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Our Vision for our DSO Transition

A key part of this future is dependent on the decarbonisation of electricity and transport together with the adoption of new energy technologies at an unprecedented rate.

Electricity distribution networks like Counties Energy sit at the heart of this change as they facilitate the integration of decentralised low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles, energy storage, distributed generation and digital technologies that transform our customers to ‘prosumers’. This requires us to fundamentally reimagine the role that we play and how we serve our customers, communities, and New Zealand.

What’s driving the change?

The way our energy is sourced and consumed is changing rapidly. A growing number of decentralised renewable generation and storage are being connected directly to the electricity distribution network rather than the transmission grid. These along with electric vehicle charging and other distributed energy resources at mass market scale is creating a need for smarter energy orchestration at the distribution level.

Meeting Customers’ Changing Needs

Counties Energy recognises that the change from a Distribution Network Operator (DNO) to a Distribution System Operator (DSO) is an essential one for us to drive performance and resilience on our network and to create new shared value that unlocks the full energy potential for our communities.

Creating a more efficient and flexible system will benefit all customers and empower them to be at the centre of the energy revolution. Our enhanced DSO capabilities will provide customers with the freedom to access a wider range of energy choices as active participants of the low carbon transition.

Customers at the centre of the energy revolution

Smart energy orchestration is a DSO capability that unlocks additional, cost-effective energy capacity to meet the expected growth from decarbonisation. This capability will ensure that we turn DERs into flexibility assets to maximise the network capacity potential and actively orchestrate them in a coordinated way that meets customer expectations, operates within the dynamic operating envelopes and creates new energy opportunities. It will maximise the volume of bi-directional demand, generation and storage within a smarter and more active electricity distribution system.”

— Moonis Vegdani, Group Chief Digital Officer

What is a Distribution Systems Operator (DSO)?

Today, Distributed Network Operators (DNOs) are responsible for maintain a safe and reliable electricity network and connecting new customers and small-scale generation.

Tomorrow, along with DNO responsibilities, DSOs will play the role of “energy orchestrators” where they will operate an open and inclusive participatory service. DSOs will be the primary entry point into the dynamic distribution system for new actors such as prosumers, EV charging and demand side-aggregators.

DSOs will foster engagement and interaction with stakeholders to unlock a new flexible system that creates new opportunities for innovative energy services and shared value for their customers.”

— Astad Kapadia, Head of DSO Strategy

Objectives and Principles for our DSO Transition

Being ‘Customer Obsessed’ is the most critical part of our DSO strategy, so that we’re focused on delivering relevant outcomes for our customers, communities and the industry at large. We know that customers are actively looking to decarbonise their energy behaviour and we will need to support those goals via our distribution network.

We realise that a future where customers want more choice around how, what and when they consume and/or generate energy will mean that a one-size–fits–all approach to energy distribution services will need to evolve.

Underpinning our customer objective is providing a safe and reliable service in a dynamic energy system while optimising the supply and demand in real time. In addition, getting more out of the existing network by using active orchestration and dynamic pricing will be a powerful tool that’s available to us.

Our Guiding Principles for our DSO Transition

We are reimagining ourselves as Counties Energy

To guide our customers and communities to transition to a low carbon energy system, Counties Energy will broaden its role to meet the energy needs of its customers and communities. However, the uncertain timing and pace of this transition means that we need to start quickly to prepare for the adapting needs of our communities.

We believe innovative and community-focused DNOs are naturally well positioned to transition to DSOs to continue creating and preserving inter-generational value for our people.

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