Future of balancing services

As the UK moves to a low-carbon economy, the way we operate the electricity system is evolving. A smart, flexible system that makes the best use of all the energy resources available will enable us to meet our customers’ needs in a balanced, efficient and economical way.

Our aim is to create balancing services markets that meet our changing system needs, and in which all technology types can compete on a level playing field. To achieve this, we will:

  • provide market information that plainly sets out our needs;
  • simplify our products to create transparency; and
  • ensure routes to market for all participants.

We'll publish updates on services and system needs via this page as we progress. If you would like to be kept informed, please sign up by filling in our 'future of balancing services updates' form.  

Regional Development Programme

The Regional Development Programme looks across the whole-system landscape to identify key areas of development to unlock additional network capacity, reduce constraints and open up new revenue streams for market participants. This project will significantly enhance  transmission and distribution systems coordination and control, creating whole system efficiencies and providing new tools and resources to manage system constraints – ultimately reducing costs for customers.

UKPN and National Grid are collaborating through the Regional Development Programme for the South East Coast area, more information can be found in the Executive Summary.

Product Roadmap for frequency response and reserve

Our Product Roadmap sets out the actions to be taken forward for frequency response and reserve markets and details the principles that will govern the way that balancing services are procured in future. The Product Roadmap also outlines broader improvements to how the SO shares information with the market to enhance transparency of decision making. Insights from across the energy sector have helped to shape the Roadmap through a series of formal and informal consultations.

Download the Product Roadmap for Frequency Response and Reserve

Future of Balancing Services Ambition

Our Future of Balancing Services Ambition sets out our high-level plan for how we will work with the industry to ensure efficient and economic balancing services markets.

Download the Future of Balancing Services leaflet

System Needs and Product Strategy (SNAPS)

Our SNAPS consultation provides more information on our future system needs and seeks to consult on how we can best facilitate the evolution of balancing services markets.

Download the System Needs and Product Strategy (SNAPS) document

We hosted two webinars on the SNAPS on 3rd and 7th July 2017. You can download the slides and Q&A from this webinar:



This consultation closed on 18 July 2017. You can find a summary of the main insights by downloading this document: 

Summary of Consultation Responses

As part of our work on product simplification, we have undertaken a process of rationalisation of our existing product suite. The following letter sets out the results of this review, along with a summary of the short term actions we are taking to improve the Firm Frequency Response market.

Letter on Rationalisation

Related documents

16 August 2017 - commercial principles for contracted flexibility: promoting access to markets for distributed energy resources

To manage the electricity system efficiently, we need to make sure distributed energy resources are able to participate in local and national flexibility markets. The Energy Networks Association has published a commercial principles paper that sets out a number of considerations to be addressed, and different models for DER participation in flexibility markets, representing a significant step towards enabling market access for DERs.

You can access the paper via the ENA's website

This paper is a consultation, which closes on 29 September 2017. The response will inform the ENA's Open Network Project deliverables and our work on evolution of balancing services products.

4 August 2017 - Connecting to UK Power Network's South East Coast network - information for distributed energy resources

In our role as Electricity System Operator, we are collaborating with UK Power Networks to trial new ways of working to solve network issues on a whole system basis. Together, we have developed an approach that unlocks further capacity for the connection of distributed energy resources in the South East coast region of England. 

You can download the factsheet here.

This fact sheet sets out what developers of distributed energy resources need to know about constraint management arrangements that will facilitate additional capacity to connect within the South-East Coast distribution network from June 2017 (covering Bolney, Ninfield, Sellindge and Canterbury Grid Supply Points).