Replacement and New Build

Understanding connections- User Self Build agreements

User Self builds are an alternative way for customers to connect to the high voltage transmission network in England and Wales. But they must follow careful rules and procedures in order to meet safety and quality standards. Read more below to find out more information on the requirements for this type of connection.

What is a User Self Build?

Under a standard connection offer, the connecting customer will contract with the Electricity System Operator (ESO), who then contracts with us, National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET)- to build the relevant connection assets. But some users choose to build their own connection assets, under what is known as a User Self Build (USB) contract.

Essentially, as part of a USB agreement, the connecting customer builds their own connection (for example, occupying a new bay in an existing substation and installing the relevant connection assets such as transformers) to the high voltage transmission network on behalf of NGET.

What are the requirements for conducting a User Self Build?

USB agreements represent a legally binding contract between the connecting customer who builds the assets, and NGET. The ESO is not part of this agreement. USB contracts are only applicable to connections where the customer is delivering assets which NGET will eventually take ownership of, upon the approved completion of specific safety and quality assurance processes. 

The requirements for User Self Build contracts are stringent, to ensure the safety and security of key network assets.

By undertaking to deliver the connection assets the customer agrees to act in accordance with our safety and quality policies and procedures. The customer is also required to provide regular updates on the progress of the works throughout the building process. Work must be completed to the required technical standard, within the stated timelines in accordance with the connection offer.

Once complete, the work is quality assessed and checked against the appropriate guidelines before being commissioned. When this has been completed successfully, NGET will take over the connection assets and their operations. The connecting customer who has built the asset then retains responsibility for any defects which arise over the following five years.

Permitted development rights

Customers are responsible for securing the appropriate planning consents for customer works, including works which may take place on land owned by NGET. Customers may not rely on NGET’s permitted development rights (which are reserved for the benefit of NGET’s transmission undertaking/NGET operational land) to undertake customer works, and should therefore ensure that they can demonstrate that appropriate consents are in place for all customer works, including on NGET land. 

For further information on User Self Build contracts, please review our document here.

If you would like to further discuss USB options for your connection project, please make a note of it in your application.

Create an application to connect to the high voltage transmission system via the ESO portal