Delivering value to customers

Innovation has been at the forefront of our performance in RIIO ED1. We have delivered forward thinking projects, developed an ecosystem with suppliers, technology providers and stakeholders to develop new ideas and test them. Most importantly, we have rolled out successful innovations on our network to ensure we continue to meet the requirements of our customers.

Our innovations deployed in ED1 have helped us manage the network in a more efficient, reactive and flexible manner, whilst reducing carbon emissions and costs. In total we expect to have saved over £88 million by the end of ED1 from NIA supported innovation, ensuring we continue to deliver value to our customers.

Innovation Benefit (R110-ED1)

How we measure benefits

All of our innovation projects undergo extensive Cost Benefit Analysis to confirm they deliver successful outcomes for customers and are aligned to areas that customers value the most. When a project is deployed into the business, we actively track both quantitative and qualitative benefits to demonstrate that the innovation investment is delivering value for money. Outcomes of innovation deployments are reported and published annually in our E6 table and Environment Report.

Download the report here

Benefits of innovation in ED1

£32m efficiency benefits from
innovation deployment

£56m avoided capex through the
use of ANM schemes

390,000 customer
interruptions avoided

56,700,000 minutes loss
of supply avoided

354,000 tonnes of carbon
emissions avoided

470MW of flexibility
services available

Our deployed innovations[SA1] [SA2]  include:

Live Line Tree Felling

This method uses a tree harvesting machine which can fell trees within falling distance of overhead lines without the need for a planned outage. This avoids customer losing supply during tree cutting activities and prevents the need for temporary generation. It is also safer and faster than traditional manual felling techniques.

Focus Area: Deliver a safe, resilient and responsive network

LV Automation

This is a form of smart fuse technology which can automatically replace LV fuses when one has blown, meaning customers do not experience extended loss of supply. In addition to auto fuse replacement, LV automation can locate the position of transient faults on a cable, allowing preventative repairs to be scheduled before damage turns into a full-blown fault.

Focus Areas: Deliver a safe, resilient and responsive network

Hybrid Generators

Hybrid generators are temporary mobile generators that combine a diesel generator and battery storage system. This setup is more effective than using a diesel generator alone as the battery storage system allows the hybrid generators to run at optimum loading levels, reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions. There is also significant noise reduction and improved air quality for customers.

Focus Areas: Accelerate progress towards a net zero world

Remotely Operated Forestry Mulchers

The forestry mulcher is a remotely operated machine which can clear vegetation from around overhead lines. The machines are more effective than clearing the equivalent location by hand with chainsaws and chippers and can tackle hard to reach areas such as 45-degree banks. As the mulchers are operated remotely, they also offer a safer option for removing vegetation around overhead lines.

Focus Areas: Deliver a safe, resilient and responsive network


Light Detecting Aerial Radar (LiDAR) technology uses airborne laser scanning techniques to produce 3D surveys of the network. This data can be used to inform tree cutting and maintenance works by determining power lines and assets at risk of tree or vegetation interference. The aerial laser scanning system is much faster than foot-patrolled line inspections and allows inaccessible areas to be monitored more effectively.

Focus Areas: Deliver a safe, resilient and responsive network

Thermal Imaging Cameras for LV fault location

Thermal Imaging Cameras assist in the location of LV underground faults by detecting heat emitted from damaged cables. This helps to effectively pinpoint the fault, reducing the time that customers are off supply and the number of excavations required to restore supply.

Focus Areas: Deliver a safe, resilient and responsive network

Constraint Managed Zones (CMZ)

These are small scale operations that offer security to constrained areas of the network via local generation, demand side response, energy storage and stand-by generators. CMZ schemes are generally temporary and deployed to cover periods of planned maintenance, fault conditions or increased demand. The schemes mean the use of diesel generators or network reinforcements can be minimised, saving operational costs and reducing carbon emissions.

Focus Areas: Accelerate progress towards a net zero world

Active Network Management (ANM)

This applies to areas of the network where there are several complex constraints affecting a number of customers over a period of time. The ANM solution monitors limits in real time, providing the maximum amount of capacity available to generation without overloading the network. This means generators can connect to the network ahead of reinforcement, increasing the amount of renewable energy available to customers.

Focus Areas: Accelerate progress towards a net zero world

LV Underground Fault Location Technologies

LV Underground Fault Location Technologies (LV-UFLT) is a new innovation deployment for 2021/22. It combines off-the-shelf LV underground fault locating tools with defined methodologies and processes to more effectively pinpoint underground cable faults. Improving restoration times, reducing excavations and minimising the number of staff on site for investigation works.

Focus Area: Deliver a safe, resilient and responsive network

Phase Identification Units to assist in underground fault location

This is a new innovation deployment for 2021/22 which uses devices that can determine which phase a customer is on and whether they are on or off supply without having to enter the property. This means that fault location and restoration investigations can be progressed when we cannot gain access to a property at night or when customers are not at home.

Focus Area: Deliver a safe, resilient and responsive network