15 May 2023

North West Utility

Flexible services - the tender process

Electricity North West is the distribution network operator for the North West of England and we supply electricity to more than 5 million customers across the North West. As a distribution network operator, we are responsible for the safe and reliable delivery of electricity to homes and businesses within our area. To help achieve this, we rely on a range of flexible services that allow us to manage the electricity network more efficiently and effectively. In this blog post, Lois Clark, DSO commercial lead at Electricity North West, will discuss the flexible services tender process and how interested parties can get involved.

Manchester city centre

What are flexible services?

Flexible services are services that help us to manage the electricity network more efficiently and cost-effectively. These services allow us to balance the supply and demand of electricity on our network, ensuring that electricity is always available when it is needed and allow us to avoid costly and time-consuming reinforcement on the network.

Who can take part in flexible services?

Flexible Services can be provided by companies or individual customers known as Distributed Energy Resources (DERs). These DERs can be generators, consumers, and electricity storage connected to our networks that can generate more or consume less electricity when instructed.

To provide Flexible Services to the network and receive payment, did we mention that we pay flexibility providers? You will need to be an existing metered customer or be interested in building a new flexible asset within an area we have a requirement. You also need to be capable of adjusting how much electricity you consume or generate and be able to provide a minimum of 50kW of flexible capacity either individually or via an aggregator. An aggregator is where you combine loads from multiple customers to provide flexible services.

Examples of flexible services we look for are:

  • Sustain (Scheduled) – Where Distributed Energy Resources adjust their electricity consumption to help manage network constraints by providing additional capacity and capability
  • Secure (Pre-fault) - At peak times helps to manage the load on the networks and prevent it from exceeding its capabilities
  • Dynamic (Post-fault) - Keeps the power flowing during an unplanned network event
  • Restore (Post-fault) - Provides an immediate response to help us restore supplies for customers more quickly following an unplanned network event


Why is Electricity North West tendering for flexible services?

At times of peak demand, we may require customers to increase generation or reduce demand to help keep our network within safe operating limits. Reinforcement can be extremely costly, and take several years, so flexibility is key for us to harness the new pool of low carbon technologies and flexible customers to help manage the projected steep increase in demand in the next decade. This is why we issue flexible services tenders twice a year in Spring and Autumn to help manage constraints on the local energy grid.

How can interested parties get involved in Electricity North West’s Spring 2023 tender?

Our Spring 2023 tender asks flexibility providers for 1097MW of flexible capacity in 32 locations across our region over the next five years with over £1m worth of revenue available for the provision of these services. You can find all the details of our current tender on our Flexible Services latest requirements webpage and on PicloFlex’s website. If you are interested in taking part, here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Register your interest

The first step is to register your interest in providing flexible services.  You can do this by visiting PicloFlex’s website and registering on the Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) by Friday 16 June 2023. Once registered, you can then upload your assets.

  1. Complete the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)

If your assets sit within one of our requirement zones, you can then complete the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) which relates to the technical details of the site and capability for delivery. A new PQQ is required for each tender round and must be submitted by Friday 23 June 2023.

  1. Moving forward

At this stage, you’ll have the opportunity to confirm participation or withdraw from competition.

  1. Submit a bid

We evaluate all bids submitted in response to the tender process. This evaluation process will assess each bid against the evaluation criteria outlined in the tender documentation. If your bid is successful, you will be invited to enter into a contract with Electricity North West for the provision of flexible services.

In conclusion, our flexible services tender process provides a competitive opportunity for interested parties to provide services that help us to manage the electricity network more efficiently and cost-effectively. By following the steps outlined above, parties can get involved in the tender process and potentially win a contract to provide flexible services.

There is a wealth of content available on our website to help interested parties - head over to http://www.enwl.co.uk/flexible-services. For any questions or if you would like to arrange a call with the team email us at flexible.contracts@enwl.co.uk.