Before installing an EV charger, you must notify your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) if your load demand is 60amps or more. The DNO manages the local energy distribution network and needs to ensure there is adequate capacity on the network to support your EV charger. Notifying them in advance allows the DNO time to assess if any network upgrades are required to accommodate your charger. Failure to notify could result in costly delays or safety issues arising from excessive load demand.
Most electricians include notifying the DNO in their EV charger installation service following a survey of your electrics – so you don’t necessarily need to go through the hassle of notifying the DNO yourself. If you do it yourself, use this form. Not sure who your DNO is? Check here. We recommend getting an electrician to do it, because the form requires you to calculate the maximum demand of the property.
Note that if your maximum demand is less than 60 amps prior to installation, you can get your EV charger installed and tell the DNO after the installation has taken place – but this scenario is very rare in modern homes. Get a load survey carried out first and consult your electrician for clarification.
Is this going to cost me money?
There are no upfront DNO costs for a homeowner wanting to install an EV charger, as long as the capacity required does not exceed the “High-Cost Cap” threshold set by Ofgem – and very few connections hit it, even 3-phase connections.
- Ofgem has implemented changes from April 1, 2023 that shift the costs of network reinforcements (upgrades) needed for new connections from the connecting customer to the distribution network operators (DNOs).
- This means homeowners wanting something like an EV charger installed will no longer have to pay towards the costs of any reinforcements to the network capacity. Those costs will be covered by the DNOs.
- However, there is a “High-Cost Cap” threshold. If the capacity required exceeds £1,720 per kVA, the connecting customer may have to pay some costs.
- For a typical home EV charger installation, it’s highly unlikely the capacity required would exceed this threshold.
DNOs and EV charger installation timelines
EV charger installation involves four people:
- Property owner/manager (identifies locations, decides on charger types).
- Distributed network operator (DNO) (provides network capacity, infrastructure).
- Electricity supplier (installs metres and isolation switches, bills for energy used).
- Qualified electrician (installs charging station).
And the timeline looks like this:
- Property owner identifies optimal charge point location, decides on charger types (check out our list of the best EV chargers for ideas).
- Property owner makes contact with DNO to submit enquiry and discuss network capacity.
- Property owner appoints electrical contractor (if you already did this, your contractor can contact the DNO for you).
- Property owner or contractor applies for electrical network connection from DNO, provides final info on locations and charger types.
- DNO approves charger application, or rejects it with requirements for changes to local network infrastructure and capacity. Street work typically takes 8-12 weeks and costs between £1,000 and £3,000.
- Property owner reviews and accepts DNO design and quotation.
- Property owner appoints electricity supplier.
- Electricity supplier appoints meter operator to install meter.
- DNO performs network works on agreed timeline.
- Electrician installs the charging station. You might need a fuse upgrade via the DNO and a consumer unit upgrade if it doesn’t have space for a dedicated charger circuit. However, the work is minimal and your house definitely doesn’t need rewiring.
- The charging station is energised and becomes operational.
- Ongoing operation and maintenance – an EV charger check-up every 12-months is standard. It involves a visual inspection of the charger by taking off the faceplate, and a voltage test to ensure it is working within limits.
What is a DNO?
A DNO, or Distribution Network Operator, owns and operates the infrastructure that distributes electricity to homes and businesses at a local level.
Your DNO is responsible for maintaining the cables, substations, and transformers that deliver electricity to the street level.
When new electrical loads like EV chargers are added, the DNO ensures there is enough capacity on the local network.
Who is my DNO? There are six licensed DNOs across Great Britain. To find your local DNO, simply enter your postcode on the Energy Networks Association website. The site will tell you which DNO is responsible for your area.
How to notify your DNO about an EV charger
When planning an EV charger installation, early engagement with your DNO is key. Here are the steps:
- Make initial contact with your DNO to submit details on your proposed EV charger installation. Provide the intended locations under consideration and discuss existing network capacity.
- Formally apply for a new electrical connection once your location is confirmed. Submit the charger’s technical specification sheet so the DNO can assess electrical load requirements.
- Review the formal quotation and design the DNO provides for the new connection or service upgrade required.
- Agree on a timeline for any enabling works or network upgrades the DNO needs to perform before the EV charger installation can proceed.
- Commission the EV charger once the DNO has completed any necessary capacity upgrades to the local network.
What happens if you don’t notify your DNO? In a worst case scenario, energising an EV charger without adequate network capacity could cause power outages for your neighbourhood.
At minimum, you may face lengthy delays and unexpected costs if unplanned network upgrades are needed. By engaging early with your DNO, any reinforcement of the local electricity infrastructure can be identified and budgeted for.
The capacity review by your DNO is a critical step. It ensures the existing transformers and cables can safely handle the additional electrical load from your EV charger.
If network upgrades are required, this can take months to complete. So early notification allows your DNO to proactively increase network capacity in line with your installation timelines.
Hopefully we’ve answered your question about DNO connections and EV chargers.