Building Network Operator (BNO)

Do you require a BNO?

Eclipse Power Networks are seeing an increase in clients approaching us asking for information and guidance on the requirements of a Building Network Operator (BNO) and their responsibilities.

Here is an overview of what a BNO is and some detailed information we are being asked regularly. If you require a BNO or would like any more information on a BNO’s responsibilities, please get in touch.

What is a Building Network Operator (BNO)?

The official definition according to the ENA ER G87 [1] is:

“The organisation that owns or operates the electricity distribution network within a multiple occupancy building, between the intake position and customers installations (i.e. their fuse board).

The BNO may be the DNO, another licensed distributor or a third-party exempt from holding an electricity distribution license (e.g. a facilities management company).”

BNO’s are exempt from any registration requirements within the Electricity Order 2001. They require a distribution license unless they fulfil the requirements of an EDNO (The distribution of less than 2.5MW load or generation less than 10MW)

When is a BNO required?

A simple example of when a BNO is required is for a property which is split into more than one home (multi occupancy building), such as an apartment block.

A multi occupancy building is defined as:

“Any single building that has been sub-divided into more than one premise, for example, flats or factories that have been broken up into smaller industrial units, mixed use developments etc.”

The BNO could be an electricity license holder such as:

  • An IDNO (Independent Distribution Network Operator)
  • The DNO (Distribution Network Operator)
  • The Building Owner / Landlord
  • The Facilities Management company
  • The Developer / Company in control of a building’s infrastructure

A BNO can appoint a third party to act as the network operator on their behalf.

In essence, the BNO is responsible for the design, installation, and maintenance of electrical installations past the intake point. If there is a fault or an issue with the cables and associated infrastructure, it is the BNOs responsibility to resolve it at their cost.

Types of developments which may have a BNO installation

The term BNO is most often used when referring to mixed use developments and/or apartments where there are multiple, individually metered supplies to the same building.

  • Mixed Use Developments (Commercial & Residential)
  • Commercial Developments (Multiple retailers/businesses)
  • Residential Apartment Developments

If you are converting/redeveloping an existing building into multiple units or building a new development, you may find the following information regarding BNOs useful.’

What are the options for getting a BNO installation?

When considering how your electrical connection is going to be configured, there are a few options available to you:

  • A Bulk-metered supply:
    • Sub-meters for each individual supply (apartment/commercial)
    • Responsibility falls to the Landlord or Building Owner to meter and bill each premises
  • Individually metered supplies:
    • Each apartment/commercial unit has their own individual meter
    • These could be in a communal area or within each premise

It is worth noting that not all DNOs will install an individually metered supply, so this is something to consider. Some will only offer a bulk metered supply which leaves you (as the BNO) the responsibility to install the remainder of the network.

Example 1: New electrical supply for a mixed-use development

In the offer from the relevant DNO, they offer multiple MPANS so each can have an individually metered supply. BUT the DNO does not undertake works beyond the main intake.

Example 2: Converting a commercial property which has an existing supply

There may be an existing bulk metered supply on site and potentially a DNO owned substation.

In the offer from the relevant DNO, they offer multiple MPANS to repurpose the existing supply for your apartments/retail units etc. BUT the DNO does not undertake works beyond the main intake.

In these situations, you would need an alternative contractor (either an ICP or IDNO) to install and adopt between the intake and the meter and this will be known as a BNO installation.

Who is responsible for what within a BNO arrangement?

There are typically three parties involved in a BNO arrangement, with each owner being responsible for their network equipment:

  • DNO / IDNO – Owned or Adopted Network

The electrical connection from the distribution network to the intake at the building, including substations for a HV connection will be adopted by the DNO/IDNO

For a new building, the DNO/IDNO responsibility ends at the customer side of the intake, be it a main fuse supply, the feeder way on an LV board or the cable end box of a HV or EHV supply.

The connection from the intake to the individual meter points (often grouped in a basement or within riser cupboards)  may also be adopted by the DNO or IDNO if they adopt your network as a fully licenced network having legal title of all electrical assets up to the meter point. This solution also dictates the need to use a NERS acrreditade ICP to install the licenced network as a design and build solution.

  • BNO – Owns everything beyond the DNO/IDNO point EXCEPT any meters embedded within the BNO network or attached to DNO/IDNO equipment. This becomes a licence exempt network and as such can be designed and installed using any competent contractors to BS:7671

These act as islands of ownership within each network. The BNO has the additional responsibility of the building and the infrastructure of the building. Cabling from the contractor switch to the property will be owned by the householder/premises owner.

  • Meter Operator (MOP) – Owns the meters embedded within the BNO Network
  • Electricity Supplier –. Each individual metered consumer has freedom of choice for their Energy Supplier

Who can install the individual supply for each apartment?

The DNO, a licensed IDNO such as Eclipse Power or an ICP can provide a new electrical connection for the project.

Any work undertaken past the intake to provide individual supplies can be completed by an electrician who is registered with NICEIC. However, it is best to ensure the contractor has relevant experience and therefore it may be easier to have one contractor to undertake both areas of work..

How can Eclipse Power Networks help with BNO installations?

As an IDNO, we can adopt the network for the project and therefore take full responsibility of the electrical connection and assume the role as the BNO.

We work closely with ICPs and NICEIC contractors to ensure the full design and installation from the distribution network to the individual metered supplies is completed successfully.

Upon energisation, we can adopt the BNO installation and offer an Asset Value to own and adopt the networks. This is not something which the DNO can offer. Once we own the network, we take full responsibility of the maintenance of the connection going forward. This would include any repairs if required.

Need further information on a BNO installation?

If you are unsure about your connection offer from the DNO and would like some advice about whether it is providing you with what you need, please get in touch.

Eclipse Power Networks are happy to assist and discuss your project in more detail.

We have vast experience in BNO installations in terms of design, as well as adopting the electrical network.

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[1] ENA (Energy Networks Association) 2015, Engineering Recommendation G87 Issue 2 – 2015:  Guidelines for the Provision of Low Voltage Connections to Multiple Occupancy Buildings, ENA (Energy Networks Association),