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Words by John Brignell, Advisory Services Digitalisation Lead

Governance has a key part to play as the energy sector moves into a digital age. All the most critical data and processes need a flexible governance model that can drive change quickly and efficiently.

Code governance involves managing large and complex rulebooks. This means not only providing administration services around those rulebooks, but also driving change and ensuring compliance to them. It is our job to make the complex information contained in these rulebooks simpler, more accessible and more relevant to its readers.

How have we taken on the digitalisation challenge for code governance?

We at ElectraLink see these rulebooks as something we need to reform at the foundation so that we can build a better, digital code governance model for the whole market. This means digitalising the text first to mark it up, sort it, reference it and reuse it digitally and give us the flexibility to change it easily, but also expand choice in the ways we present the information.

To drive change effectively, we need input from a diverse marketplace of stakeholders. The better these stakeholders understand the information, the more likely they are to engage, both in designing and delivering future change.

Digitalisation provides us with the opportunity to build a simple solution from a foundation of complexity. There are people who need the original, complex level of detail in the work they do, but simpler, plain English and digital versions must also be made available. This will lower barriers to entry.

Having digitalised the Smart Metering Installation Code of Practice (SMICoP).

What did we learn from SMICoP?

With SMICoP, accessibility and understanding of the code’s readers were crucial to what we needed to achieve. We realised early on that if we wanted to create simple, plain English guidance around the customer journey, we first had to create a structured and robust digital text.

As soon as we had all the complex information available at the click of a button, we could link to it and reference it anyway we wanted. On this foundation we were able to develop our bespoke solution, CodeNavigator, in order to provide an approach to navigating complex codes.

Now, when readers of the code navigated to their obligations using CodeNavigator, we ensured that there was a legal grounding to the simplified statement summaries. The digitalised version of the code was embedded and referred to in order to ensure that stakeholders have a varied immersive view of the code.

How does this apply to what we are doing now for DCUSA?

As we embark on the digital transformation of DCUSA, we have been asking ourselves how do we simplify it for readers? And how do we drive change?

This comes at a time when Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are going through a significant period of change from DNO to Distribution System Operator (DSO). A DSO-led system will include, for example, peer-to-peer transactions and Distributed Energy Resources, which will impact stakeholders across the electricity supply value chain right down to the end consumer. There has never been a more important time to have in place a digital, flexible code that can make information simpler.

We have therefore begun moving DCUSA into a digital format in order to lay the foundations for a changing landscape. Some of the more technical aspects includes the use of cross referencing to reuse content elsewhere in the document, to maintain consistency and accuracy, but also to improve navigation.

We have also developed contextual and stakeholder tags to help stakeholders find the information most relevant to them. The sky is the limit with these, but we have placed particular focus on smaller market participants who might otherwise find it harder to find information relating to them.

Follow ElectraLink’s progress in digitalising the DCUSA and developing it into a code for the future. Visit our Advisory Services page where you can learn more about our approach to digital code governance and the services we offer.