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ACM launches consultation about grid connection deadlines for small-scale and large-scale users

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) wishes to provide small-scale and large-scale users as much certainty as possible about the deadline before which they must be connected to the grid by system operators. According to plans that ACM has published for consultation, system operators must connect large-scale users within 40 weeks if there is sufficient transmission capacity available in that area. For small-scale users (up to 3x80 Ampère), a maximum period of 18 weeks applies. Upgrades to existing connections in homes, for example for charging stations, heat pumps or solar panels, must be completed within 12 weeks, according to the plans.

The maximum period of 12 weeks will apply to simple adjustments to connections of small-scale users (consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses) where system operators only need to make adjustments “in the meter closet”, for example, upgrading an existing connection of 1x35 Ampère to 3x25 or 3x35 Ampère. With regard to new connections for small-scale users (for which, for example, digging is needed), there is a maximum connection deadline of 18 weeks.

For large-scale users (up to 10 MVA), the connection deadline depends on the availability of transmission capacity. If there is sufficient transmission capacity available in an area, a system operator must create the new connection within 40 weeks. If there is a shortage of transmission capacity, the system operator will first have to solve the congestion as soon as possible, and then create the new connections.

The new connection deadlines will be laid down in the new code amendment regarding connection deadlines for electricity, which ACM has published on its website for consultation. With this decision, ACM wishes to provide buyers the certainty they desire, while also taking into account the challenges that system operators face such as the current scarce availability of staff. In that context, system operators must strike the right balance between upgrading the grids in order to solve transmission capacity scarcity and the realization of new connections in order to utilize the available transmission capacity as efficiently as possible. In the consultation of the code amendment, ACM also draws attention to force majeure situations, for example, unforeseen situations in a licensing procedure.

ACM will lay down the new connection deadlines in the Grid Code since a 2021 ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union revealed that the legislature should never have enshrined the maximum deadline of 18 weeks for all connections up to 10 MVA in law. According to the Court of Justice, the legislature cannot set rules for matters over which the national regulator has jurisdiction under European laws. In the Netherlands, that regulator is ACM.

In the consultation, ACM specifically draws attention to several topics, and seeks opinions on these from market participants. The consultation ends on 5 October 2022.

More information

29-11-2021 Ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union has consequences for ACM’s energy-related duties

See also

14-07-2022 Draft code decision regarding connection deadlines for electricity (in Dutch)