Electricity Distribution Network Operators

At the time of privatisation of the electricity industry there were fourteen Public Electricity Suppliers (PESs) in UK who replaced the old area and Scottish electricity boards.

 

Today, whilst the geographical areas of these former PESs remain unchanged the industry itself is somewhat different and this is discussed in greater detail in Background to the UK Energy Industry.

 

Today, whilst distribution has been separated altogether from supply, the former PES areas are used as the basis of current day distribution areas.

 

Distribution remains a monopoly business and under the Utilities Act 2000 it is now a licensed activity. Whilst this applies throughout the UK , the structure in England and Wales is different than it is in Scotland .

 

In England and Wales, as at 23 April 2007,  there are seven distribution companies operating twelve licensed distribution areas:

 

DNO20 Name Area Company Area ID
East England EDF Energy Networks 10
East Midlands Electricity East Midlands Central Networks 11
London Electricity London EDF Energy Networks 12
Manweb Scottish Power Energy Networks 13
Midlands Electricity West Midlands Central Networks 14
Northern Electric North East England CE Electric (NEDL) 15
Norweb North West United Utilities 16
Scottish Hydro Electric North Scotland Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution 17
Scottish Power South Scotland Scottish Power Energy Networks 18
SEEBOARD South East England EDF Energy Networks 19
Southern Electric Southern England Southern Electric Power Distribution 20
South Wales Electricity South Wales Western Power Distribution 21
South Western Electricity South West England Western Power Distribution 22
Yorkshire Electricity Yorkshire CE Electric (YEDL) 23

 

In Scotland distribution is operated by two vertically integrated energy companies who in addition to operating their respective distribution businesses they are also responsible for generation and transmission throughout the Scotland .

 

Each distribution company holds a separate licence for each area they cover and they are strictly governed by the terms of that licence. They have a statutory duty to connect any customer requiring electricity within their area and to thereafter maintain the supply to them.

 

Distribution companies are now known as DNOs (Distribution Network Operators) and as part of the legislation within the Utilities Act 2000 they have an obligation to be non-discriminatory in all aspects of their business. Additionally, they must maintain an efficient cost effective and coordinated system to distribute electricity.

 

In addition to DNOs we now have the concept of  Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNO). IDNOs own and operate electricity distribution networks which will predominately be network extensions connected to the existing distribution network, e.g. to serve new housing developments.

 

Licences are granted by OFGEM (The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) and as these are effectively monopolies they are regulated through a price control mechanism which is reset every four or five years.

 

Our UK Generation Map will allow you to identify what DNO area you reside in.

 

Whilst the number of Distribution Licences remains unchanged the whole UK Energy Market is going through a period of consolidation and the ultimate owner's of the individual DNOs continues to change so the information presented here was correct at the last update of this page.

 

We have therefore attempted to provide some clarity as to the current ultimate owners and a brief history on each distribution business since privatization.

 

The table does not provide information on the associated supply businesses.

 

East Midlands Electricity

DNO Name : East Midlands Electricity
Owner : Central Networks (an EON company)
Ultimate Parent : E.ON

History
Pre-privatisation : East Midlands Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as East Midlands Electricity plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Jan 10 1997 : taken over by Dominion Resources
Jul 27 1998 : sold to PowerGen

Today: operated by Central Networks (an EON company)

 

Eastern Electricity

DNO Name : EPN Distibution
Owner : EDF Energy Networks
Ultimate Parent : EdF

History
Pre-privatisation : Eastern Electricity
Mar 31 1990 : vested as Eastern Electricity plc
Sep 18 1995 : Hanson plc takeover
Feb 24 1997 : unbundled from Hanson and floated
Sep 1 1998 : taken over by TXU Europe
Nov 9 1999 : renamed TXU Europe
Jan 18 2002 : sold to LE Group

 

London Electricity

DNO Name : London Power Networks
Owner : EDF Energy Networks
Ultimate Parent : EdF

History
Pre-privatisation : London Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as London Electricity plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Feb 7 1997 : sold to Entergy Power UK plc
Dec 31 1998 : sold to EdF International
Jan 2001 : structure changed to LE Group

 

Manweb

DNO Name : SP Manweb
Owner : Scottish Power Energy Networks

Ultimate Owner : Scottish Power UK plc - UK publicly quoted

History
Pre-privatisation : Merseyside and North Wales Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as Manweb plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Oct 12 1995 : taken over by Scottish Power

 

Midlands Electricity

DNO Name : Midlands Electricity
Owner : Central Networks (an EON company)

Ultimate Parent : E.ON
First Energy 20.1%
Ultimate Owner : Aquila 79.9% - US Investor Owned
First Energy 20.1% - US Investor Owned
History
Pre-privatisation : Midlands Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as Midlands Electricity plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Jun 7 1996 : taken over by Avon Energy Partners
Mar 20 2000 : renamed GPU Power UK
May 8 2002 : Aquila purchase 79.9% of Avon Energy Partners
May 8 2002 : renamed Aquila Networks

October 21 2003 : Sold to Powergen,

Today: operated by Central Networks (an EON company)

 

Northern Electric

DNO Name : Northern Electric Distribution
Owner : CE Electric UK
Ultimate Owner : Berkshire Hathaway - US private company

History
Pre-privatisation : North Eastern Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as Northern Electric plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Dec 24 1996 : taken over by CE Electric
Jan 2 1998 : sold to MidAmerican Energy

Today: operated by CE Electric UK

 

Norweb

DNO name : United Utilities Electricity
Owner : United Utilities
Ultimate Owner : United Utilities plc - UK publicly quoted

History
Pre-privatisation : North Western Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested a NORWEB plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Nov 8 1995 : taken over by North West Water
Aug 3 2000 : renamed Norweb Distribution
Apr 1 2001 : renamed United Utilities
Nov 26 2001 : renamed United Utilities Electricity

 

Scottish Power

DNO Name : SP Distribution
Owner : Scottish Power Energy Networks

Ultimate Owner : Scottish Power UK plc - UK publicly quoted

History
Pre-privatisation : South of Scotland Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as ScottishPower plc
Jun 18 1991 : floated on stock market

 

Scottish Hydro Electric

DNO Name : Scottish Hydro Electric

Owner : Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution
Ultimate Owner : Scottish and Southern Energy plc - UK publicly quoted

History
Pre-privatisation : North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as Scottish Hydro-Electric plc
Jun 18 1991 : floated on stock market
Dec 14 1998 : merged with Southern Electric to form
Scottish and Southern Energy plc

 

SEEBOARD

DNO Name : SEEBOARD Power Networks
Owner : EDF Energy Networks
Ultimate Parent : EdF

History
Pre-privatisation : South Eastern Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as SEEBOARD plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Jan 11 1996 : taken over by CSW
Jun 15 2000 : CSW merged with American Electric Power
Jun 18 2002 : agreement to sell to LE Group
Jul 29 2002 : LE purchase SEEBOARD

 

Southern Electric

DNO Name : Southern Electric

Owner : SE Power Distribution
Ultimate Owner : Scottish and Southern Energy plc - UK publicly quoted

History
Pre-privatisation : Southern Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as Southern Electric plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Dec 14 1998 : merged with Scottish Hydro-Electric plc to form
Scottish and Southern Energy plc

 

South Wales Electricity

DNO Name : South Wales Electricity

Owner : Western Power Distribution
Ultimate Owner : PPL - US Investor Owned

History
Pre-privatisation : South Wales Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as South Wales Electricity plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Jan 29 1996 : taken over by Welsh Water becoming part of Hyder plc
Feb 17 2000 : renamed Infralec
Sep 15 2000 : Hyder bought by Western Power Distribution

 

South Western Electricity

DNO Name : Western Power Distribution
Owner : Western Power Distribution
Ultimate Owner : PPL - US Investor Owned

History
Pre-privatisation : South Western Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as South Western Electricity plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Sep 18 1995 : taken over by Southern Electric International
Jul 1 1996 : Southern sold 25% stake to PPL Global Inc
Jun 18 1996 : PPL stake increased to 51%
Oct 1 1999 : renamed Western Power Distribution

 

Yorkshire Electricity

DNO Name : YE Distribution
DNO Name : Yorkshire Electricity

Owner : CE Electric UK

History
Pre-privatisation : Yorkshire Electricity Board
Mar 31 1990 : vested as Yorkshire Electricity Group plc
Dec 11 1990 : floated on stock market
Apr 1 1997 : taken over by AEP and PS Colorado
Jun 15 2000 : AEP merged with CSW
Apr 2 2001 : 94.75% purchased by Innogy
Sep 21 2001 : Innogy swap Yorkshire Electricity Distribution with a
MidAmerican

Today: operated by CE Electric UK

energywatch accredited - Tariffs endorsed by Greenpeace included - Guide to Green Electricity Tariffs used