Contestable and Non Contestable Works

Contestable and Non-Contestable Works explained

All you need to know about the two elements to any new or upgraded grid connection known as contestable works and non-contestable works.

There are two primary elements to any new or upgraded grid connection, which are known as ‘contestable works’ and ‘non-contestable works’:

  • Contestable works are the elements of the connection work which can be undertaken by an Independent Connection Provider (ICP) or Independent Distribution Network Operator (IDNO).
  • Non-contestable works are the elements of the connection work which must be completed by the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) or their appointed agents (ICPs).

Non-contestable works typically include the elements of the connection which interface with the DNO’s network. For example, determining the point of connection to the distribution system, designing ‘upstream’ grid reinforcement works associated with a new connection, and commissioning and connecting new assets to the distribution system are all non-contestable works, which must be completed by the DNO, or their appointed agents.

The other elements of a new or upgraded grid connection, such as the design of grid extensions and associated assets, the procurement of materials, negotiations of land rights with third party landowners, trench digging, excavation and duct installation, on private sites, or on public highway and the construction of substation buildings, cable-laying and other on-site civil works are all examples of contestable works, which can be completed by an ICP on behalf of either a DNO or an IDNO.

Contestable vs non-contestable works

When you apply for a new or upgraded grid connection you have a choice on who delivers the project and who owns the electrical network once it is constructed. The choices are:

  1. You work with the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO) in your region who will construct and own the connection after it is built – although very often the DNO will sub-contract the work to a NERS accredited ICP
  2. You work with an Independent Network Operator (IDNO) who will construct and own the connection after it is built and liaise with the local DNO to complete the elements of the connection which must be completed by the DNO or their appointed agents. IDNOs can also sub-contract work to NERS accredited ICPs.

Examples of Contestable and Non-Contestable Work

To illustrate the distinction between these types of works more clearly, here are a few examples of contestable and non-contestable works:

  Contestable work Non-contestable work
  Acquire materials for the work Administration costs associated with network adoption
  Cable Jointing Adoption of equipment
  Cable Laying Checking and testing any Contestable Works
  Civil Works Design approval of the network
  Connection to the Distribution System (LV only) Detecting the Point of Connection
  Design of Distribution Networks and extension assets For larger HV and EHV jobs, the final testing and connection to the electricity network
  Duct Installation Legal Consents
  Extension Asset Testing Maintenance and repair of electrical equipment
  Negotiations with landowners Network Reinforcement
  Project Management Project Management 
Processing customer’s applications
  Trench excavation  
  Substation Installation  

Boundaries between the Contestable and Non-Contestable Works

There are no set boundaries between contestable works and non-contestable works, they will differ from job-to-job. The boundary between where the contestable works end and the non-contestable works start is often where work must be executed on the existing DNO distribution network.

Working with Vattenfall IDNO

Working with Vattenfall provides clients with a secure partner with a long term view on asset ownership.

Vattenfall IDNO is owned by the Swedish company Vattenfall AB, one of Europe’s biggest retailers of electricity and one of the largest producers of electricity.

By choosing Vattenfall IDNO, you are partnering with an experienced, agile UK team with the financial backing and stability of a major European energy company.

Whether you’re dealing with contestable works or seeking to understand non-contestable works meaning, Vattenfall is here to guide you seamlessly through your grid connection journey.


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