What is DUoS?
DUoS (Distribution Use of System) charges are levied by the UK’s regional DNO (Distribution Network Operator) and have a significant impact on electricity costs. These costs go towards the operation, maintenance and development of the UK’s electricity distribution networks.
DUoS charges are paid by the end user to the supplier who will then pass them on to the relevant DNO. DUoS charges only appear on Energy-only contracts (pass-through contracts) as itemised charges. Fully inclusive tariffs have these charges built into the unit price.
During the weekdays certain times of the day are considered peak times and are categorised as Red Band. Other times during the day are categorised as Amber (daytime) and Green (night time). Amber and Green bands are much cheaper compared to Red Bands, with Amber Band charges being higher than the Green Band. (See graph).
Few users are aware of what the Red Band is or the opportunity that it presents to make savings.
In addition to these costs there is also the cost of the energy, standing charges, capacity charges, data collection charges, feed in tariffs & government taxes that make up the final unit rate cost.
Unlike procuring energy costs, it is not possible to choose the most cost effective DUoS provider. DUoS rates are determined by geographical location and are not negotiable. The best way to reduce the impact of the DUoS charge is to be smart with how and when energy is used.
The DUoS Red Band costs and time periods are different across all DNO areas.
• There are different charge bands for High Voltage & Low Voltage supplies. For example, in the London Power Network area, the Red Band charge for a Low Voltage supply without a Sub Station on site is currently (4.246p per kWh) but covers wide time periods (Monday – Friday 11:00 – 14:00 & 16:00 – 19:00 including bank holidays). (See graph as example)
• For the same type of supply in the Electricity North West area of England the Red Band is more expensive at (11.332p per kWh) but covers a shorter period (Monday – Friday 16:00 – 19:00 including bank holidays).
• DUoS charges during the Red Band can be significantly more expensive than other periods.
• These charges are likely to rise as demand increases.
• This presents an opportunity to reduce costs by shifting electrical load away from that period.
• Savings can be made without significant capital outlay.
Examples of large plant which could be load-shifted:
• Air Handling Units (AHUs).
• Humidification plant.
• Testing an emergency generator during the peak periods.
Another example of reducing load:
• Installation of solar generation can also assist by using less energy in these peak periods.
What Can You Do?
Analyse the 30 minute profile data usage to see what load is being used during the DUoS Red Band periods.
Analyse this data and determine what load could be moved to other times and recommend actions to reduce consumption during this peak period. The results can then be monitored to see the impact of the actions taken.
Calculate the cost of energy used during the Red Band times.
Undertake a site survey, to identify key plant which could be time-controlled to reduce Red Band consumption.
DUoS costs are likely to increase further as management of the distribution system becomes more challenging. Other pass-through elements charged according to usage at specific time periods are also likely to be added and existing ones modified.
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