The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), in collaboration with demand side response (DSR) aggregators, has published a voluntary Code of Conduct ahead of the launch of a Code Compliance Scheme early next year. Called Flex Assure, the Code sets common standards for those who coordinate or ‘aggregate’ demand response from individual consumers.
In setting these standards, Flex Assure will provide assurance to those using the services of aggregators to participate in the rapidly growing DSR market.
The ADE, 18 aggregators and 8 stakeholders from across industry, including Ofgem, National Grid and Government, have participated in the development of the Flex Assure Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is being released ahead of the Compliance Scheme to enable feedback and expressions of interest from wider industry.
The ADE calculates that 16 per cent 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 2035. The Code will help this target be achieved by providing energy users of businesses, commercial and industrial sites with confidence in the aggregator service they will receive.
ADE Director Dr Tim Rotheray said:
The System Operator has set an aspiration to meet 30–50 per cent of balancing capability from demand response by 2020 but most businesses are not energy experts, and there is an industry challenge to get more businesses on board and realise the full market potential.
Aggregators have technical and policy expertise which can help sites fully capture the benefits of DSR, providing a route to market for those businesses which do not want to invest time and capital into energy specialisation.
Flex Assure will give potential and existing DSR customers a common set of standards by which to compare aggregators and their claims and ensure they are able to quickly understand which providers meet those standards.
Graeme Dawson, Flexibility Policy Expert at Energy HQ, npower Business Solutions said:
We’ve been keen to see industry-wide standards adopted for some time, so have been delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the ADE since 2016 – and alongside National Grid, the government, Ofgem and other aggregators – as part of the committee helping to design this Code.
Customers need to have faith that the DSR partner they choose will follow best practice and work with absolute transparency and integrity. We believe this is vitally important, otherwise you cannot create a trusting, long-lasting partnership.
Alastair Martin, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Flexitricity said:
Reputation and track record are vital to us at Flexitricity.
For a customer to allow us to connect to their assets and core business processes, and to represent them in energy, balancing and capacity markets, there needs to be a strong relationship of trust.
Flex Assure will provide a standard of integrity which customers will come to insist upon as they select their aggregators and we expect it will quickly become an essential part of doing business in this fast-growing and complex market.
Michael Phelan, Chief Executive at GridBeyond, commented:
Grid Beyond believes in the importance of transparency and professional integrity, and we are pleased to have participated with so many industry members in putting together this unified list of best practices for DSR providers.
We are looking forward to our continued cooperation with the ADE, National Grid, Ofgem and other industry bodies in raising awareness of the DSR programmes and their benefits for all members of the energy market.
The Code focusses on five areas and proposes minimum standards in each:
1. Sales and marketing
Sales representatives must be properly trained and provide honest and factual marketing material to customers.
2. Technical due diligence and site visits
Critical energy assets must be safe from the threat of cybercrime, requiring best practice to protect customer’s data and infrastructure. To protect on-site personnel, site visits must be conducted in a safe and secure manner.
3. 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.
4. Customer contracts
Contracts must be accurate and clearly indicate any potential obligations customers may be committing to.
There must be clear, transparent processes for recording, processing and responding to complaints.
When launched early next year, the Flex Assure Scheme will be open to all aggregators and licensed suppliers offering DSR services, including the Capacity Market and Balancing Services. Initially, Flex Assure will apply to commercial, industrial and public sector energy users. The ADE intends to extend Flex Assure into the domestic DSR market as it develops in the near future. Aggregators interested in signing up to Flex Assure, or providing feedback on the Code, should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
The following organisations and stakeholders have contributed to the development of Flex Assure.
- Energy Pool
- Enel X
- Kiwi Power
- npower Business Solutions
- Open Energi
- Reactive Technologies
- Upside Energy Ltd
- Aggregate Industries
- Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
- The National Cyber Crime Centre
- Crown Commercial Service
- National Grid
- Major Energy Users’ Council