Generating electricity: notifying your distribution network operator (DNO)

Distribution network operators (DNOs) manage the distribution of electricity around the country. They own and operate the wires that carry electricity from the grid into your home. 

If you have generation equipment like solar panels installed at your home, your DNO usually needs to be notified about the installation. And you can't sign up for Export Payments with Bulb until your DNO has been notified.

Here, we'll explain:

 

Finding out who your DNO is

Different DNOs are responsible for different areas of the UK. You can look up your DNO using your postcode, or check the map and table below

DNO-map.png

 

Area

DNO

1. North Scotland

SSE

2. South and central Scotland

SP Energy Networks

3. North West England

Electricity North West

4. North East England and Yorkshire

Northern Powergrid

5. North Wales, Merseyside and Cheshire

SP Energy Networks

6. East Midlands, West Midlands, South Wales and South West England

Western Power Distribution

7. East England, London and South East England

UK Power Networks

8. Southern England

SSE

 

When your DNO needs to be notified about generation equipment

If you install generation equipment like solar panels at your home, and the equipment is connected to the grid, your DNO must be notified. This is because they need to know if you’re putting electricity onto the grid, so they can manage their networks efficiently.

Most installations are connected to the grid.

The installer that sets up your generation equipment will usually notify your DNO about the installation. They’ll send some information to the DNO, including the commissioning paperwork. 

Your installer should notify the DNO within 28 days of your installation being commissioned - that’s when it’s inspected and tested to make sure it’s working safely before it starts generating power. 

Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan, and your DNO might not be notified about your installation. If this happens, you’ll need to ask your installer to notify your DNO.

You can’t sign up for Bulb’s Export Payments until your DNO has been notified

For Bulb to be able to pay you for your exported energy, we need to set up an export Meter Point Administration Number (MPAN) - this is a unique number that’s assigned to a property so the DNO knows about the electricity being generated there. We can’t do this if your DNO hasn’t been notified about your installation.

How to check if your DNO has been notified

If you’re not sure if your DNO has been notified, you can ask your installer. 

Your installer will usually get a letter from your DNO to confirm that they’ve been notified about the installation. And sometimes, the installer will send you a copy of this letter.

If your installation has previously had export payments from another supplier, your DNO will have been notified already, so you're good to go.

If your DNO hasn't been notified about your installation

Your installer might not have notified the DNO about your installation, or there might be a problem with the commissioning paperwork.

If this happens, you'll need to ask your installer to send the commissioning paperwork to the DNO, or fix the problem with the original paperwork and resend it.

When your installer has confirmed the DNO has been notified about your installation, you can sign up for our Export Payments

If you’ve already signed up but we told you there was a problem with the commissioning paperwork, just reply to our email to tell us when you've sent the updated paperwork to the DNO. Then we’ll try to process your application again.

We've got some extra advice if your DNO is Northern Powergrid or Western Power.

If your installer has gone out of business

If the installer that fitted your generation equipment has stopped trading and they haven’t notified your DNO of the installation, you’ll need to contact the DNO directly. They should have a process for approving your connection, even if your installer has gone out of business.

If your DNO is Northern Powergrid

After you’ve signed up for Export Payments, we might email you to ask for a reference number from Northern Powergrid. Your DNO sometimes asks us for this number, so they can check they’ve got the right paperwork for your installation.

Your installer should be able to give you this reference number. It will be on the letter Northern Powergrid will have sent them to confirm they’ve been notified of the installation. It will start with either ENQ or NC. 

If your DNO is Western Power

When your installer notifies Western Power about your installation, they’ll send your installer a small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) letter to confirm they’ve been notified.

If your installer hasn’t got this letter, you’ll need to ask them to complete an installation commissioning form, send it to Western Power and respond to any questions Western Power has. They'll then give your installer an SSEG letter confirming they’ve been notified. 

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