Western Power Distribution (WPD) has pledged to ensure domestic customers can connect low carbon technologies when and where they want.
The connectability pledge is one of four key priorities outlined in the network operators Business Plan, which shows how it is planning to invest £6.7 billion over the next price period.
It comes as WPD releases new data showing the progress made connecting low carbon technologies such as heat pumps and electric vehicle (EV) chargers across its network.
To date, over 58,000 EV chargers have been installed with the East Midlands region leading the way on 22,876. The West Midlands has 19,042 EV chargers, the South West 10,163 and South Wales 6,335.
WPD is predicting an extra 1.5 million EVs will be added to its network by 2028, meaning it will have to cater to over 2 million EVs, supported by an estimated 1.1 million EV chargers by the end of the price period.
Currently, there are nearly 11,000 heat pumps on the DNO’s network, which is set to increase significantly between 2023 and 2028 with an additional 628,204 expected to be connected.
The launch of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme earlier this year has provided a boost to heat pump installation rates, as the technology is increasingly looked to to help decarbonise domestic heating and – in light of the high gas prices – save consumers money.
Additionally, there is 5.6GW of renewable generation installed on WPD’s network.
To ease the uptake of low carbon technologies, the DNO is looking to innovation and digitalisation to meet demand. For example, its latest EV innovation project Take Charge is increasing capacity at motorway service stations to allow them to support up to 80 rapid chargers.
In 2021, it also introduced a new streamlined system for processing and completing domestic technology connections. This allows the majority of connection requests to be approved on the same or next day.
“The current price control period has seen over seven years of innovating and scaling up of technologies to support the transition to low carbon technologies,” said Paul Jewell, WPD’s system development manager.
“At the same time, we have seen a learning curve for consumers as they have bought into the new ways of driving and heating their homes. Over the next price control period we are planning for a rapid increase in demand for EVs and heat pumps and we are planning to make their installation quicker and easier. It is vital that we are building a network and putting in the supporting customer service operations that will help smooth the switchover to LCTs.”