

  • Incumbent network companies with business planning, future-proofing and innovation, including flexibility procurement
  • Independent and private network companies with market entry, growth and regulatory challenges
  • Generation operators connected to and developers seeking connection to the networks, helping them to understand the impact of network costs and benefits on their cost and revenue stacks
  • Demand users, helping them to understand their current and likely future network costs
  • Suppliers in developing tariff offerings for their customers

Case study

DNO Flexibility Services Revenue Stacking

Western Power Distribution | January – March 2020

Western Power Distribution (WPD) is the electricity distribution network operator (DNO) for the Midlands, South Wales and the South West. Over recent years, both WPD and all other DNOs have begun procuring flexibility from customers connected to the electricity network to avoid the need to undertake physical network upgrades. An emerging issue for both providers and procurers of flexibility is the ability of flexibility providers to provide multiple services (so-called “revenue stacking”) either simultaneously or at different times within a given day.

Cornwall Insight was engaged to undertake an assessment of the regulatory and commercial viability of a flexibility provider using its assets to provide services to both WPD and the national Electricity System Operator (ESO) and to identify unnecessary barriers to revenue stacking which WPD could seek to resolve.

The Cornwall Insight team analysed all flexibility services procured by the ESO and WPD both under current arrangements and expected future developments. We then considered the ability of a single provider to provide any pair of services, both within the same half-hour time period and in other time periods within the same day. Finally, we used a series of case studies to determine likely commercial strategies for revenue stacking to help WPD understand when provision of its services is likely to form an element of a flexibility providers strategy, and in circumstances where this is not the case to understand why other services are more favourable.

It was a successful project, with the report published on their website and used as a resource for further development of DNO flexibility services under the Open Networks project.

Case study

Assessment of gas shipping options for new entrant suppliers

Confidential | March – April 2020

The Cornwall Insight team was engaged to undertake a review of the different options open to gas suppliers entering into the GB market to fulfil their gas shipping requirements.

As part of the project Cornwall Insight identified the routes open for gas shipping, including outsourcing to specialist providers, taking the activities in-house, and specialist IT solutions. For each of these, qualitative and quantitative analysis was conducted, including on the regulatory obligations, internal resource requirements, and external costs. These were used to undertake an assessment of the costs of the different options, including at set-up and on an ongoing basis, in order to provide analysis of which option was more suitable at market entry and at what point economies of scale supported a move to in-house delivery.

This project was delivered using Cornwall Insight’s understanding of the regulatory and operational requirements of gas shipping, the level of gas network charges, market-entry costs, and gas operational processes. Additionally, Cornwall Insight used its extensive stakeholder relationships to validate assumptions with relevant industry parties. Finally, a knowledge transfer workshop was used to ensure understanding and delivery of insight.