Electricity North West has joined a trial of a new online marketplace for local flexibility called Piclo Flex.

The company is the third distribution network operator (DNO) to sign up after UK Power Networks and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks.

Cara Blockley, central services manager at Electricity North West, said: “We are delighted to join the Piclo Flex consortium. An online platform could lower barriers and increase participation in this important new service needed by the industry.

“Our energy landscape is evolving at a rapid pace and as an organisation, we are absolutely committed to the transition to a low carbon economy. As such, it’s vital that we play a central role in facilitating this transition both in the North West and across the UK.”

Piclo Flex is an offshoot from a peer-to-peer energy trading platform called Piclo which Open Utility launched in 2015. The platform is being rebranded as Piclo Engage, whilst Open Utility has taken the name Piclo.

The company was awarded more than £400,000 last year by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to develop Piclo Flex.

A limited number of battery operators and demand-side response aggregators – including Ovo Energy, Open Energy, Powervault and Moixa – were invited to register their assets with the marketplace from June. The DNOs participating in the trial have also registered the geographical areas in which they expect to require flexible capacity.

Piclo co-founder and chief executive James Johnston, said: “We are excited to welcome Electricity North West to the growing number of DNOs who are trialling the platform.

“We hope to demonstrate how better visibility of flexible assets and streamlining of procurement processes through our platform can lead to better outcomes and more efficient operation of the grid.”

Trading is expected to begin shortly, although Piclo was unwilling to give a date. The company has previously said it hopes to launch the marketplace on a commercial basis next year.