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Supporting electric dreams: How National Grid is evolving to meet new connections demand

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The priorities and expectations of our customers have changed quite dramatically in the past few years. While, traditionally, our customer base was made up of large, recognisable energy supply companies and established distribution networks, a new generation has quickly emerged.

Driven by Britain’s shift towards renewable energy, these customers are looking to connect new types of infrastructure to our transmission network. There are those developing smaller-scale renewable generation and storage, people investing in interconnectors with mainland Europe and, most recently, those preparing the way for the expected rise in electric vehicles on our roads.

New customers arrive with new expectations. Where long-established customers understood our long and complicated connection process, emerging customers have a need for speed.

They want to be connected fast, so they can get their product and infrastructure up and running more quickly – and start making money for their businesses and investors. What’s more, they’re looking for connections that are more bespoke than before. In an increasingly cost-competitive industry, price is a big factor too.

What’s clear is that moving away from a traditional customer base that knew us very well, to one with less knowledge of our industry – and distinct new needs – brings with it new challenges.

Adapting for the future

Satisfying customers in this changing landscape requires us to be flexible, collaborative and innovative.

It’s all about moving to a world where we give customers more control over the connection process - and where it’s simple and convenient for them to find information that helps them navigate our complex industry and its procedures.

To achieve these goals, we’re developing innovative new tools and systems. Through our new website, we’re providing more information and transparency than ever before. We’re aiming, too, to build new digital solutions that let customers quickly test the feasibility of their projects without having to commit valuable time to talking to us at such an early stage.

As we move forward, there are lots of opportunities for web-based technology to grow. I’d like to see a future world where connections perhaps become a fully digital process, delivering ultimate customer convenience.

Supporting electric dreams

Looking ahead, I expect customers’ expectations to continue along the same path. In order to satisfy them, we’ll continue to deliver the engineering excellence we’re trusted and respected for, while remaining open to change. By being more transparent and providing tools that help customers play a proactive part in the connections process, we can continue to support all our customers’ electric dreams.

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Hedd Roberts Head of customer solutions, National Grid Electricity Transmission

Hedd Roberts is head of customer solutions at National Grid Electricity Transmission.

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