We find ourselves approaching the end of another year of uncertainty in a global post-pandemic society. As the demand for digital innovation persists, ElectraLink has flourished this year thanks to the ground laid through our data-first strategy, as well as our collective dedication to delivering world-class data provision and analysis to the UK energy market and beyond including our first European contract.
Now, a challenging yet exciting 2024 business plan means there is a lot to look forward to in the year ahead.
Despite a year of continuing price uncertainty for global energy markets, ElectraLink has maintained a steady drive of ongoing service and new business development.
As our founding responsibility, the Data Transfer Service (DTS) allows energy market participants to meet their licence conditions and facilitate smooth processes for all GB energy users’ benefit. The DTS delivery and performance this year was as stable, secure, and reliable as ever. From December 2022 to November 2023, more than 2.6Tb of data was successfully sent across the DTS. ElectraLink’s DTS Operations team innovated with many customers to resolve technological challenges and build new solutions for greater efficiency and value-for-money while keeping the cogs of data transfer turning.
Always preparing for and supporting change in the energy industry, ElectraLink has spent considerable time on new projects this year to ready us for customer needs in the future.
In 2022, we had already begun planning and engagement for HHSConnect – the adaptor solution for customers to connect their systems with the Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement (MHHS) programme’s Data Integration Platform (DIP). This year saw HHSConnect development and testing on various levels, followed by impressive results with speed, scalability and security. Our first customers are already integrated with HHSConnect thanks to the development team’s dedication and expertise in preparing customers for DIP requirements.
We have also launched GoSmart – an adaptor that draws smart meter data straight from the DCC. Hot on the heels of a burgeoning market of intelligent data use cases, GoSmart will provide highly granular and near real-time HH data to a range of customers. This will support even more accurate quoting, forecasting, modelling and more. The unique strength of GoSmart is the combination of DCC access with ElectraLink’s existing dataset meaning we are a one-stop shop for data access regardless of the type or operating status of the customer’s meter.
The development and launch of GoSmart sits among a wider ambition for ElectraLink to forge an industry with open data, smooth customer journeys, innovative business models and lower costs for everyone especially consumers. Our key commercial API solutions – QuoteRight, QuoteBusiness and MeterReader – have supported many organisations with legally compliant site-level consumption data. The use cases explored in 2023 included consumer apps, property management, and the always-popular energy tariff quoting. Energy market data feeding into these use cases is achieving our ambition and allowing digitalisation to permeate many sectors.
In recognition of our efforts to achieve this ambition, ElectraLink won Data Vendor of the Year at the British Data Awards. This achievement marked our first significant instance of peer recognition outside of the energy sector as we were shortlisted alongside tech giants, household names in utilities, respected non-profits, and future-focused local authorities throughout the country. It was also spectacular to be shortlisted for this and another award in the company of our shareholder organisations and with many contributing employees at the ceremony.
Another key success which marked 2023 as a milestone year for ElectraLink was achieving the “outstanding company to work for” title from Best Companies. We secured two out of three stars from Best Companies ranking us among some of the best employers in the UK based on feedback from employees in an anonymous survey. To receive this accreditation in the same year as we formally adopted the four-day working week and started implementing an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy proves we are taking actions that matter to employees and make ElectraLink a fantastic place to work.
The strategy for 2024 is set and ElectraLink is prepared to deal with surprise and anticipated challenges from stakeholders to continue the country’s progress towards Net Zero 2050.
As the MHHS transition moves along, we will be on hand to support customers with their own preparations. HHSConnect is maturing alongside the DIP programme and currently stands as a market-leading solution for MHHS parties to connect their systems via this central hub. A technical option in this adaptor solution is for customers to use their existing DTS connections to link with the DIP, and this effective approach is encouraged to keep costs low for the MHHS transition.
The DTS itself will see more changes next year as ElectraLink transforms the service to be ready for its continuing role in market-wide data integration alongside the DIP from 2027. Greater use of APIs and cloud technology in DTS processes proves that this 25-year-old service is updated and improved to ensure that it meets the needs of market data transfer through to 2030 and beyond.
After significant investment in EMPRIS – ElectraLink’s data-driven insights and visualisation platform – in 2023, the platform will undergo more improvements and be made available to more stakeholders imminently. Already delivering regular insights and results to Ofgem and DESNZ, EMPRIS will help customers in the energy market better understand the trends and performance around them and help with data led decision-making. There are a number of challenges in the market currently and I think that organisations such as ElectraLink have a fundamental role to play in supporting improvement to both lower costs to consumers and to drive ahead on the journey to Net Zero.
Internally, ElectraLink will build on the progress made in EDI and employee feedback. Driven by the EDI and Employee Forums, new policies and benefits are being considered and will make ElectraLink more welcoming for all employees and their career ambitions.
2023 has been both highly challenging and highly enjoyable. 2024 promises to be the same if not better. New energy market challenges are emerging constantly, and I believe the coming year will test our planning and motivate my colleagues inside and outside ElectraLink to listen to, work with, and deliver a fantastic experience to our customers in homes and businesses in Britain.
Words by Dan Hopkinson, CEO