Review of GB Electricity Distribution System’s Electricity Security of Supply, Reliability and Power Quality in Meeting UK Industrial Strategy Requirements

  • Sarat Chandra Vegunta, Christopher Francois Anthony Watts, Sasa Djokic, Jovica Milanovic, Michael Higginson
  • IET Generation Transmission & Distribution, June 2019, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (the IET)
  • DOI: 10.1049/iet-gtd.2019.0052

A review of GB electricity distribution system's security of supply, reliability and power quality

Photo by Laura Lefurgey-Smith on Unsplash

Photo by Laura Lefurgey-Smith on Unsplash

What is it about?

The United Kingdom (UK) Government's 2017 Industrial Strategy outlines a bold plan centred on making the UK one of the most competitive places in the world to start or grow a business, building on the UK's strengths, extending excellence into the future, and closing the gap between the UK's best performing companies, industries, places and people, and those viewed as less productive. In the context of delivering this strategy, from power system reliability and power quality points of view, the paper explores the various challenges and gaps in the Great Britain (GB) electricity distribution system, which is recognised as among the most complex forms of energy exchange that will become the backbone of the emerging digital economy and Industry 4.0. Additionally, the study also provides recommendations to address the identified challenges.

Why is it important?

The new price control, RIIO-ED2, for the GB electricity distribution networks will commence in April 2023. The GB electricity regulator, Ofgem, launched the 'RIIO-2 Framework Review' in March 2018, with the aim of publishing its final view on the framework for RIIO-ED2 by the end of 2020. The review seeks to gather input from various stakeholders to put together a framework that allows for the electricity distribution networks to best serve GB electricity customers, including the industrial and manufacturing sectors, during the period 2023 and beyond. This timely paper, from electricity distribution related security of supply, reliability and power quality perspectives, connects the following aspects and provides suggestions for improvements in the GB regulatory policy associated with the electricity distribution: (i) the UK Government's industrial strategy and vision; (ii) the current state of the UK's competitiveness globally, particularly from an electricity supply reliability context; (iii) the electricity supply requirements of the changing UK manufacturing sector; (iv) the current state of distributed energy resources connected to the electricity distribution supply system and reliability performance of that system; (v) the contribution of smart meters in allowing improved observability of electricity supply quality and to support electricity reliability and power quality; (vi) utility-customer equipment electrical compatibility and interoperability; and (vii) principal performance trends and insights in the existing distribution system and the related regulatory framework. Although some of the above listed aspects were considered independently in the open literature, they have not been analyzed together, nor have they considered the overall context of the UK industrial strategy and vision delivery. Furthermore, insights and recommendations presented in the paper may generally be applicable to other electricity distribution networks in the world.


Dr. Sarat Chandra Vegunta
S&C Electric Company

The work here is an outcome of a tremendous collaborative work between the co-authors of this paper for over two years, bringing in different perspectives and expertise from their respective fields to gather useful insights and recommendations to improve electricity distributions networks. I sincerely hope the work presented in the paper will add value to the conversation in putting together better price control frameworks for electricity networks in GB and around the world.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Sasa Z Djokic, Dr. Sarat Chandra Vegunta, and Christopher Watts