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UK Power Networks (Operations) Limited is responsible for delivering electricity safely, efficiently, and reliably to 8.3 million homes and businesses across London, the South East and East of England.  For this purpose, the electricity regulator Ofgem has commissioned UK Power Networks to implement a trial facility for active network management called ‘Active Response’ with the introduction of ‘the Soft Open Points’ electricity chamber.

The purpose of a Soft Open Points Electricity Chamber is to enable electricity available from one section of the electricity grid to be transferred to another section.  This increases the flexibility of the electricity grid to respond to the highs and lows of demand during different parts of the day.  Three locations each in London Wimbledon and in Stevenage, Hertfordshire were selected to conduct this trial.   Merton Council and Stevenage Borough Council were consulted and notified of the proposed locations for the Soft Open Points electricity chambers.   

Following detailed investigation, it was concluded that the sites in Wimbledon were not suitable for the current trials.  Therefore, only the four locations identified in Stevenage will be taken forward to the next stage for implementation.

If successful, the Ofgem-sponsored trial equipment will be rolled out across the UK, resulting in improved power supplies. 

Learn more about the project:

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New Technology – Soft Open Points

By 2030, it is anticipated there will be up to 4.5 million electric vehicles in use across London, the East and South East of England. Where UK Power Networks delivers electricity.  The charging of these vehicles could significantly increase peak demand for electricity...

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Planning Status

The installation of the electricity chambers will be carried out under the permitted development rights of UK Power Networks under the Town and Country Planning Act GDO (2015) Part 15 Class B(a) for Electricity Undertaking...

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The SOP Sites in Stevenage 

Stevenage Borough Council’s Planning Department was notified by UK Power Networks of three proposed locations to implement the Ofgem trial for the Soft Open Points technology.  These were at Six Hills Way, Hill Crest and Meadow Way...

Planned Growth in Stevenage Borough

Stevenage Borough Council’s “Future Town, Future Council agenda” plans for the provision of 7,500 homes and economic expansion of 14,000sqm of business and industrial space. 


Stevenage is part of the Innovations Corridor for the South East of England. It seeks to ensure that developments are energy efficient.  The proposed new technology will greatly help to achieve this objective.

This information has been prepared by Adrian Salt And Pang, Development Planning Consultants, town planning consultants and design advisors to UK Power Networks (Operations) Limited.

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