Combined Heat & Power, District Heating & Cooling, Demand Side Services, Energy Efficiency

Demand Side Response Code of Conduct

Published on 5 November 2018

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 the Flex Assure Scheme that took place in May 2019. Called Flex Assure, the Code sets common standards for those who coordinate or ‘aggregate’ demand response from individual consumers.

Demand Side Response Code of Conduct | ADE guidance

You can find out more about Flex Assure by going to

The Demand Side Response (DSR) market is growing quickly and there is the potential and support for much more. A total 1,206MW carbon-free demand response received Capacity Market contracts in the 2017 T-4 auction, up from 174MW in the first 2014 T-4 auction.

The System Operator has set an aspiration to meet 30–50% of balancing capability from demand response by 2020 to help keep generation, demand and network capacity in balance at the least cost for consumers.

The 2017 Helm Review, Clean Growth Strategy and Industrial Strategy all emphasise the centrality of continued deployment of low carbon generation and growth of industrial flexibility in delivering the Government’s energy policy objectives.

Thousands more businesses could reduce their energy costs through demand side response but most businesses are not energy experts, and there is an industry challenge to get these businesses on board.

Aggregators can help these businesses understand demand side response opportunities - they 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. But potential participants must have confidence in the service they will receive from these aggregators. Trust in how aggregators communicate with, and deliver solutions to customers is essential.

The Demand Side Respone Code of Conduct will give customers this confidence, providing a common set of standards by which to compare aggregators and their claims. 

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 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. 

5. Complaints

There must be clear, transparent processes for recording, processing and responding to complaints.

Aggregators and licensed suppliers offering DSR services, including the Capacity Market and Balancing Services will be able to sign-up to Flex Assure when it launches early 2019.  Initially, Flex Assure will apply to commercial, industrial and public sector energy users.The intention is 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 [email protected].

The Code of Conduct has been developed by the ADE in collaboration with the following organisations and groups:


  • Ameresco
  • Centrica
  • E.ON
  • Energy Pool
  • Enel X
  • Engie
  • Flexitricity
  • GridBeyond
  • Kiwi Power
  • Limejump
  • NPower
  • Open Energi
  • Origami
  • Reactive Technologies
  • SSE
  • SmartestEnergy
  • Upside Energy Ltd
  • Veolia


  • Aggregate Industries
  • Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • The National Cyber Security Centre
  • CBI
  • Crown Commercial Service
  • Ofgem
  • National Grid
  • Major Energy Users’ Council
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