The Association for Decentralised Energy has launched an assurance scheme in a bid to improve market transparency and trust in demand-side response (DSR).
The scheme is based on the ADE’s code of conduct, which sets out minimum standards that DSR aggregators must meet to achieve Flex Assure status.
The association spent two years developing the code with industry in a bid to improve outcomes for businesses that provide flexibility either through load or generation assets.
While The Energyst’s annual DSR survey has consistently found broad satisfaction from those that provide flexibility – most of which is via aggregators – some businesses have reported bad experiences with certain aspects, such as misleading sales, lower than anticipated returns and poor dispute resolution. Businesses have also suggested that it is also difficult to compare like for like as aggregators offer different services and terms.
The Flex Assure scheme and code of conduct aim to address those aspects via a common set of standards through which businesses can compare aggregators and their claims. Through the scheme, businesses should be able to quickly understand which DSR aggregators meet minimum standards, giving them greater confidence in signing flexibility contracts. The code covers:
– Sales and marketing: requiring aggregators to provide clear, honest materials and approaches and keep records of customer communications.
– Data: members are required to adhere to rules and regulations relevant to the handling and protection of customer data.
– Proposals and pre-contractual information: all relevant benefits must be clearly laid out, any fees must be thoroughly explained and the requirements of operating within various schemes must be clearly presented.
– Customer contracts: must clearly state terms and make the customer aware of their risks, liabilities, and obligations.
– Complaints: providing standards for members to process, respond to and register complaints, the code aims to create mechanisms to resolve disputes between parties in a timely and attentive manner.
The code and assurance scheme currently applies to the non-domestic market. The ADE said it intends to extend it to the domestic market as it develops.
To date, seven firms have applied to join Flex Assure: Centrica Business Solutions, Enel X, Engie, Flexitricity, GridBeyond, Kiwi Power and nPower Business Solutions. More are expected to follow.
The Energyst will launch its annual DSR survey next month. We also conduct qualitative interviews with businesses that provide flexibility through load or generation assets and are keen to understand your experiences. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take part.