In the UK, the gas and electricity networks are nationwide. Despite recent advances in off-grid energy solutions, connecting to the grid is still typically the cheapest and most reliable way to supply energy to a new property.
This guide provides an overview of how to get a new business property supplied with gas and electricity.
What are new business energy connections?
Business energy connections come in two forms. Let’s look at each:
New business gas connection
Most areas in the UK have natural gas pipeline infrastructure provided by either a regional gas distribution network or an independent gas transporter. These operators maintain a gas pipeline network that connects all properties in the area to the national gas infrastructure.
A new gas connection will lay a pipe from the existing gas network to your building property. A gas meter will be installed to measure the volumes of gas your property uses.
New business electricity connection
The electricity distribution network is divided into regions with individual distribution network operators (DNOs). The DNOs connect all properties in an area to the national grid.
Your DNO will connect your property to their network with a new business electricity connection. A high-voltage cable will enter your new property to supply electricity. Where your line enters your property, an electricity meter will measure the power extracted from the grid.
What’s the process for new business energy connections?
Business energy connections come in many shapes and sizes, but here’s a summary of the steps required to connect a new property to an electricity and/or gas connection:
1. Understand your business energy needs.
Different properties have different energy requirements. Here are several questions you should consider carefully before going ahead and arranging a business energy connection:
- Do you actually need a gas supply? Gas boilers are gradually being phased out by alternative heating solutions like heat pumps and biomass boilers, which don’t require a natural gas supply.
- Are you planning to generate your own renewable electricity? It’s worth considering in advance if you plan to generate renewable business energy at your property. This decision will affect the type of meter you have installed and the capacity of your new business connection.
- What is the required capacity of your business energy connection? Understanding how much electricity or gas you expect your property to use is essential. A business energy connection will have a maximum supply capacity determined by the size of the pipe/wires. It’s crucial to get this right the first time.
2. Get permission from the local DNO/Gas distribution network operator.
Once you’ve figured out what your business needs, it’s time to contact the relevant network operator.
Helpfully, Energy Networks provides a postcode lookup service for both electricity and gas:
Once your network operator accepts your request, they’ll provide you with an MPAN/MPRN number. These unique codes allow the network to identify the supply point to your new property.
3. Engage with a business connection consultancy for the network connection.
The next step is the complicated one – arranging for the new pipes and wires to connect your new commercial property to the existing network. The physical connection involves the following steps:
- A technical design and Utility Risk Assessment that meets the relevant technical standards.
- Create a coherent strategy for all your utility connections, including business broadband and business water.
- The local network operator will need to quote for connection to the boundary of the property in accordance with their connection charging methodology.
- Identify and procure local utility companies with the necessary expertise to carry out the work on your property.
- Negotiate issues with leases, way-leaves and easements.
- Project management to ensure all the different parties involved are working together effectively.
Most big business energy suppliers offer a business connection service, but we don’t necessarily recommend this.
New business connection consultancy can combine the work necessary for all types of utilities and provide a great independent view of the connections market.
The AquaSwitch recommendation is to use utility consultants Premier Energy who specialise in utility infrastructure strategies and reporting.
4. Meter installations and your new supplier
Once your new property is connected to the grid, it’s time to choose your energy supplier.
The business energy market is deregulated, and there are over 50 different suppliers to choose from. We recommend using our energy comparison services to find the cheapest energy tariffs for your new property. Start here:
Once you’ve chosen a new business energy supplier, they will install an energy meter that will start to record the electricity and gas used at your property.
You’ll soon start receiving bills from your new supplier.