Our Low Voltage Design Standard
The Independent Networks Association’s low voltage design standard for electricity networks for new housing developments
Members of the Independent Networks Association (INA) connect 70-80% of new homes to the energy networks. It has developed a new standard for connecting new homes to the electricity network. This takes into account gains in energy efficiency and how new technologies, such as heat pumps and electric vehicles (EVs), can be accommodated in the future.
The standard guides those designing electricity networks for new housing developments as to how to size electricity networks using the latest understanding of how different households are using electricity at different times of the day and year.
The INA team also used available research and data usage from heat pump manufacturers and installers, as well as usage data from EV manufacturers and charging information, to understand what level of connection would also accommodate these technologies. The guidance, looking at the housing development as a whole, assesses what the maximum demand would be after usage patterns are taken into account. This measure of ‘After Diversity Maximum Demand’ ensures that the network is sized appropriately, meeting the needs of customers of our networks. Looking at networks in a flexible way aligns with Ofgem’s priorities to ensure consumers do not end up over-paying for energy networks in the future and that electricity is shared flexibly and efficiently.
The INA’s approach is different to that of some other network companies, who are promoting a so-called ‘three-phase’ connection. The three-phase approach can allow fast charging for electric vehicles (EVs). However, given the increases in range of EVs, up-to-date information on how households are using their vehicles and the adoption of time of use tariffs, this overstates the connection needs for most new homes.
The standard sets guidance on the connection levels for various sized homes. This creates two levels of connections. The first is for baseload electricity in homes plus EV charging. This would be the minimum connection level as the work the INA has done has shown that EV charging can be accommodated in new homes once the diversity of usage within a new housing estate is taken into account. If the home also has a heat pump, there is a higher connection required, again set out in the standard and will vary according to house size.
As INA members operate across Great Britain, this provides certainty for developers and our network customers that their connection will meet their needs. By using this standard, the clear direction of the UK and Scottish Government’s heat and transport policies for new homes can be accommodated in their electricity connections.
It is important that we adapt this standard over time, as new data emerges or policy changes on insulation levels and heat. The INA will therefore review this standard annually.