Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for Frequently Asked Questions on Low Carbon Technology Connections

1. When do I need to contact NIE Networks prior to installing a charge point or heat pump?

Answer

This is clearly defined in the new connection process, which can be found here. Customers/installers must contact NIE Networks prior to installation in the following instances where:

· The MD (Maximum Demand) calculations performed by the installer indicate that a property’s MD is greater than the known supply capacity

· There are safety concerns over the cut-out, cut-out fuse, or any other existing equipment

· There is uncertainty over the supply capacity or the adequacy of the supply

· It is certain that the connection requires an upgrade

NIE Networks will then assess the records of the property and confirm if the supply to the property is adequate, or raise a job to assess the property directly and implement any interventions where necessary.

This means that in addition to the ‘Connect & Notify’ requirement, if the new load will exceed the existing supply, or if there is a planned programme of installations in a close geographic region, NIE Networks should be contacted well in advance of the installation. The purpose of this process is to allow a safety assessment of the electrical supply to the domestic property and the supporting network to ensure they are adequate.

The information required to enable NIE Networks to carry out the network assessment should be provided using the application form.

2. Do all installations to existing properties require NIE Networks intervention?

Answer

No, installations where the Maximum Demand of the premises including the new load is ≤60A and adequacy of the connection is known, NIE Networks must be notified post-installation (within 28 days). This assumes that there are no safety concerns, as per the process decision making flowchart.
3. When do I need to make an application?

Answer

Every time an installer or customer installs an Electric Vehicle charge point or Heat Pump to an existing property, they must inform NIE Networks accordingly. The process for informing NIE Networks of a new electric vehicle charger or heat pump is provided in the process flowchart.

Where the new charger or heat pump meets "Connect & Notify" criteria detailed in the process flowchart, installation can proceed with a notification informing NIE Networks of the additional load within 28 days of the installation.

Where the new charger or heat pump does not meet the "Connect & Notify" criteria specified in the process flowchart, an application for connection must be submitted to NIE Networks prior to the installation of the new equipment. The connection of equipment that requires an application is likely to call for modifications to NIE Networks equipment supplying the premises, which, in some circumstances could take up to 12 Months, to try and avoid any delay in installation of the new Electric Vehicle charger or Heat Pump the application should be submitted to NIE Networks as soon as possible.

4. How do I submit an application/notification form?

Answer

The form can be downloaded from NIE Networks (click here for the single notification form and here for the multi-notification spreadsheet) and submitted directly to NIE Networks through the email address – lctconnections@nienetworks.co.uk
5. Who can submit an application?

Answer

Anyone who is competent to install an EV charge point or Heat Pump can submit a form, including instances where the installer is working on behalf of the customer at that property.
6. Will NIE Networks refuse the installation of an EV charge point or Heat Pump?

Answer

No, NIE Networks is obliged to facilitate the installation/connection of new loads to the power network, as part of our license condition.
7. How long will it take for remedial works to be completed?

Answer

This will vary depending on the nature of the intervention required to deliver an adequate supply to the property being assessed. Each connection is different, so the premises and network must be assessed before providing an estimate time of delivery.
8. What is Maximum Demand (MD)?

Answer

The Maximum Demand of a circuit, property, section of network, or network that considers all loads associated with that network that could be expected to be drawn at the same time.
9. How do I calculate the MD of a premises?

Answer

There is guidance in the IET Code of Practice for EV Charging Equipment Installation on supply adequacy (Maximum Demand) assessment. This information is critical to understanding if the EV charge point or Heat Pump can be supported by the network. 

There are different approaches to determining a site’s MD, including:

  • Use existing information – this is the best approach when there is available data on the specific loads in the house. However, this may not always be the case.
  • Determine loads installed – this approach takes diversity into consideration where appropriate. For this purpose there are different guidelines to assist installers, including:
    • Electrical installation design guide – calculations for electricians and designers
    • On-site guide BS 7671:2018 – IET wiring regulations, 18th Edition

Please contact the IET if you have further questions on the guidance.

Some installers may chose to post their customers an internet connected monitoring device which connects to the customer’s internet router and clamps a split Current Transformer (CT) around the supply meter tail.  Data is then remotely collected over two weeks at ten minute intervals, before being analysed to arrive at an accurate MD without the need for a site visit.

10. What is a cut-out?

Answer

A cut-out is a piece of electrical equipment that forms the link between NIE Networks electricity cable and the internal wires in your property. To identify what cut-out your property has and its associated rating, you will first need to identify it and potentially speak to NIE Networks. Certain older cut-outs would not be capable of the increased supply required following the connection of an EV charger or heat pump and will need to be upgraded by NIE Networks. The ENA has created a Cut-Out Rating Guidance document for EV and HP Installers, which can be found here.
11. How do I identify issues with the property’s cut-out?

Answer

There is guidance available from the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) on identifying issues with distribution network equipment. Installers sometimes ask for photographs prior to site visit to save resource. One should also read the aforementioned ENA Guidance document.
12. How do I identify the rating of the cut-out fuse?

Answer

The rating of a cut-out fuse can usually be identified through a visual inspection of the cut-out. In some cases NIE Networks may have to identify the rating of the cut-out fuse as it’s not always obvious. Please see notes in the new process for further guidance.
13. What is an MPRN and where can I find it?

Answer

The MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number) can be found on a copy of the electricity bill for that supply.
14. Where can I find guidance on installing an EV chargepoint?

Answer

The IET’s Code of Practice on Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation (IET CoP) provides guidance and outlines best practice for installers on a range of installation issues. It also specifies that in the case of dedicated EV charging equipment installed at any site the installer shall ensure that the appropriate NIE Networks has been notified of the installation within 28 days of the installation.

 The IET Code of Practice highlights the installer’s responsibility to:

· Assess the adequacy of the supply capacity for the new Electric Vehicle load plus any existing load, before installing the charging equipment

· Assess the adequacy of the earthing, before installing the charging equipment

· Notify NIE Networks of the installation once completed

15. What is a looped service?

Answer

Some cut-outs have more than one service cable terminated in the cut-out. Such a situation indicates a 'Looped Service' where there are one or more services connected via the cut-out. Note this may impact on the adequacy of the service equipment. Looped services may be found anywhere but are often in rural areas and terraced housing. For more information on looped services, please see page 10 of the ENA Cut Out Rating Guidance
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