What is NERS - The National Electricity Registration Scheme?
All Independent Connection Providers (ICPs) have to be accredited under the National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS)
NERS was implemented to standardise and regulate electrical distribution in the UK, setting specific requirements, scopes and responsibilities that Independent Connection Providers (ICPs) must adhere to when carrying out work on electricity networks on behalf of their clients. Vattenfall is one of the leading Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNO) in the UK, which designs, builds, owns and maintains electrical networks. As an Ofgem registered IDNO, Vattenfall works with NERS Accredited ICPs to deliver new and upgraded grid connections and electrical networks.
What is NERS?
The National Electricity Registration Scheme, commonly referred to as NERS, is recognised in the UK by all Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) and was founded as part of an initiative that looks to introduce competition to the electrical service market. Its goal is to assess the technical proficiency of electrical providers to design, project manage and undertake electrical connections.
In order to carry out such work, anybody wishing to do so has to be accredited under the scheme.
The Evolution of NERS
The National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS) was established to spur competition and maintain high-quality service in the UK's electrical service industry. Initially, NERS faced the challenge of proving its value within a market dominated by long standing players. To achieve this, it set strict standards for Independent Connection Providers (ICPs), offering them a chance to stand out through their demonstrated technical skills.
Over time, NERS adjusted its framework to adapt to changing market dynamics and technological progress. Each revision aimed to align the industry with global best practices and local operational needs, fostering a competitive and skill-driven environment.
A significant milestone in NERS's evolution was assigning the accreditation process to LRQA, an independent business of Lloyd's Register. This move amplified the process's credibility and acceptance within the industry. The introduction of accreditation enabled ICPs to compete in the contestable connections market, attracting more proficient ICPs to the industry.
Today, NERS is recognised by all UK's Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) and Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNOs), reflecting its vital role in ensuring technical proficiency and maintaining high standards. As NERS continues to adapt to future changes, it remains dedicated to advancing the sector while fostering a competitive, skilled, and quality-oriented electrical service market.
NERS Lloyds register
All Independent Connection Providers (ICPs) have to be accredited under the National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS) which is operated by Lloyds Register on behalf of the UK Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). The NERS accreditation lists both the location coverage and the scope of works an ICP can carry out at the different voltages.
Llodys Register has now established an independent business named LRQA, which manages NERS accreditation. See the LRQA website.
Without NERS accreditation, an ICP cannot have ICP status – it would simply be an electrical contractor.
NERS accredited ICPs can compete for work within the contestable connections market. When awarding contracts to registered NERS providers, the developer, who is usually the client organisation, can be confident that once the work has been completed, an IDNO or the local DNO will adopt the connection for the remainder of its lifetime. All contractors who wish to undertake any part of the contestable connections process including project management, design, cable installation etc require NERS accreditation.
Accreditation is subject to a number of checks, requirements and monitoring, but it also crucially requires a certificate among other documentation that identifies the contractor is compliant with the scheme.
What is a NERS Accreditation Certificate?
An NERS Accreditation Certificate is a certificate awarded to an ICP by the NERS Accreditation Body which details the scope(s) of works which the ICP may perform under the Scheme.
What is a NERS passport?
A NERS Passport is a document that is issued by the NERS Accreditation Body to an individual at an ICP to authenticate their identification and provide a general record of their training, competence, inductions, reviews, audits and work histories.
An ICP can only operate within the scope that its accreditation specifies: This means that they shall observe any capacity, size or geographical limitations along with any other constraints that apply to their accreditation.
There are three main categories of scopes for NERS accreditation:
- Project management
When working alongside an ICP, Vattenfall is required to employ a provider that is fully accredited for the scopes of the specific project, which ensures they have the required expertise and that the network will meet the requirements for adoption.
NERS registered contractors
You can find a list of NERS accredited contractors (ICPs) on the LRQA website. Depending on their scope, ICPs can carry out work such as designing new connections, digging and filling trenches, and installing electrical switches and transformers.
NERS accreditation requirements
Any electrical contractor wishing to carry out this work within the contestable market, as defined by OFGEM, must be accredited under NERS. (See examples of contestable works). To become NERS accredited an ICP must demonstrate it meets the general competency requirements of the scheme by ensuring that the personnel responsible for design, project management, construction, testing and commissioning, and auditing activities are competent to do so, and meet both the general and role competency specific requirements. See the full details of NERS accreditation requirements.
NERS accreditation costs
The cost of NERS accreditation varies depending on the category and scope of accreditation requested and the size of the company. In general terms it can be as low as £5k for ICPs requesting just Design or Project Management up to £15k plus for ICPs requesting all scopes up to 132kV. Quotations are based on the assumption that, when the assessment is done, the ICP will have all the necessary processes and procedures in place. If the Assessor finds that this is not the case and has to make additional visits then the ICP will be charged for the additional costs.
Vattenfall IDNO works alongside NERS accredited ICPs
By collaborating with NERS accredited ICPs Vattenfall IDNO only adopts assets, which have been designed to the rigorous technical, social and practical requirements that are required by NERS. When awarding contracts to Vattenfall IDNO, project developers can be confident that the work will be completed by a NERS accredited ICP with all the necessary scopes, and that Vattenfall IDNO will therefore be able to adopt the connection for the remainder of its lifetime.