Energy Connections in Construction: Getting Quicker All The Time
Delays in connecting energy supplies can have a significant impact on project completion times. Beverly Tomkins, head of sales and marketing for business at npower Business Solutions, explains how the company is helping to keep time times down
Beverly Tomkins, head of sales and marketing for business at npower Business Solutions
Some Design & Build Review readers may have suffered delays in commissioning a site or meeting a deadline because a new power connection took longer than expected to secure. They wouldn’t be alone: the construction sector (like many others) frequently underestimates the amount of time it can take to get a new supply connected and metered.
Project managers are often left needing to hire a generator, adding to overheads, noise and pollution when there is in fact a viable stop-gap solution. On large sites, poor project management like this can result in high levels of waste. Indeed, the construction sector remains the UK’s largest producer of waste, responsible for 32% of the UK’s landfill.
The UK Green Building Council, for example, estimates that of the 400 million tonnes of materials delivered to construction sites each year, some 15% ends up in landfill owing to wrong orders, damage or poor storage practices.
Getting a new power supply connected quickly can help reduce waste and emissions – by supporting properly lit and secured storage facilities, and helping projects to meet their deadlines. With this in mind, npower Business Solutions (nBS) made it the company’s priority to speed up the process – successfully cutting the time by 75%.
Powering forwards: Speeding up electricity supply installation
“Construction sites are now able to arrange the supply, installation of the meter and accept electricity on site in just five working days.”
New electricity supply installation has traditionally taken around 20 days. However, recent partnerships has challenged this status quo. Construction sites are now able to arrange the supply, installation of the meter and accept electricity on site in just five working days – and for some clients this can be even less.
To understand both how this speed was tripled – as well as how customers can help support speedy installation – it helps to know what goes on behind the scenes.
Typically, after agreeing terms, a supplier sends the request to a national database – a notification which can take days. After this notification is accepted, the supplier has to appoint a meter operator, a data collector and a data aggregator. Each of these three parties again has to accept the appointment – a process that takes approximately three working days.
Only when all the acceptances are in hand can suppliers request a metering date from the meter operator. At this point, a dataflow is sent out with a 10-day working notice period. This process has been long-established in the sector.
One thing that helps speed the process and cut the time by 75% is that nBS is an approved meter operator as well as an energy supplier. That means it is able to carry out the majority of its metering work direct, giving it reliable national coverage for all types of meter installations.
To further support this fast-track service, it has developed an effective in-house system: everyone who picks up the phone seeking a new connection, for example, is allocated a dedicated single contact who manages the new connection process from start to finish – and is on hand to help resolve any queries throughout.
Supporting rapid electricity installation
“The number of building contractors who leave getting a new supply to the last minute remains huge, so every little helps.”
One of the main ways that those seeking a new meter can support this process and ensure it is as swift as possible is by making 100% sure to get their MPAN number across to the supplier as soon as they get it from the district network operator, if new lines are going in.
This is the unique identifying number for your site. Getting it to a supplier helps them process the request much faster behind the scenes. The number of building contractors who leave getting a new supply to the last minute remains huge, so every little helps. The site also needs to be ready for the metering team to come in.
So whether you are a rugby club needing a new meter to support a large function at the weekend (we sorted them out in three days) or a large building site needing to commission and hand over to a customer (five days), understanding the process behind new energy connections does not only speed up the process, but can also make the difference between a delayed project and successful completion.
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