Almost 1,000 electric car chargers have been fast-tracked to connect to the electricity network in London, the South East and East of England, seemingly thanks to an online portal for chargepoint installers.
Since launching Smart Connect in February 2021, UK Power Networks says it has approved more than 2000 new applications for electric car chargers, heat pumps, batteries and solar panels in record time. The portal means people don’t have to complete multiple paper forms and streamlines the process so installers can work more efficiently and install more devices for more customers. So far, 983 (more than half) of the 1,720 new electric car charging applications have been instantly approved by the portal, meaning devices could be connected straight away.
The portal is also facilitating the deployment of other low carbon technologies, said the group. Applications to connect 234 electric heat pumps have been auto approved since February, along with 765 household solar installs and 66 domestic batteries.
The service works by using AI to process data about each household installation. When an installer applies to connect a new car charger, Smart Connect refers customers to a UK Power Networks expert if the electricity supply needs to be upgraded to gain additional power. If no upgrades are required, the tool provides an automatic assessment and then auto approval.
Installers with multiple jobs planned, can also use Smart Connect to check the status of all their applications at the click of a button.
Ian Cameron, head of customer service and innovation at UK Power Networks said: “Millions of electric cars and heat pumps will connect to our networks over the next decade. Through tools like Smart Connect we’ll make sure – whether we’re working with installers or directly with consumers – they can all connect at pace.”
Gary Church, electrical contracts manager at Blueflame (Colchester), which installs and maintains heat pumps and solar PV systems across Essex and Suffolk, said: “We’ve been using Smart Connect throughout this year and it’s been a brilliant tool for us. It’s streamlined our process of notifying installations of heat pumps and PV completely. It also ensures we are always complying with all regulations and give our customers the best service possible.”