ElectraLink’s customers are leading transformation of the energy market more determinedly than ever. Through following central policy decisions or creatively approaching business opportunities, we are seeing an untiring movement towards a market that is better for people, the economy and the environment. Some progress is fast, some is not fast enough, but all of it has meant challenging and enthralling work for me and my colleagues at ElectraLink.

We achieved success in 2023 through building relationships with numerous industry stakeholders, leaning into a fresh mission and brand, and demonstrating the range of business challenges that can be tackled with data-driven insights and solutions. Now, we are leveraging our strengths to support the market after years of turmoil, ongoing improvements, and planning for the future.

Working on the past

Man sitting at bench with laptop in foreground, four people sitting at a kitchen table smiling in background

The government’s Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) scheme saw over £26bn of taxpayer money paid to energy suppliers to subsidise household energy bills as global energy prices rose. ElectraLink is working with DESNZ and suppliers to provide settlement data for the period that the EPG scheme ran, approximately October 2022 until June 2023. This settlement data is acquired through BAU operation of the Data Transfer Service (DTS) and stored securely for us to provide data solutions.

This particular use case proves the far-reaching public benefit of the data we transfer and hold on the industry’s behalf. This data analysis exercise will verify suppliers’ essential role in supporting households during the cost-of-living crisis and uncover lessons for the government on how to run similar schemes more effectively in the future.

Heading into 2024, we have just attended the British Data Awards, where all the most impactful, cutting-edge and inspiring data projects, use cases and teams come together to celebrate the UK’s achievements in data. We are delighted to have been finalists for Data Vendor of the Year and BI Solution of the Year. We are even more delighted to have won Best Place to Work in Data – an accolade that everyone in ElectraLink has contributed towards!

Navy blue perspex trophy showing ElectraLink won Best Place To Work In Data

These results recognise our enduring efforts to open data access to more organisations and use cases, but also acknowledge how far we have come to make ElectraLink a great place to work. With the four-day working week as a leading employee benefit, alongside other exceptional policies and perks, we are delighted that industry peers can see our progress in the past few years and it is something we continue to prioritise and review.

Supporting industry change

In 2024, we will continue to support customers with planning and technology for Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement (MHHS) and the significant change this programme brings to interacting with other market participants via the Data Integration Platform (DIP). We had tremendous success in 2023 while testing our DIP adaptor solution, HHSConnect, which provides different strategic options for connecting to the DIP depending on customers’ unique business circumstances.

We have engaged with DTS users to showcase the business and technical value that a DTS-enabled adaptor will provide and have since signed up and onboarded our first users. ElectraLink’s cost recovery team is making great strides in supporting users through end-to-end systems integration testing. With satisfied customers onboard, we encourage other DTS users to engage with us to keep costs low and reduce each organisation’s testing burden. This will make it simpler than ever to prepare every energy business for significant data transfer change of MHHS. You can start by watching the recording of a recent webinar featuring Head of Cost Recovery Services, Rosella Jones, and Head of New Product Development, Michelle Simpson.

In addition to supporting technological change in the market, ElectraLink is working with regulatory and industry stakeholders on transforming the industry’s codes. We have done extremely well in delivering DCUSA since 2006, including digitalising it with a focus on customer needs and journeys. This work has led to ElectraLink achieving the highest customer satisfaction score in the most recent Ofgem code manager survey while delivering DCUSA at a fraction of the cost compared to other industry code experts.

A man and a woman smartly dressed sitting in orange sofa chairs opposite one another with a tall green plant in the background

Now, we are working on a code review programme to simplify the codes, speed up the change process and place the customer and net zero at the centre of decision-making. To achieve this, industry codes must be adjusted to focus on data, digitalisation and innovation.

Industry code management is a highly specialised area of the UK energy market; therefore, keeping expertise within the industry is a high priority. Code teams contain a huge amount of knowledge, and the industry must collaborate to develop a clear transition plan to ensure that knowledge is transferred, experience is protected, and people are placed at the heart of future code planning and delivery.

A flexible future

While we work with industry to prepare for the regulatory conditions of the future, we also participate in laying the groundwork for an interoperable, real-time flexibility market.

ElectraLink and other industry players provided input into Ofgem’s Future of Distributed Flexibility programme focusing on the design and implementation of digital infrastructure and its asset and user registers. This included our views on the optimal architecture, actors and their roles, and other relevant factors such as user experience, data privacy, cyber security, data quality and more.

While this programme focuses on the technical approach to connecting all corners of the flexibility system, ultimately it aims to unlock the value of flexibility technologies and networks for the net zero transition. It also aims to support a reliable energy system by limiting market fragmentation, facilitating standardisation and removing other socio-technical barriers for all industry participants.

Final thoughts

It has been an intriguing start to 2024 for ElectraLink as we build our commercial offering while continuing to support our almost 300 customers with growth, change, new technology and two of the biggest challenges of our time: decarbonisation while minimising the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. As time goes on, our role in the energy market has diverged to cover many emerging needs and we have enjoyed serving the industry across varied projects.

I am eager to engage with more industry colleagues over the next few months to learn about new developments across the energy sphere and uncover areas where ElectraLink can provide support.

My ElectraLink colleagues and I will be at Utility Week Live on 21-22 May at the NEC near Birmingham – feel free to drop by stand E12 if you’d like to have a chat.

Three people stand next to white cabinet with orange walls around

I would like to finish off with an update on changes to the ElectraLink Board. We have said farewell to Paul Bircham who has been an invaluable source of guidance and knowledge since 2021 and his enduring contribution to supporting the ElectraLink business strategy is much appreciated. I wish him all the best for pastures new. And it is with great pleasure that I welcome Jim Cardwell from Northern Powergrid and Paul Auckland from Electricity North West – their experience and industry expertise will be extremely influential in directing ElectraLink’s ambitions going forward.

All the best,