What is an ICP (Independent Connection Provider)?

An Independent Connection Provider (ICP) is a company operating under NERS accreditation (the National Electricity Registration Scheme) that executes works on behalf of clients on the electricity networks.

ICPs can only operate in accordance to the extent that their accreditation specifies. They cannot take work greater than their stated NERS certification. Vattenfall IDNO only employs Independent Connections Providers that are fully qualified for any specific project. (Read more about NERS accreditation).

Who can use an Independent Connection Provider?

Any UK businesses that require a new connection to the electricity grid can use an Independent Connection Provider (ICP) for part of the work.

New and upgraded connections to the UK electricity grid involve two types of works: contestable and non-contestable works. Contestable works are activities that can be undertaken by an accredited Independent Connection Provider (ICP) or a Distribution Network Operator (DNO) encompassing a variety of activities, such as electrical design, cable laying and jointing, substation installation and civil works. Non-contestable works, on the other hand, can only be undertaken by DNOs.

ICPs are usually employed alongside an Independent Distribution Network Operator (IDNO), either directly by the end client, or via the IDNO on behalf of the end client, and the ICP/IDNO carry out the contestable works together as part of a new, or upgraded grid connection.

Read about the contestable and non contestable works that can be carried out by Independent Connection Providers.

When to use an Independent Connection Provider?

If a business selects an Independent Distribution Network Operator (IDNO) to provide their new or upgraded grid connection the IDNO will usually appoint, or recommend an ICP to complete the contestable works. Using a ICP/IDNO combination to deliver a grid connection can have many benefits including:

  • Greater flexibility
  • Cost efficiency
  • Greater choice of providers

How long will a grid connection take using Independent Connection Providers?

Working timelines will vary depending on the ICP chosen, the service requested, and on the size and location of the grid connection, and whether it involves a low or high voltage connection. Any grid connection will involve the DNO for the non-contestable works; however, if an ICP conducts the contestable works, which can sometimes be a large proportion of a project, grid connections are typically delivered faster than they are via local DNOs.

Vattenfall and Independent Connection Providers

Vattenfall works in partnership with ICPs by providing asset adoption offers that help win projects. Vattenfall IDNO provides strong commercial offers, which help reduce risks for ICP's clients, and provide greater flexibility and support than working with DNOs. Read more about the benefits an Independent Connection Provider can gain from working with Vattenfall IDNO.

Vattenfall is a leading Independent Distribution Network Operator, regulated by Ofgem. Vattenfall IDNO designs, builds, owns, operates, and maintains electrical networks across England, Scotland and Wales.

Vattenfall IDNO is owned by the Swedish company Vattenfall AB, one of Europe’s biggest retailers of electricity and heat and one of the largest producers of electricity. Vattenfall has been in business for more than 100 years and has a long history in the power sector. Our goal is to enable fossil-free living within one generation.

See also

Updated White Paper explains Independent Distribution Network Operators

Our new white paper provides critical insights into the role and benefits of Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNOs).

Read the full article

Value engineering for large electrical grid connections

One of the key features of Vattenfall IDNO's approach is our emphasis on ‘value engineering’ – but what exactly is it and how does it work?

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Electrifying UK Businesses

Suzanna Lashford explains Vattenfall IDNO's Role in Accelerating the Transition to Net Zero.

Read the full article