Future of the electricity system operator

Our role as electricity system operator (ESO) needs to change to support the transition to a more decentralised, low carbon electricity system. Find out what we're doing and how we're making changes.

The Electricity System Operator is changing

The changing energy system - increased renewables and greater decentralisation - means the ESO needs to think more holistically and longer term in order to enhance network and market access for all parties. New thinking will allow the ESO to remain agile, transparent and customer focused to ensure we continue to operate a safe, reliable and affordable electricity network now and into the future.

As the ESO adapts, its regulatory and incentive framework is changing too. Central to this is the publication of the ESO Forward Plan. The ESO Forward Plan and new incentive framework covers all aspects of the ESO’s role as defined by Ofgem in consultation with industry:  Managing System Balancing and Operability; Facilitating Competitive Markets; Facilitating Whole System Outcomes; Supporting Competition in Networks.

This is the first time we have published a Forward Plan, and it marks a step-change in the levels of transparency, engagement and accountability. Delivery against the Forward Plan will result in an incentive payment/penalty to the ESO, up to ±£30m for 2018-19.

Electricity System Operator Forward Plan 2018-19

On 27 March 2018 we published the final version of our first ESO Forward Plan. It is an ambitious plan outlining the activities and outputs we will deliver in 2018/19 to realise value for our customers, stakeholders and energy consumers and allows them to hold us to account for delivery.

To tell us what you think of our 2018-19 Forward Plan please click here.

How we developed our Forward Plan

Our Forward Plan has been developed through extensive engagement with customers and stakeholders. We published a draft for consultation on 12 February. The Stakeholder Engagement Report details how we have listened to your feedback and made changes to the Forward Plan. This is reflected in our reprioritisation of activities and increased ambition in a number of areas.

On 22 February we held a consultation event with over 60 attendees to gather customer and stakeholder feedback on our draft Forward Plan. Here is the material from the event:

On 6 March we held a webinar with 93 customers and stakeholders to introduce our draft Forward Plan. The material is here:

Performance Monitoring and Reporting

As part of the new regulatory framework we will be publishing regular updates on our performance, including monthly and quarterly performance reports. This will commence in May.

We are currently in the process of revamping our incentives performance pages to accommodate the new reporting. Meanwhile the first monthly performance reports, starting in May, will be published on this website.  

Legal Separation of the ESO

The ESO sits at the heart of many of the industry frameworks that need to change and there is an important role for the ESO to play in facilitating industry transition. We will need to be legally separate from the electricity transmission owner (ETO) to enable us to play this role effectively. Alongside the Forward Plan, legal separation is a key enabler for the ESO in facilitating industry change.

We are setting up the ESO as a legally separate company within the National Grid Group. The ESO will have a separate Board of Directors to make sure it's focused on achieving the outcomes that our customers and stakeholders deserve. You can find out more about legal separation here.

Related documents

Contact us

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected].