SSEN Social Constraint Management Zone Project

Funding for Energy Saving            #community flex

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has teamed up with fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) on a new project where communities and community organisations can receive payments for helping ease constraints on the local electricity network, as an alternative to upgrading cables and substations. Energy saving projects that help the network are called flexibility.


On winter evenings when electricity demand is at its highest, some parts of the local electricity network may approach their maximum capacity. SSEN is looking to address this issue with alternatives to upgrading the cables and substations initially in two parts of their network. These have been designated Social Constraint Managed Zones (SCMZ) and the aim is to provide an easily accessible route for communities to receive payments for either:

  • Reducing their peak demand
  • Time shifting their electricity consumption or
  • Reducing their overall demand

Locations of the Social Constraint Managed Zones (SCMZ)


In South Oxfordshire around Didcot and Cholsey. There is a need for up to 5MW of flexibility during November from 16:30 to 18:10 on weekdays. There may be about 6 events per year depending on network demand. Click “Show More” to view a map of the zone.

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Coxmoor Wood

On the border of Hampshire and Surrey, between Basingstoke and Farnborough/Farnham. In this constraint zone there is a need for 3.5MW of flexibility between December and February from 15:50 to 20:20. Again there may be about 6 events per year. Click “Show More” to view a map of the zone.

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Examples of possible projects

Anything that reduces or shifts demand is suitable, but examples might include programmes of installation of LED lighting, battery storage or utilizing variable rate electricity tariffs.

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How can I get involved?

You do not have to be an expert in the flexibility market. Seed funding and expert advice is available for suitable proposals which pass a short prequalification questionnaire and also support is available to help you through the tender process.

Our project consultants will assess your proposal to forecast the reductions in demand a project might achieve and calculate the payments that would be available. It is possible to provide as little as 50 kW in demand reduction, or to partner with other organisations in the area to complement the proposal.

Flexibility payments can be used with other funding sources such as ECO.  The funding available through this project aims to improve the business case for projects

Contracts and Payments

There are 3 different types of contract available:

  • Utilisation only – best suited to behavioural signal projects
  • Traditional mix – best suited to traditional generation project
  • Availability only – best suited to energy efficiency projects

Match Making Workshop

A Match Making workshop was held in Reading on 4th July 2019 where information was provided about Community Flex and partners were introduced and encouraged to develop projects together.

Information from the event can be found on the following link. 

Seed funding support

A first round of seed funding closed on 19th July and successful applications have been received. Following feed back at the Match Making workshop, new timelines and a second round of Seed Funding has been announced. This can provide up to £2,550 support or 16 hours consultant time or a mix of the two and aims to assist with developing a project, completing the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) and tender documents. Organisations interested in submitting a project can download and complete the SSEN SCMZ Seed Funding Form.


Round 2 seed funding close – 23rd August

Round 2 seed funding decisions – 26th August

Prequalification Questionnaire (Initial Procurement documentation) close – 20th September

Invitation to Tender (Full Procurement documentation) open – 4th October

Invitation to Tender (Full Procurement documentation) close – 15th November

Successful projects will be expected to be able to provide flexibility to the networks within 12-18 months after the contracts are exchanged.

SSEN SCMZ Seed Funding Form.

The process


Tender and Contract

Tenders will be submitted using the Achilles procurement system. Projects are expected to be operational by the end of March 2021. Those who submit a tender will need to register on a procurement system called Achilles. You will only have to register on Achilles at SRS level which comes with no fee and allows SSEN to set you up on their Emptoris tendering system. Once the full tender is received, it will be reviewed alongside other submissions and then contracts can be agreed. Tenders will be assessed based on a number of technical, economic and social factors

Once the contract is in place, the project can continue to develop to implementation. Exact timelines will be agreed between SSEN and the organisation/partnership, but projects are expected to be operational by the end of March 2021. During this period, a generation project might be built, or an energy efficiency project might be engaging with communities and households to identify the rollout plan.

Delivering Flexibility.

Once the project is operational, SSEN will call upon the flexibility service when needed. It is likely there will be around 6 events in a given year, but there may be more or less depending on the local network demand. Flexibility services can be called on in a number of ways, from automatic dispatch of technology by SSEN, to phone calls and emails. It is expected that advance notice of potential service requirement can be given the day before. If your service is unavailable you would need to let SSEN know – all the terms will be finalised in the contract.

Once the services are delivered, validation is made through SSEN network monitoring and local data provided by the project (if available). Once validation has occurred payment can be made through the SSEN finance system as agreed by the contract. Payments dates have still to be finalised, but may be made after the end of each annual service window.

Further information

If you have any questions about the project, please download the Frequently Asked Questions to see if your query is covered there. There are also some worked examples which illustrate likely payments for the different contract types and an example project. Community Flex funding is able to improve the business case of projects. It can be used alongside other sources of funding as long as an installation can provide flexibility when an event occurs. A list of other sources of funding to consider is also available below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Worked Examples

Sources of additional funding for installations

Original Promotional Leaflet

If you have any questions about the project, please download the FAQs to see if your query is covered there. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss the project or any ideas you may have to achieve the project aims, please contact NEA in the first instance by the following methods.

Tel: 0191 269 2937

Click “Show More” to display form to ask questions and sign up to our mailing list.

Details of questions asked and the type of organization making contact will be shared with SSEN.

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Published on 22-05-2019
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