7. September 2023 By Maximilian Hammes
Grid connection portal – digital application management for grid connection requests
The growing number of heat pumps, photovoltaic systems and wallboxes for EVs that are installed presents energy suppliers and grid operators with the challenge of how to handle the deluge of requests for grid connections and extensions. This sharp rise in business requests raises a number of challenges that operators have to address. At the moment, the application process is primarily done manually by post at many grid operators, which takes up a considerable amount of time. In addition, the government has set the deadline of 1 January 2024 by which time electricity grid operators must offer a digital platform for submitting grid connection requests. In this blog post, I will show you how we can help our customers meet this challenge.
What is a grid connection portal?
Before we get started, here is a short introduction. A grid connection portal is a digital platform or online system that can be used by energy suppliers, grid operators or other utilities to streamline and automate the process of applying for, reviewing and implementing grid connections. In this context, a grid connection refers to the physical connection of buildings or plants to the supply grid, whether for electricity, gas, water or other services. This connection often requires a number of permits, the submission of technical specifications and having to clear bureaucratic hurdles designed to ensure that it can be correctly installed and operated.
A grid connection portal could include the following functions:
- Online application process: Possibility to submit applications for grid connections over the Internet. This may include entering information regarding the intended use, technical requirements and other relevant data.
- Document management: Upload required documents such as construction plans, technical specifications and other files.
- Status tracking: Track the current status of the application.
- Communication: Possibility for customers and the persons responsible for the grid connection to communicate directly in order to clarify questions or exchange information.
- Approval process: Review as well as approval or rejection of the submitted applications via the portal.
- Billing and payment: Payment of any fees or costs associated with the grid connection via the portal.
- Document sharing: Share relevant documents such as contracts pertaining to the grid connection or technical drawings via the portal after the connection has been approved.
Requirements for grid connection portals
What requirements does a grid connection portal have to fulfil to maximise the efficiency of the grid connection processes? To define the requirements, three components must be brought together and examined. If three crucial components are taking into account, this can help make all processes completely digital and thus achieve optimal efficiency and performance.
Functions for end customers:
- The main component is the customer portal. Customers can use it to submit the grid connection application digitally using their choice of media. The documents required over the course of the process can be easily uploaded and automatically checked. Status messages about the progress of the process keep customers informed and give them security and a good feeling that things are moving along. This eliminates the need to call or send an e-mail in order to obtain information on the status of the application.
Internal processes regarding to the grid connection:
- Another important component is the internal processes at the grid operator, which often result in significant costs in the process of connecting to the home. A complex and multi-stage process extends across different divisions such as electricity, gas, water, telecommunications and heat and so on, as well as across different teams and SAP modules. A holistic workflow control that enables scaling and high-quality in-time processes is required in order to be able to realise efficiency increases and automations.
- Most grid operators work with service providers in the process of connecting to the home. The allocation of work orders and feedback on completion must be automated and ideally bundled for different trades. Today, the interdisciplinary organisation of the trades is still the task of the stakeholder looking for a grid connection in many grid areas. The quality of service can be improved by integrating these components.
Our vision for a grid connection solution
We see that there are several solutions already available on the market. Many companies employ low-code or no-code platforms as well as solutions that are similar to a CRM system or that were developed in-house. Nevertheless, our customers tell us that they are not that impressed with any of these solutions and hardly any of them are happy with their current one. There are various reasons for this, since the process to be managed is extremely complex and extends across a large number of organisational units. Ready-made solutions often tend to be too inflexible, which may it much difficult to adapt them to the different variations of the process. On the flip side, proprietary in-house solutions are often associated with high costs. Each of the approaches often leads to additional media disruptions and redundant data storage, which can reduce the efficiency of the overall process.
Our goal is therefore to offer a solution that is closely related to SAP in order to minimise redundancies, ensure continuous access to real data and reduce media disruptions. To this end, we provide a ready-to-use template that is highly advanced and includes a large number of functions. At the same time, our template offers sufficient flexibility to make individual changes and room to implement automations that make it possible to design the best possible process. We also offer an accompanying webinar where we present our modular solution.
The aforementioned challenges faced by energy suppliers and grid operators owing to the exponential increase in requests for grid connections and extensions must be overcome. Manually processing these applications, as it is currently done, is both time-consuming and entails extra work. Our grid connection portal solution makes it possible to improve the efficiency of the process of applying for, reviewing and implementing grid connections. Grid operators also benefit from increased customer satisfaction, fewer support requests thanks to greater transparency while the application is being processed, the real-time availability of all information without any media disruptions and compliance with legal regulations.
Our grid connection portal solution not only digitalises customer applications, but also maps the grid operator’s internal processing procedures. It covers all departments and relevant SAP modules, with workflow control making it possible to get the right information at the right time.
You can find more information about our solution for digital application management for grid connection requests on our website.
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