About Innovation

We innovate in order to make our service more reliable, more affordable, cleaner and safer. We committed to over £141 million of savings to our customers through innovation in our RIIO-ED1 business plan, and we are on track to deliver those savings in the period. Innovation provides us the flexibility to respond better, faster, or more cost-efficiently to the changing requirements of our customers.

How everyone benefits from Innovation

While we are committed to enabling low carbon technologies like electric vehicles, we will never lose sight of the fact that our primary responsibility is to keep the lights on. Our focus extends beyond technical projects, we are also exploring how we can deliver social benefits to our most vulnerable customers.

Innovation Strategy

Our refreshed innovation strategy comes at a time when the opportunities and the challenges facing electricity distribution have never been greater. Our strategy sets out why we innovate, how we develop and deliver our innovation programme, how we ensure that innovation delivers value to all our stakeholders, and the innovation outcomes which customers will see delivered during the RIIO-ED1 price control period.

Funding Innovation Projects

Because we’re ultimately spending our customers’ money on innovation, we have a duty to make sure we’re only spending it on projects that are going to deliver real, tangible benefits to them.

Most of our funding for innovation comes from two different sources – the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) or Network Innovation Competition (NIC).

Our regulator Ofgem sets the Network Innovation Allowance as a percentage of our overall turnover. The purpose of the NIA is to fund smaller projects worth from about £50,000 to £2m.

Compared to the Network Innovation Allowance, the Network Innovation Competition is a competitive bidding process focussed on funding larger scale and more complex, innovative projects.

Working together

We work closely with many other organisations that are supporting the development of the energy industry through innovation. We are committed to sharing the collective learning from these activities. Click the links to find out more about other oganisations in our industry: