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In April 2019, the Electricity System Operator is becoming a separate company within the National Grid Group. Find out more about what this change will mean.

Transmission constraint management

Constraint management is required where the electricity transmission system is unable to transmit power to the location of demand, due to congestion at one or more parts of the transmission network. Here you can find out how to provide this service.

This service is geographically defined, so only certain providers will have the required technical capability to deliver the service.

If the system is unable to flow electricity in the way required, we will take actions in the market to increase and decrease the amount of electricity at different locations on the network.

Ahead of time contracts

We can enter into contracts to agree output with a service provider ahead of time.

  • Constraint management contracts enable us to agree in advance technical parameters with connected parties to facilitate the management of a constraint.
  • The most common style of contract is to agree either a cap or collar on the output of a power station.
    While other commercial tools are available to manage the output of a power station, constraint management contracts are considered where the cost of the action is more economic than other commercial tools.

There are multiple different styles of constraint management service that we may use to resolve a specific requirement.

Situations that can cause a transmission constraint


The energy demand cannot be met by localised generation and the flow on the circuits into that area is limited by the capacity of the circuits; or into that area is limited by the capacity of the circuits


The generation in the area is not offset by the localised demand and the flow on the circuits out of the area is limited by the capacity of the circuits

These constraints can be further broken down:


Where the amount of energy that would flow naturally from one region to another exceeds the capacity of the circuits connecting the two regions.


Where generation is needed in a particular area to support the local voltage.


Where particular circuit configurations have to be avoided because of the risk of oscillations in voltage or current.