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New Flex Assure scheme to help businesses trust and benefit from smart energy providers

15 May 2019

The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) has today launched a new compliance scheme that will make it easier for industrial and commercial businesses to participate in the country’s smart energy system. The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) has today launched a new compliance scheme that will make it easier for industrial and commercial businesses to participate in the country’s smart energy system. 

New Flex Assure scheme to help businesses trust and benefit from smart energy providers | ADE press-releases

The new scheme, Flex Assure, the compliance scheme (and Code of Conduct) will help businesses to compare the different services offered by aggregators – the companies who enable businesses to access power flexibility markets. Flex Assure will ensure greater transparency, and give business’ confidence in the services being offered to them and build trust in this rapidly developing market.

The new voluntary membership scheme, which has been welcomed by Government, is open to all DSR aggregators and licensed energy suppliers offering DSR services. It sets common standards across the industry, making it easier for industrial and commercial customers to access the revenue these new energy services can provide.

A sixth of the UK’s peak electricity requirement – or 9.8 gigawatts - could be provided by businesses being flexible in their energy demand, which could save UK energy consumers £600 million by 2020 and £2.3 billion by 2035¹.

John Bryant, Director of Business Development at the ADE, said:

Businesses have the opportunity to benefit from the energy system’s zero carbon transformation, securing new revenue while helping to deliver our low-carbon ambitions. Flex Assure, going live so soon after the Committee on Climate Change’s Net Zero report, will be an important tool for setting industry-wide standards, supporting businesses as they increase their participation in the demand side response market, and accommodating more renewable energy to meet our decarbonisation targets at least cost.

The aggregators who are participating in Flex Assure are highlighting to their customers, and potential customers, that they are committed to meeting the high standards set by the scheme.

Seven DSR aggregators have so far applied to joined Flex Assure: Centrica Business Solutions, Enel X, ENGIE, Flexitricity, GridBeyond, Kiwi Power and nPower Business Solutions.

The National Grid Electrical System Operator announced on 1 April the ambition to operate the Great Britain electricity system as zero carbon by 20252. DSR is a key element in achieving this goal.

The launch of the scheme follows nearly two years of development and consultation with industry leaders, business energy users, and regulators. The scheme will be overseen by an independent committee, which will also adjudicate customer complaints, and provide public notifications if any company is in breach. Initially, Flex Assure will apply to commercial, industrial and public sector energy users. 

Flex Assure is supported by the Major Energy Users Council (MEUC) and Make UK (formerly the EEF).

Seamus Nevin, Chief Economist at Make UK said: 

Make UK welcomes the Flex Assure quality assurance mark for Demand Side Response. Manufacturers are contacted by many different aggregators and are sometimes unable to assess the quality of what they are being offered. The Flex Assure DSR code of conduct provides certainty and increases trust in the market.

ENDS                                                                                                                                                    

  1. ADE 2016 | Flexibility on demand, Giving customers control to secure our electricity supply
  2. National Grid ESO 2019 | Zero carbon operation of Great Britain’s electricity system by 2025

Notes for editors:

Flex Assure will be officially launched at an event in London on May 15th, with senior attendees from across industry.  It will include speeches from James Heappey, Conservative MP for Wells and a Vice President of the ADE, Paul Lowbridge, Settlements Manager from National Grid and Caroline Bragg, ADE Head of Policy. 

The Code of Conduct focuses on five areas and proposes minimum standards across each:

  • Sales and marketing: Sales representatives must be properly trained and provide honest and factual marketing material to customers
  • Technical due diligence and site visits: Critical energy assets must be safe from the threat of cybercrime, requiring best practice to protect customers’ data and infrastructure. To protect on-site personnel, site visits must be conducted in a safe and secure manner.
  • Proposals and pre-contractual information: The pre-contracting process must be transparent and not make false promises to customers and is representative of true savings and payback to customers.
  • Customer contracts: Contracts must be accurate and clearly indicate any potential obligations customers may be committing to.
  • Complaints: Aggregators must put in place clear, transparent processes to manage complaints. Customers may also complain directly to Flex Assure with complaints about specific providers.

Aggregators interested in signing up to Flex Assure, or providing feedback on the Code, should contact the scheme by email info@flexassure.org.

For more information about the Code of Conduct visit  www.flexassure.org

Or visit: https://www.theade.co.uk/resources/guidance/demand-side-response-code-of-conduct

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