UK Power Networks has announced plans to hold a £12 million auction to procure flexibility services in the South East and East of England.

The services will be used to manage local network constraints during periods of peak demand and thereby avoid the need for more expensive upgrades to the power grid.

The distribution network operator (DNO) is looking to buy flexibility services at 28 locations from winter 2019 onwards. The auction will be held on the online platform Piclo Flex and will take place in late March. Potential bidders have until 12 march to register.

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, head of smart grid development at UK Power Networks, said: “It is early days for the flexibility market, but we’re fully committed to it because we know that it’s the right thing to do for our customers.

“The sums we’re investing will ultimately save customers money by extending the life of our existing infrastructure.”

UK Power Networks was the first DNO in Great Britain to join Piclo Flex. All six have now signed up, with Western Power Distribution being the last.