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Tue 15th December 2015Distribution Use of System Charges

Businesses who possess a Half-hourly (HH) electricity meter may often find various charges on their bill.

What is a Distribution Use of Systems (DUoS) charge?

The fourteen local Distribution Networks (owned by six Distribution Network Operators – DNOs) take power from the National Grid and distribute it to end users. DNOs charge suppliers under published tariffs for distribution use-of-system (DUoS) which the suppliers aim to recover from their customers.

For existing HH settlement customers the trend has been to bundle these charges into contract rates, but large users still have the option to show them separately and on a pass-through basis if preferred. However, with the enforcement of P272 which affects consumers with “Max Demand” meters, there is an increasing level of confusion in the market with each supplier potentially handling the switch to HH settlement differently. In some cases the charges are bundled in, with others they are separate.

With regard to certain specific charges there are often ways to mitigate increase costs with some simple changes. For example, DUoS charges can be significantly reduced if a site can reduce load or switch on generators at peak times.

What charges does Distribution Use of Systems (DUoS) consist of?

  • The availability/capacity supply charge
  • Excess availability charge (applicable only if the agreed supply capacity is exceeded)
  • Reactive power
  • Standing charge
  • Unit rates – there are three time band periods in which these rates are split into; Red, Amber and Green. Energy suppliers use the time banding that are created by the regional distribution companies, these are different depending upon the company supplying that region but tend to be around the evening on weekdays: e.g. SWALEC red band is 1700 to 1930 hours weekdays.

Please see the chart below for the applicable time bands for each company where you may occur peak demand charges.

Distribution Charge Chart New

For more information on Distribution Use of Systems charges please call 0333 000 0132 or email


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