Supporting Market Transformation
Supporting market transformation and making it easier for customers to use our services
In this section we group together the services we provide via our Customer Solution, Settlement and Invoicing, and Analysis and Insight products. We also describe activities linked to those products such as our focus on open data, changes to Market Domain Data (MDD) and the BSC Sandbox before explaining our planned work to support innovation and the move to MHH Settlement.
For each of the three products we describe the investment we are making in our systems to provide a flexible, scalable and open digital platform to meet the needs of the changing energy market. We will ensure that we continue to provide those products in an efficient and effective way.
Both our market entry service and day to day dealings with BSC Parties have to continually received high recognition in our annual survey of customer satisfaction. Similarly, the dependency and accuracy of our Settlement and invoicing service receives very positive comments from customers.
However, the technical architecture of the BSC Central Systems is now 20 years old. While it has served our customers well, it needs to be replaced and modernised to meet the needs of a decentralised energy market and maintain the high standards demanded of us. We need to make sure that the systems used by established companies and new entrants are intuitive, easy to manage and less resource intensive for our customers.
Ultimately, this will result in a much better user experience and better value for money on BSC services, for all of our customers regardless of their size.
Consequently, one of the most important areas of our work over the coming year will be continuing the deployment of our new digital platform – ‘Elexon Kinnect’. This programme started in 2019 and has formed part of our business plan and budgets for the last two years.
We have been preparing for Kinnect since 2017 when Elexon’s board approved the development of the new platform. We have made Parties and the BSC Panel aware of progress regularly. This includes our updates through circular letters to Parties from Michael Gibbons, Chair of Elexon’s board and the BSC Panel. We have also provided updates in our business plans, annual BSC meetings and through engagement with individual Parties.
As part of the implementation of Modification P344 ‘Wider Access’ in December 2019, we started delivery of Kinnect by introducing the new Settlement functionality which allows Virtual Lead Parties (VLPs) to enter the market and participate in the BM.
As explained in the Overview, we have had to prioritise the delivery of Project TERRE, ahead of the continued development of Kinnect, which has slowed down the roll out of the new platform. However, we have identified 2021 as a key year for resuming progress.
We must continue delivery of Kinnect so that it can support increased decentralisation and innovation in the energy system.
The cloud-based services that Kinnect offers can be quickly expanded and changed to manage the rapid evolution in the sector. The current BSC Systems will not support swift changes in this way, as they were designed for a centralised model. Therefore there is a significant risk that they will not be able to cope with the demands of our customers for quicker BSC rule changes, more support for innovation, and new Settlement functionality in the future.
Ultimately, deploying Kinnect will result in a much better user experience and better value for money on BSC services, for all of our customers regardless of their size.
Kinnect is a ‘cloud native’ solution comprising three parts (as shown below). A cloud-based platform has many advantages over the legacy systems we currently use. For example, Kinnect is flexible and scalable to meet the future needs of the system, made possible by the ability to rapidly change or expand the service when needed, in the cloud.
It is designed to be a resilient, modular system, enabling it to be re-configured and expanded if needed to support faster changes to code rules than is possible at present. For example, we can configure it to support many parallel BSC Sandbox trials and change individual modules without affecting the wider system. Kinnect is much more than moving existing processes into the cloud environment, it is also about recreating those processes for the future. We provide more detail in the following paragraphs, including our work on Digitising the BSC text to make the code itself more accessible (see the Rules Management section for more information).
Customer Solution: making our services more accessible to Parties
In January 2021 we launched the Customer Solution and so far the feedback from Parties has been very positive.
The Customer Solution removes the cumbersome form filling and paperwork that companies must complete either to manage their existing account, or to enter the market. For new entrants, the Customer Solution provides a simple, online process for acceding to the BSC and completing market entry.
Active companies can register new assets, register for new roles and manage their own details. For example, it will be far easier for them to make changes to ‘authorised signatories’ (colleagues within their company who are designated to make changes to the company’s BSC account) as this will be handled through an automated process.
Digitalising the BSC with Kinnect will save time and resources for our customers and also for Elexon. For example, the platform will actively feedback on tasks the companies need to complete, or assign tasks for Elexon to finalise their registration. Then, after using the online platform to accede to the BSC, participants will be able to follow a straight-forward customer journey for market entry which guides them through the required steps before they can go live as a fully qualified market participant.
- Simpler and quicker online process for entering the market replacing manual form filling
- Companies active in the market can manage their Settlement account far more easily online, including registering assets, or registering for new roles
- Quicker and better support for innovators, as Kinnect allows for multiple, concurrent ‘Sandbox’ trials
- Using cloud-based technology to develop a more comprehensive data and insights service to replace the BMRS
- We can also respond more quickly to customers’ data needs and allow them to ‘self-serve’ data requests
- Cloud-based technology allows for rapid expansion of our services when needed
- By using modular technology we can respond more quickly to deliver regulatory changes and the services our customers want
- Modular and scalable Settlement calculation systems will future proof the arrangements and help us support our customers on the way to meet net zero
- Settlement calculation data will be openly available via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
Settlement and Invoicing: Migration of Settlement calculation services to Kinnect
Settlement calculations are at the core of Elexon’s role and these processes are at the heart of the services we provide to Great Britain’s electricity market. We need to invest during 2021/2022 to migrate Settlement to Kinnect in order to future proof the arrangements so that they can serve our customers today, and in the years to come.
The Settlement Solution in Kinnect establishes several modular components, which will each access data storage and processing technologies that can be developed quickly in response to changes in market rules, without unduly impacting other services.
Currently, even routine changes to the BSC can take around a year to implement, with at least a third of that time spent carrying out testing and regression testing of the solution. This is because successive changes have been layered onto the BSC systems over the past 20 years. The modular, cloud-based technology we are using for Kinnect will help us to reduce costs and timelines for change implementation. If we do not go ahead with the Kinnect Settlement Solution there is a risk that BSC systems will not be able to keep pace with the rapid rate of change that will be needed in code rules to support net zero.
The advantage of managing BSC change with Kinnect is that it uses unique self-contained algorithms, which could be individually replaced to deliver large scale changes, or discretely modified for routine changes. All this can be done without impacting on the rest of the Settlement applications, which in turn reduces the need for the time-consuming end-to-end testing we must currently carry out to implement rule changes.
New data storage and processing technologies will also enable access to the BSC data within the Settlement calculations. This can support our initiatives to make data held by Elexon openly available via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Settlement calculations are those defined by the BSC that determine critical outputs such as BM Volumes, Imbalance Prices and each Party’s Trading Charges.The most significant calculation activity to be migrated is that which performs the daily Settlement Runs, known as the Settlement Administration Agent (SAA).
Once the legacy SAA functionality has been migrated, other BSC Agent calculation services will be migrated to the Settlement Solution, for example the Supplier Volume Allocation Agent (SVAA) activity, which aggregates Supplier metered volumes for Non Half-Hourly and Half-Hourly consumption.
In addition to the move to Kinnect, the new SVAA will incorporate the necessary changes for MHH Settlement. As requirements for the MHH Settlement solution are made clear from the outcomes of the Architecture Work Group (AWG) during 2021/22, the new solution and migration of SVAA will progress.The AWG is an Elexon-led industry workgroup developing the solution architecture required to enable the MHH Settlement Target Operating Model (TOM).
“Without Elexon’s support,the electricity industry would not move at all; no one would be able even to understand what needs to change, let alone bring about changes, other than those with decades of experience and large regulatory teams.”
Elexon customer survey 2020
Analysis and Insight: developing a new solution
A growing part of our role is to provide clear transparent, accessible energy data on the wholesale market through the BMRS, which is the industry’s ‘go to’ source of statistics on demand, generation, System Prices and other indicators.
We know from the high scores in our annual customer satisfaction survey that industry values and needs access to BMRS data and we want to ensure this service will meet the rapidly growing requirements of our customers in the future. We will continue to use this data to provide analysis on key trends for our stakeholders over the coming year, through our insights articles.
It has become increasingly difficult to make changes to the BMRS software platform at the pace we need, and to support the needs of our customers for new data or functionality. Therefore, the third pillar of Kinnect is to develop a new data and insights capability, to deliver BMRS data.
During 2021/22 we will begin work to migrate BMRS to Kinnect, which will receive, publish and process accessible data for the industry. As a cloud-based service it will leverage storage and processing capabilities at scale. In the future customers will be able to ‘self-serve’ data requests and perform ad-hoc analysis to suit their own needs, so making the insights more valuable to industry.
By the end of March 2022 we expect to be running the new platform in parallel with the existing BMRS service. We will continue the development of new capabilities such as a ‘data push’ service integration, and migrate all BMRS data and functionality across including the REMIT service.
Progress on P398 ‘Open Data’ Modification
We believe in providing open access to our data and we already provide access to BMRS data for free under an open licence. Some code administrators charge for access to their data. Previously we have only charged non-BSC Parties for access to data flows sent from BSC Systems. BSC Parties can receive these data flows for free.
Following the recommendations of the Energy Data Task Force we worked with the BSC Panel to bring forward Modification P398, which requires that all data held by Elexon is assumed to be openly available, unless the Panel decides there is a specific reason why it should not be. In February 2021, Ofgem approved implementation of P398 and therefore 2021/22 will see more BSC data being made available to more organisations free of charge. Access to open data is part of our support for progress to net zero, as it helps the development of new business models.
Managing major changes to Market Domain Data
During 2021/22 we will be overseeing the introduction of a much larger Market Domain Data (MDD) set. We manage MDD on behalf of the industry and it underpins the operation of the Supplier Volume Allocation arrangements and network charging.
We manage MDD on behalf of the industry and it underpins the operation of the Supplier Volume Allocation arrangements and network charging. It covers a range of information including Standard Settlement Configurations, Profile Classes and Grid Supply Point Groups.
Parties such as Suppliers use this reference data to register Meter Point Administration Numbers (MPANs), which are unique identification numbers for meters in the retail market. Line Loss Factor Classes (LLFCs) are associated with MDD. LLFCs are multipliers for scaling the amount of electricity that is consumed or generated to account for losses from the electricity distribution networks.
Ofgem’s TCR will result in major changes to how network charges are set, with the distribution charge aspects being introduced from April 2022. In doing this, the numbers of LLFCs in MDD will increase significantly from circa 16,000 to an estimated 35,000. The number of valid set combinations will also increase from circa 208,000 currently to approximately 470,000.
Anticipating such a major change to MDD data, from December 2020 to March 2021 we led work to develop central system and industry testing. Overall we need to provide assurances to the Supplier Volume Allocation Group, the BSC Panel and BSC Parties that adding such a large amount of new data will not pose risks to Settlement.
We have all the DNOs’ combinations approved and these will be effective from 1 April 2021. We are looking to progress the Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNO) MDD sets. On 20 January 2021 the larger DNO MDD sets went live, which included the vast majority of the changes needed to meet Ofgem’s TCR requirements. Industry testing was carried out and completed at the end of February, with central system testing due to complete by the end of March 2021. Subject to successful testing,
as agreed with the Energy Networks Association (ENA) and the IDNOs, we will look to progress their combinations in line with the ENA’s migration plans. This will ensure that all migrations can take place before the April 2022 deadline.
“Our monthly Operational Support Manager (OSM) meeting has been discursive in nature and we are confident that the feedback from our experience is being collated for consideration at expert groups and at the Performance Assurance Board (PAB).”
Elexon customer survey 2020
Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement is a key step to a smarter system
Increasing numbers of innovative businesses, both new entrants and existing companies, are bringing new technology or business models to help more consumers provide DSR.
Following the P344 ‘Wider Access’ reforms mentioned in the overview of the business plan, we have helped six independent aggregators to register for Wider Access as Virtual Lead Parties (VLP). During 2021 we expect to be supporting others through the simpler, and quicker market entry process which Kinnect provides. We have already helped six independent aggregators to register for Wider Access as Virtual Lead Parties (VLP). During 2020/21 we expect to be supporting others through the simpler, and quicker market entry process which Kinnect provides.
In April 2021 industry expects Ofgem to make its final decision on how and when to implement MHH Settlement. MHH Settlement is a once in a generation change providing the bedrock for a smarter system which promotes and rewards more consumer engagement and participation. Our Kinnect platform will support the delivery of MHH Settlement in the future.
In 2022/23 we expect to be migrating the Supplier Volume Allocation Agent (as mentioned on the Kinnect roadmap diagram on page 14). Once migrated to our new platform, the SVAA will play an important role in MHH Settlement by aggregating actual readings from Half Hourly Meters.
MHH Settlement, coupled with the use of smart meters, will enable a range of innovations that will benefit our customers and energy consumers. In addition, more granular information on usage through MHH Settlement will help companies to fine tune existing products and services, or develop new ones such as the next generation of ‘time-of-use’ tariffs. It will also help us to deliver faster, more accurate Settlement and reduce the timescales to close out a Settlement period from 14 months to just four months. This will reduce the risk for our customers as they will know how much they are either owed, or will have to pay in Settlement charges far more quickly and will allow them to close their own financial ledgers earlier. It will also accelerate Settlement calculations so that a company’s exposure (and therefore its need to provide collateral) can be reduced.
“Elexon’s Operational Service Management is a level above other codes. Elexon’s staff have a fundamental grasp of the data and challenges faced by Suppliers and are able to provide practical support and suggestions beyond the standard regulatory body.”
Elexon customer survey 2020
Continuing our role in leading industry work to prepare for MHH Settlement
We are leading two industry working groups on behalf of Ofgem which are dedicated to further developing the Design Working Group’s preferred MHH Settlement Target Operating Model (TOM). Ofgem gave its preliminary approval to the TOM in October 2019.
The Code Change and Development Group (CCDG) is identifying the changes needed to electricity codes to support MHHS. In December 2020 we published the CCDG’s consultation on the detailed areas of the TOM design and the expected code impacts. We are now analysing the responses. Subsequent CCDG milestones will include a consultation in Q2 2021 on the detailed transition approach, a consultation in Q1 2022 on the specific red-lined changes to impacted codes, and a final report to Ofgem in Q2 2022.
The AWG is developing a reference architecture to support the implementation of the TOM which will set the framework for suitable data integration that is appropriate to the new MHHS services. In Q2 2021, we will publish an AWG consultation on the reference architecture before making a final recommendation to Ofgem later this year.
Both the CCDG and AWG workstreams are critical to the success of MHH Settlement, as they will ensure that the optimal processes and architecture are put in place to support the biggest overhaul to the electricity retail market since the 1998 reforms. We are proud to have taken on this responsibility.
MHH Settlement industry wide implementation
Ofgem has identified a need for a Settlement PM for MHHS implementation and it has proposed that Elexon fulfils this role.
Having led the design of the TOM, we believe we are the right organisation to manage delivery of MHHS. This is because we can draw on our 20 years’ of experience in successfully managing Settlement arrangements and their development, our proven track record of delivering major industry reforms and our reputation for excellent
customer service, with an emphasis on quality delivery.
If approved by Ofgem, Modification P413 will enable Elexon to provide the PM role. P413 is due to go to Ofgem for decision in mid-March 2021.
Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement isa key step towards a smarter system
MHH Settlement is an enabler for innovations
Supporting faster more accurate settlement
Elexon is leading industry workgroups to prepare for MHH Settlement
Our BSC Sandbox is now available and progressing applications
MHH Settlement is an enabler for innovation and we are pleased that we can now offer our BSC Sandbox service. Alongside MHH Settlement and changes to the BSC, the Sandbox could play an important part in helping BSC Parties and new entrants develop new, innovative products and services.
The Sandbox allows innovators and entrepreneurs to trial their concepts in a live market environment, without having to meet all the usual BSC rules. Providing a safe space for trials is important if we are to meet the net zero challenge. We were the first code administrator to develop a service of this kind, following approval of P362 in August 2018. However, our Sandbox service has only been officially available since July 2020, following completion of Ofgem’s review of their innovation support services.
We were pleased to publish the first consultation in February 2021 on an application to use the Sandbox. Emergent Energy proposes to trial proprietary technology to perform an ‘on-site aggregation’ calculation on private wire networks. The BSC Panel will then review the proposal and any industry feedback before making a recommendation to Ofgem. Ofgem makes the final decision on whether Sandbox trials can go ahead.
We believe that the Sandbox is a really exciting opportunity for BSC Parties and new entrants to trial their innovation proposals. Emergent Energy is one of a number of companies that have made proposals to use the Sandbox and we look forward to working with all of them to progress their plans.
An important part of our service is to respond quickly to the needs of customers. The lockdown measures introduced in March 2020 caused a sudden reduction in demand from businesses and a significant drop in the volumes of electricity sold by Suppliers.
In the absence of meter readings, Suppliers faced Settlement costs based on historic consumption that did not reflect these lower energy volumes. They also faced scrutiny under the BSC Performance Assurance regime for securing sufficient meter reads.
We worked quickly with the BSC Panel and the Panel’s Performance Assurance Board (PAB) to put in place temporary measures to ease the burden on Suppliers. The time taken from discussing the issues with industry to implementing the measures was only 10 days.
The measures were:
- Derogations allowing Suppliers to provide estimated consumptions for use in Settlement that reflect the realities of the lockdown
- Suspending Error and Failure Resolution (EFR) targets
- Suspending the charges Suppliers would normally face if they do miss certain Settlement performance targets.
The consumption estimation derogation was due to end on 31 December 2020. However, shortly after the Government announced a second lockdown in November, the PAB concluded this derogation should continue for the foreseeable future. The derogation on Settlement performance targets is also still in force. Therefore only the requirement to meet EFR targets has resumed.
Overall, this emphasises our commitment to continue our support of industry. If there is a clear case for stepping in again to help Parties, then we will do so swiftly. We are pleased that in the results of our 2020 customer survey, there was strong recognition for our support in managing the impact of COVID-19.
BSC Rules Management
Elexon’s Rules Management covers:
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Our governance of the BSC, including the support we give to the BSC Panel in delivering its strategy, and to the Panel’s Committees
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Our management of the BSC rule change process via Modifications, Change Proposals and Issues
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Our plans to use technology to make the BSC and Code Subsidiary Documents more interactive, customisable and searchable
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Continuing to make the case for code consolidation and reform of central services
Helping and supporting BSC Parties and stakeholders to develop proposals to modify the BSC and then managing implementation of those changes is one of the most important contributions we can make to our customers. It also makes sure the BSC plays its part in meeting the net zero challenge.
Our priorities for BSC rules management in the coming year are to continue working on BSC changes whether they are required to meet regulatory deadlines, to open up new market opportunities for BSC Parties or to address routine changes. In the following paragraphs we describe some of these Modifications.
Modifications required by major regulatory initiatives
Modification P402 ‘Enabling reform of residual network charging as directed by the Targeted Charging Review (TCR)’.
This change introduces new reporting requirements on Licensed Distribution System Operators (LDSOs) and Elexon to provide data to National Grid ESO in line with Ofgem’s TCR reforms. We expect that this change will be implemented in the February 2022 release
Modifications P344 ‘Project TERRE’ and P407 ‘Project MARI’ (Manually Activated Reserve Initiative)
Now that the Brexit Implementation Period has finished there is no premise in the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) for GB’s participation in TERRE or MARI.
We are working with National Grid ESO to assist with determining the next steps for Project TERRE. National Grid ESO is undertaking a cost-benefit-analysis to explore whether to implement a GB-only Replacement Reserve (RR) product, and this is due to complete late spring/early summer 2021. We have finalised our work on testing Settlement systems to support Project TERRE. This ensures that we can resume work at a later date if this is required.
Following conversations with Ofgem, ‘P407 ‘Project MARI’ and the corresponding Grid Code Modification (GC045) were withdrawn in early February to reflect that is no requirement to implement MARI in GB.
Modification P410 ‘Changing imbalance price calculations to comply with the Imbalance Settlement Harmonisation regulations
is also linked to the implementation of European regulations. They require a new parameter, Value of Avoided Activation of balancing energy’ (VOAA), based on available actions, to be used in imbalance price calculations. Throughout 2021 we will be working to ensure that P410 can be implemented around December 2021 before the compliance deadline in January 2022.
Modifications which build on progress to net zero
We continue to support industry with the adaptation of the BSC so it progresses towards a smarter, more flexible electricity system. Such changes are a growing area of activity for Elexon as can be seen from previous Modifications, and those Modifications still in flight. More are expected in order to achieve net zero.
Modification P375 ‘Settlement of Secondary BM Units using metering at the asset’ has seen us working closely with a VLP and the industry to enable data from asset meters fitted at units behind the boundary point to be submitted into Settlement. It could have a transformative effect on the energy system by offering DSR providers and other small asset owners more opportunities to provide balancing services. The reforms would also give LDSOs more accurate control of their networks, allowing them to dispatch assets with more efficiency. There has been strong support for these reforms during the Workgroup phase. P375 was approved by Ofgem in February 2021 for implementation in June 2022.
Modification P415 ‘Facilitating access to wholesale markets for flexibility dispatched by Virtual Lead Parties’ follows on from the Wider Access reforms. It would amend the BSC so that consumers offering DSR can trade this in the wholesale electricity market through a VLP, rather than through their Supplier. P415 anticipates using processes developed through the implementation of P375 to obtain and use data from asset meters. During 2021 we plan to complete the work with the Workgroup and bring the Modification to the Panel for its views. A date has not been set for implementation.
Modification P379 ‘Multiple Suppliers through Meter Splitting’ proposed to change the BSC so that meters can account for two different supplies of consumption. The change was withdrawn by the proposed (GridBeyond) after independent analysis (requested by the Panel) showed that the costs for implementing it would significantly outweigh the benefits.
We would like to thank all industry parties for their dedication and insights that have supported development of the proposal. There are important learnings from the development process for P379, which we now plan to compile and publish. We hope these learnings will assist in development and proposals for future BSC changes and
wider energy policy.
Code consolidation and simplification
There is a clear need to consolidate the codes landscape so that it is easier to navigate for both existing and new energy companies. Without reform, the current arrangements could slow down progress to net zero as the change process for the codes is lengthy and cumbersome. Having 11 codes, managed by six administrators does not lend itself to making widespread, cross-industry changes which will be needed. However, a review of codes by Ofgem and
BEIS has made limited progress so far.
Following the Energy White Paper, published in December, it is expected that the Government will consult later this year on energy code governance arrangements, and review the organisational structure for the electricity SO. Ofgem has also recommended to Government that an independent body is set up to carry out the electricity SO role. This body would be completely separate from National Grid.
Together with system operation, the energy codes form the core of central services for the energy system. We believe it is right for the future of the SO roles to be considered alongside reforms for code arrangements. In our latest Policy View we have outlined options for reforms. We believe the gas and electricity SOs could be merged, and a ‘market operator’ could be created as a single body to manage all energy codes. In our view, this will help progress to net zero by promoting better management of the energy system.
Making it easier for customers to interact with the BSC
Until reforms for the code arrangements are in place, our goal is to speed up the BSC change process and make it as easy as possible for our customers to interact with the BSC and understand how the rules impact on them. Typically it takes eight months for a BSC Modification to be developed and sent to Ofgem for a decision. We generally schedule approved changes into three system ‘releases’ per year so that they are implemented in a co-ordinated way. To make better use of resources by Elexon, the industry and Ofgem, we want to reduce incidences where industry develops BSC changes which are not then approved by Ofgem.
Ofgem’s current practice is to wait until it receives a recommendation from a code panel on a Modification before deciding whether to approve it. It would be better if Ofgem was able to make its views known earlier in the process.
We are looking to establish a cross electricity sector change group to strategically review and manage change to industry systems, so that there is more detailed forward planning of Modifications and the changes necessary to enact Significant Code Review reforms.
“ Elexon are supportive, professional and are experts within their relevant fields.”
Elexon customer survey 2020
Digitising the BSC
We recognise that the BSC and its subsidiary documents are complex. That is why each of its sections are supported with a simple guide and we also provide numerous guidance notes to further aid our customers. We have been working to digitise the BSC documents so that they are more accessible. During 2020 we investigated technology options and explored our customers’ needs. In 2021 we plan to deliver our first version of the digitised code and to work closely with stakeholders to ensure they are seeing the full benefit.
This will be achieved in phases, focusing on elements that will deliver the most value first. By making best use of this technology we will help our customers to ‘selfserve’ and get quicker answers to their questions. It will also reduce the amount of time our colleagues spend on updating code rules manually, increasing our efficiency and ability to implement change more quickly.
“Our monthly Operational Support Manager (OSM) meeting has been discursive in nature and we are confident that the feedback from our experience is being collated for consideration at expert groups and at the Performance Assurance
Elexon customer survey 2020
Elexon offers an ‘end-to-end’ management service for the BSC. As well as managing Settlement accurately 24/7, we help companies enter the market, support them once they are active in it, and help them exit the market if they need to. We also manage the BSC rule change process and compliance with the rules.
Having this ‘end-to-end’ oversight gives us the depth of knowledge and expertise to help industry, the Government and Ofgem develop the solutions and new arrangements that are essential if we are to achieve net zero.
Our new structure is built on Elexon being a customer centric organisation. Under it, customer service is encompassed in all that we provide and the way in which we deliver it.
To deliver the end-to-end service we want to continually improve our relationship with customers and our understanding of their needs and the issues they face. We came top of Ofgem’s 2019 energy code administrators’ performance survey for the third year in a row, with 86% of respondents saying they are satisfied with our performance. The survey was carried out for Ofgem between May and August 2019 by independent researchers, based on feedback from more than 200 industry stakeholders.
Due to COVID-19, Ofgem did not conduct the energy code administrators’ performance survey for 2020. However, we have not let our standards slip. Every year we conduct our own survey of customer satisfaction using an independent consultancy to contact our customers and in 2020, despite having to work remotely we are delighted with the results which showed high customer satisfaction scores, particularly relating to the change process and our communications. The survey also showed our customers’ very positive reaction to our COVID-19 response and changes made to performance assurance.
To help us deliver an improved service for customers in the coming years, we are trialling the use of a customer relationship management (CRM) system internally. We are doing this to evaluate whether the system would help to further improve our engagement with, and understanding of, our customers and their needs.
New corporate website and improvements to www.elexon.co.uk
In September 2020 we launched a new website www.elexon.com to demonstrate what Elexon can offer the wider electricity and energy industry, over and above the day-to-day running of the BSC. We also overhauled www.elexon.co.uk so that this site’s content concentrates on the BSC such as the change process, BSC operations and Settlement. Meanwhile we continue to publish Settlement data and industry information on the Elexon Portal and on the BMRS.
On www.elexon.com you can find more high level information about Elexon’s role in the market, how we work, our governance arrangements and our senior leadership team. We also provide information on what Elexon is like as a place to work, together with links to our corporate reports and policy views.
We have introduced more functionality to www.elexon.co.uk. Users now have the option to switch on our new glossary function for key pages on our website to quickly understand a term on a page by hovering over an underlined word. Customers can still click through to the respective glossary pages if required. This is the first phase of work to make the glossary a much more effective tool for customers.
Following feedback from our customers and stakeholders, we have introduced ‘plain English’ explanations as we recognise that many of the formal definitions use very legalistic or technical descriptions. This also helps us to meet our commitments as members of the Plain English campaign.
We have also made enhancements to the site-search facility and will continue to introduce improvements to the BSC website during 2021/2022, responding to feedback from our customers and stakeholders. We were delighted that our improvements were recognised by our customers in our 2020 annual customer survey where these improvements to our website and other communication channels saw higher satisfaction scores and positive comments.
Voice of the Customer
We are enhancing our response to customer feedback and continuing to look at how we can better deliver our services to meet customer needs.
Our focus will be to follow up on requests made by our customers, investigate the viability of the request and implement improvements to our services. We are also keen to involve our customers in seeing how our products could be enhanced. We will set up workshops, user groups and feedback mechanisms to obtain customer views on this.
In essence the Voice of the Customer approach will make sure that we have a more consistent, detailed and methodical response to customer feedback.
Operational Support Managers (OSMs)
Our customers have always been positive about our OSM service, where each BSC Party has a dedicated Elexon colleague who works with them to resolve issues, manage Settlement performance, engage in the change process and generally assist our customers.
We are looking to further boost that capability and promote a greater understanding within our OSMs of their customers’ businesses and the challenges they face. In this way we expect this relationship and cooperation to strengthen for the benefit of our customers and Elexon.
Continuing to deliver leading customer service through our People Strategy
We depend on the expertise, dedication and knowledge of all Elexon colleagues to continue our high standards of customer service. In our annual satisfaction survey our customers continually tell us how much they value our expertise and personnel. As the energy system changes, so too will the needs of our customers, which is why we were pleased to recruit a Chief People Officer, Geraldine Buckland, to our Executive team earlier in 2020. She has been leading the development of our people strategy for 2020 to 2025.
Our people strategy aims to retain and attract colleagues so that we can maintain our high customer service standards and deliver the products that you have read about in our business plan, over the next and in subsequent years. As our customers are aware, we provide more than rules administration and rule change services, we are also responsible for the underlying systems that deliver those rules and the changes to those systems to enable market development and innovation. That means that as well as requiring talented people with energy and markets expertise, we also need individuals with technology experience and delivery capability, both of which are in high demand despite the current economic uncertainties.
Our vision is to create the leading provider of essential market services to the GB energy sector by 2025, for the benefit of market participants and their customers. Our people strategy therefore sets the direction for ensuring that all Elexon colleagues are geared up to help us deliver that vision and meet the challenges of the future energy system.
Supporting diversity and the well-being of our staff
We want Elexon to be a great place to work for all of our colleagues and we are committed to supporting diversity and equal opportunities across the organisation.
We have set up a diversity and inclusion forum where Elexon colleagues volunteer their time to discuss, agree and put into practice changes to our ways of working to further inclusion, equality and diversity. This includes training on understanding unconscious bias and reviewing the accessibility of employment in Elexon (including for people with visible and non-visible disabilities).
We have a strong focus on the well-being of all of our colleagues. During 2021 we will continue to promote advice from the Mental Health Foundation (one of the two charities our staff have chosen to raise money for between January 2020 and January 2021). We have also trained a number of volunteers from across each of the
directorates, including two of the Executive team, to become Mental Health First aiders to help members of staff who may need support. We viewed this initiative as ever more important with the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions and the impact on staff wellbeing. During 2021/22 we aim to sign up to the Mental Health at Work Commitments.
“Very good industry awareness and knowledge and good understanding of the role within the energy market. They have a good grasp of the industry.”
Elexon customer survey 2020