Connecting to the Grid: The Role of Independent Connections Providers (ICPs)

The construction industry is a complex and demanding sector requiring a high level of expertise and knowledge. One of the key challenges housing developers face is installing and connecting utilities such as electricity, gas, and water. As such, Independent Connections Providers (ICPs), have become increasingly important in addressing building and construction industry challenges.


What is an Independent Connections Provider (ICP)?

An Independent Connections Provider (ICP) is a specialist company accredited by The National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS) that connects electrical infrastructure to the grid. ICPs are responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining electrical infrastructure, such as new connections to the electricity grid or modifications to existing connections.


Who commonly uses an Independent Connections Provider (ICP)?


Construction companies & house builders

Independent Connections Providers (ICPs) are often used by construction companies and developers who are building new housing plots and need to connect to the utility network. In these cases, ICPs can provide a more cost-effective and efficient service than a traditional Distribution Network Operator (DNO), which regulations and other constraints may restrict.


Wind farms or solar parks

Utility companies also use ICPs for large-scale infrastructure projects like wind farms or solar parks. ICPs can provide the necessary infrastructure to connect these projects to the grid, and they can often do so more quickly and cost-effectively than the DNO.

This is because ICPs are specialised multi-utility companies that can focus solely on connecting large-scale renewable energy projects to the grid. They have extensive experience and expertise in designing and installing electrical infrastructure, such as cables, transformers, and switchgear, to connect these projects to the grid. As a result, they have the necessary skills, flexibility, resources, and equipment to deliver connections timely and cost-effective. In contrast to this, DNOs tend to have a more standardised approach with higher overheads that can be less flexible and more costly, especially for large-scale infrastructure projects.


Councils & other local authorities

Local authorities often use ICPs to connect public buildings such as schools, hospitals, and other public buildings that require a reliable and safe connection to the utility network.


Critical infrastructure facilities

In addition, businesses that require a high level of reliability and uptime for their utilities may  use ICPs. This includes data centres, hospitals, and other critical infrastructure facilities that require a high level of resilience and redundancy.


What is an Independent Connections Provider, and how do they differ from an Independent Distribution Network Operator (IDNO)?

An IDNO is responsible for maintaining and operating the electricity distribution network, while an ICP is responsible for installing new electrical grid connections. In other words, IDNOs own and operate the existing electricity network, while ICPs install new connections and infrastructure.

An ICP is a crucial player in connecting a new building to the utility network in the construction industry. The ICP works closely with the developer, the local distribution network operator (DNO), and the relevant regulatory bodies to ensure the connection is made safely and efficiently.

ICPs are responsible for installing the necessary infrastructure, such as cables and transformers, and ensuring that the connection meets all the necessary safety and technical requirements.


The Benefits of Using an Independent Connection Provider (ICP)

One of the key advantages of using an ICP such as Aptus Utilities is their ability to provide a bespoke service tailored to the client’s specific needs. As an independent company, they can work with various DNOs and other service providers to find the most cost-effective and efficient solution for each project.


Streamlined, flexible project management

An ICP like Aptus can provide a single point of contact for all utility connections, simplifying the process for clients. This can be especially beneficial for large projects that involve multiple utilities, as it reduces the administrative burden and allows the client to focus on other aspects of the project.

ICPs generally have a more flexible approach to project management and can provide a fast-tracked service if required. For clients who need to meet tight deadlines and budgets, this is particularly important when considering which provider to use.


Reduced grid connection costs

ICPs can also help to reduce costs associated with connecting to the utility network. They can provide a cost-effective service tailored to the client’s specific needs, ensuring that they only pay for the services they require. Furthermore, by working with various DNOs and other service providers, ICPs can often negotiate better prices for their clients, resulting in further cost savings.


Technical expertise in electrical testing and commissioning

ICPs bring a high level of technical expertise to projects, ensuring connections are made safely and comply with all relevant regulations and standards. They can also provide electrical testing and commissioning services to ensure the connection is safe and reliable.


Why are Independent Connections Providers Crucial for Building Development Projects?

Independent Connections Providers such as Aptus Utilities are an invaluable resource for residential, commercial and industrial developments, providing a cost-effective and efficient service for connecting buildings to the utility network. Their expertise and technical know-how ensure that all connections are made safely and comply with applicable standards. At the same time, their flexible approach to project management can help to meet tight deadlines and budgets.

The construction industry is set to experience strong growth in the coming years, with an estimated need for an extra 225,000 workers by 2027, according to the most recent report from Construction Skills Network*. This increase in demand means that the role of Independent Connection Providers (ICPs) like Aptus Utilities is likely to become even more pivotal in ensuring that new developments are safely and efficiently connected to the utility network.



Construction Industry Training Board, C. I. T. B. (2023, January 18). CSN industry outlook – 2023-2027. CITB. Retrieved February 20, 2023, from 


Published on 13th March 2023

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