Bring on 2020 by ElectraLink Chief Executive, Stuart Lacey
Last year was a big year for ElectraLink as we navigated a busy 12 months for the rapidly changing UK energy market. The year ahead is shaping up to be no different as we prepare for the completion of some projects and the beginnings of others which will bring real, tangible benefits to our customers.
The transformation of the energy system continues in 2020 with ElectraLink driving change for the benefit of the market and consumers – rather than waiting for change to happen. Flexibility in particular is an increasingly important component of the energy system to meet the demands of decarbonisation and balancing the system. Central to the creation of an innovative flexibility market is the use of retail market data.
ElectraLink demonstrated in 2019, with the Low Carbon Technologies (LCT) Detection project, how data can be used to support the transition to a proactive and integrated DSO model, finding indications of electric vehicles and solar panels at over 15,000 properties in GB. The project has been nominated for various awards, including the 2020 Network Awards Data Project of the Year. We are continuing our work with Western Power Distribution and IBM in the form of the Virtual Monitoring Data project, the next stage of LCT Detection, along with other initiatives raised by GB DNOs, such as the DCUSA sandbox. This sandbox will facilitate innovation by providing an environment for market participants to test and trial products and services to identify the regulatory changes required to deliver their innovations, ensuring those that are most fit for purpose are realised. A journey we have whole-heartedly embarked on is demonstrating the potential that codes provide for market participants to make energy regulation work for them, and the DCUSA sandbox is a practical example of a vision turned into action.
A core piece of work we are focusing on this year is the tender for management of the Retail Energy Code (REC). ElectraLink has built up the experience, knowledge and expertise to support this dynamic new code. Although the REC aims to replace existing codes, we have never viewed it in such simple terms. Rather, it is a step change in energy market self-regulation and how market participants interact with one another and their customers. It is a great opportunity to revolutionise the way the energy retail market is governed to bring benefits to the industry and end consumers alike. It is about preventing energy self-regulation from becoming a barrier to innovation and using the vast data lakes available to the industry, such as those held on ElectraLink’s EMDH, to make informed decisions at pace. The market needs to benefit the end-consumer and the REC is one of many programmes that are will help deliver this goal.
ElectraLink is also making progress on some more technical pieces of work which are set to make an appearance this year. CSSConnect, our flexible adaptor service for DTS Users to connect their systems to the Faster Switching programme, went through many stages of intensive consultation and planning in 2019. We are now building the adaptor to hit completion deadlines within Ofgem’s assigned timelines. We are currently working with a number of market participants to ensure they are ready for this shift and are keen to support more by providing this cost effective and well-progressed service to as much of the market as we can.
In parallel to this, we have launched significant updates to FlowBuilder and look forward to new customers making use of the enhanced capabilities this year, including a single gas catalogue incorporating flows from several existing catalogues which will streamline organisations’ efforts to design new flows and processes.
More significantly, the Energy Market Data Hub (EMDH) will come online at the start of Q1 and make our suite of data services available to market participants with new levels of high performance. The EMDH is an ambitious programme that ElectraLink has undertaken to prompt data-driven innovation, reduce back office processes and make our data lake available in real-time with industry-leading levels of security and reliability. The value this platform exceeds what is currently on offer and we are excited to see the outcomes from our customers’ use of the ElectraLink data various solutions.
The relevance of data to deliver a sustainable net zero future is becoming increasingly important for BEIS and Ofgem. We are working more closely than ever with the regulator and government to ensure the whole market benefits from transparency and accuracy in data provision. Last month, we worked with Ofgem and others on a hackathon where innovators and creative problem-solvers produced data-driven solutions to many decarbonisation challenges facing various kinds of market participants. ElectraLink provided pseudonymised data on household consumption, switching and half hourly embedded generation, as well as support, for attendees to get the most out of the event.
Internally, we are going through some changes as well. We are recruiting heavily to build the team in our new offices in Nottingham and London to enable us to serve customers across the length of the country. Visit our careers page to see if anything suits your skillset and career ambitions.
All the best for 2020,