Ofgem announces extension of mandatory move to half-hourly settlement for all consumers


An Smart Meter In Soft LightA monumental project that’s been facing the business energy world over the last few months is the switch to half-hourly settlement (HHS) for almost all customers. Now, the remaining customers – including smaller businesses and domestic consumers – are being told they will need to come on board as well. Opus Energy outlines what that means for businesses in this sponsored post.

Up until now, only Profile Classes 5-8 have been affected by P272, the set of Ofgem regulations designed to bring the buying, transport and selling of electricity closer into alignment. Starting autumn 2015, almost all non-domestic customers with half-hourly capable meters began making the switch, starting with those whose contracts were coming up for renewal.

No supplier has been exempt from this mass-migration of customers, so it’s fair to say this has been no small feat for the UK energy industry.

Now, Ofgem has announced the start of an extension of the regulations to include Profile Classes 1-4. This means that all energy usage data from domestic and the remaining non-domestic classes (Unrestricted and Economy 7) will soon move to being measured half-hourly, overhauling electricity settlement arrangements in Great Britain as we know them.

Intentions are to open a Significant Code Review into how the rest of the country should be moved, which will culminate in a two-phase plan: firstly, to remove any barriers to elective HHS for any suppliers who want to embrace it early on. Secondly, the mandatory stages of HHS will be rolled out to ensure all customers receive the full benefits of the changes.

While all UK suppliers have been busy instigating the changes of the initial HHS demands, a few have foreseen this P272 progression and rolled up their sleeves to ensure they are prepared for the extra workload.

For Opus Energy, anticipating and preparing for this move was a matter of importance to ensure that transitioning would be smooth both within the company infrastructure and for the customers experiencing changes to their billing. With this foresight, and by partnering with IMServ, it has been able to design a supremely streamlined and efficient process.

A key part of this was identifying industry processes that both the half-hourly and non-half-hourly areas utilise and using them as a baseline for a custom-designed program. Most importantly, the process was designed to be scalable, allowing them to easily meet Ofgem’s new requirements and cause as little disruption to the customer as possible.

Whether or not your supplier is prepared for the additional requirements coming in the near future, we can in the meantime look to what to expect as Ofgem kicks off the code review.

A full cost benefit analysis can be expected initially, vetting any possible options for reducing future costs. For example, alternative design options for HHS will be considered, such as a centralised entity responsible for data collection and data aggregation. Further to this, a recommendation will be made to remove any potential barriers to suppliers collecting consumption data more granular than daily without explicit consent.

While suppliers and customers alike may feel the pain in the short term, the longer term view promises to bring more accurate billing, and potentially lower costs. Suppliers already purchase energy in half-hour blocks, turning around and selling them in the same increments is a logical next step. Getting there, however, will be the challenge.

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