The New Year is an important time to reflect on the year gone by and look ahead to another year -that I already know will be one of growth and transformation for ElectraLink.
2018 represented a really important year for us at ElectraLink. Not only did it mark the 20th anniversary of us being at the heart of the energy industry, it also represented a year of substantial growth. That growth saw us not only increase our headcount by 46% but also saw us substantially expand our remit.
Our Governance Services’ continued to play a significant role in code governance and code management for the energy industry, but 2018 also saw their further expansion into the gas market. This included winning a contract to assist the Gas Safety Trust (GST), CORGI Services Limited (CORGI) and Gas Industry Safety Group (GISG) to improve health and safety awareness among industry and consumers. Despite this expansion we continued to deliver an excellent level of customer service to the codes we manage, in fact SPAA and DCUSA were scored as the most improved in Ofgem’s second cross-code survey on code administrators’ performance.
2018 was also a year of transformation for the DTS, including being confirmed as the energy industry interface into the new central switching systems, as well as the launch of a number of new tools on the DTS, including Flow Builder and FlowAlert.
The process of re-procurement of the DTS began in earnest, which will be completed in the early part of this year and bring with it new levels of capability and opportunity for innovation whilst maintaining the stability and excellent customer service that our customers are accustomed to. I am excited to see how that develops over the coming year and how our unique data set comes to be used to improve the energy industry going forward. I am sure there are innovations that will come through the DTS evolving into the Energy Market Data Hub (EMDH) that we are yet to even consider.
2018 was also a year of firsts for ElectraLink. Working with Western Power Distribution (WPD) and IBM we have launched a project to use our unique dataset and AI to detect low carbon technologies on WPD’s network. This is our first innovation project with a DNO, and we hope to build on this success in 2019. We also launched our first API with British Gas that simplifies the process of switching for customers and ensures a greater level of accuracy for billing and the setting up of Direct Debits. The list goes on.
My sense at the start of 2019 is one of expectation, the expectation of radical change ahead both in the energy retail and networks worlds. It will not surprise you that our 2019 business plan reflects this. ElectraLink is very much focused on growth but it does require careful management, so we stay focussed on changing customer needs in a transforming energy market.
I am excited to see our new office that will be opening this year in Nottingham. This facility will allow us to tap into a pool of talent which is not located in the South East and provide a more central location for us to interact with our customer base, across all the company’s business units.
We will have our hands full in Q1, finalising the procurement of the service provider to deliver the EMDH. The EMDH will be launched in April at the first of two customer engagement days that ElectraLink will be running this year. (I hope to see you there). These days are a great opportunity for our team to interact with the people and companies that we serve.
We will be focusing in 2019 on growing ElectraLink’s API offering which allows third party systems to access market data, often facilitating innovative services, whilst maintaining appropriate governance of personal information.
Finally, in 2019 I expect to see the evolution of the role of the DCUSA code and the greater use of DTS data by DNO operational teams as they grapple with the challenges of becoming a system operator. This is a very exciting development for ElectraLink which I will update you on in future blogs.