Network companies must make data from smart trials public


Gas and electricity companies working on smart grid projects must publicly share the data that emerges from them, Ofgem has decided.

The regulator has made a number of rule changes to the Network Innovation Competition, under which it allocates funding to network companies to try new technologies and methodologies. The aim is to try and find smarter ways of operating the UK’s gas and power networks.

As well as formalising the requirement for network operators to publicly share data – not just project learnings – the regulator has also cut the amount of funding for electricity companies available via the competition by a third. Until 2023 the amount available to electricity bidders will be £40m/year.

Meanwhile, Ofgem has also removed the bonus for successful project delivery, considering it unnecessary given network operators are already gaining from the projects. From next year, network companies cannot reclaim the costs of putting together their bids for funding. Additionally, projects commencing from 1 April 2017 will not benefit from a so-called contingency funding mechanism, meaning that if they over run or under deliver, the network won’t be allowed to clawback costs.

While most of the changes affect only gas and electricity distribution companies, the push to open data from smart grid trials could represent a significant opportunity for those developing smart technologies, many of whom struggle to access sufficient volumes of project data.

See the notice here.

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