Highlights from the DTS Smaller Supplier Forum

July 12, 2016

ElectraLink was delighted to host our electricity and gas-supply customers at the DTS Smaller Supplier Forum on June 28th, to review key industry changes and engage in an overall Data Transfer Service review.

Delegates discussed topics of data transfer, Ofgem’s Faster Switching initiative, the recent CMA consultation and status of SMART metering. Delegates shared queries and experiences, answered each other’s questions on specific applications, and provided feedback on our technology solutions.

ElectraLink works hard to achieve customer excellence and continually reviews our services for opportunities to enhance our capabilities. Feedback received during the day was recorded and fed into our review process. Here are some highlights from the day.

1. Finding Information Specific to Smaller Suppliers

A large area of concern for Smaller Suppliers in the UK Energy market is the abundant amounts of information from industry that directly affects their business processes, either from a data or code governance perspective. ElectraLink can support smaller suppliers, with limited resources or operational expertise, in the following ways:

– Communicate with Smaller Suppliers regularly in a streamlined manner, on areas relevant to them. For example, some delegates suggested that they would benefit from a list of the 30 most important flows for electricity suppliers.
– Some business processes are not fully understood by all suppliers at a technical level and the DTS may already provide useful tools to help if Smaller Suppliers were made aware of them.

– Within our DTS Portal, expected to be launched in 2017, we envisage our customers accessing short FAQs to explain technical aspects relating to data transfer, in a non-technical manner. This will particularly help smaller suppliers translate the business process successfully into understanding related technical set-up.

2. Awareness of Services Available

Delegates explained that it is difficult to understand the functions of all bodies in industry and how they operate with one another as well as the services they provide, primarily due to lack of resources within their organisations. ElectraLink helps to provide clarity in the following ways:

– In order to help with these suppliers more effectively operate in a complex industry, ElectraLink can Increase the visibility of all our service offerings. For example, it took one delegate a number of months to find out that ElectraLink has an electronic DUoS-ebilling service (D2021 flow) which replaces paper bills between DNOs and suppliers.

– DTS Welcome Pack: Prior to the meeting, we had developed a DTS Welcome Pack, which includes a series of documents to provide more accessible information about our services, incorporating a series of infographics to help explain what we do. Also included in the pack is a Service Catalogue of both regulated and commercial services as well as our Training Catalogue which includes courses for how to use the tools available to you.

– We are currently developing an RGMA catalogue which will be available soon.

3. DCC Connection and SMART Metering for smaller suppliers

Currently, suppliers are at various stages of their SMART meter roll-out programmes with the lead being taken by some of the larger suppliers and some niche, challenger brands. Delegates explained that they are at various design stages of their programmes and some are not yet ready to roll-out this industry change.

Most attendees are not yet making a decision on how to connect to the DCC, however they are considering all options becoming available soon. A number of delegates agreed that ElectraLink should consider a regulated offering for connecting smaller parties to the DCC on a regulated basis in order to share the cost of DCC adaptors between multiple suppliers. ElectraLink can also keep our customers up to date with information.

4. Visibility of DTS Usage

Smaller Suppliers expressed an interest in having visibility of their DTS usage directly from the DTS, regardless of the various third party service providers who manage DTS usage on their behalf. A number of delegates said that it would be useful to have a better understanding of the link between their business processes and the use of the DTS. In order to better understand the technical aspects of their operations, they would welcome visibility of audit data relating to their own flows across the network.

We explained that this can be achieved through an additional RUG connection where access to the audit tool can be provided. ElectraLink encourages all DTS Users to have visibility of how third parties are using the DTS on their behalf and we can teach customers how to use Webtools and see audit information relating to their data flows.

5. Industry Change

Ofgem’s Faster Switching programme: delegates wanted to know more about our involvement, and what technology solutions were being proposed by Ofgem. Delegates felt they could benefit from more information to prepare them for this coming change, but it was difficult to engage with Ofgem on these topics. They had unanswered questions on how to identify the amount of resource and investment necessary to implement this change. ElectraLink can assist in the following ways:

– Delegates suggested that ElectraLink could be more communicative about all our involvement in industry changes and consultation processes. Industry changes at large and those specific to data transfer need to be better communicated with customers from ElectraLink, so we can help keep customers informed and provide insight where needed. Delegates referred to Gemserv’s transformation group on CACoP, asking ElectraLink’s involvement and if we were doing anything similar?
For questions regarding any of the above, please contact our Helpdesk at 020 7432 3012 or helpdesk@electralink.co.uk

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