New voluntary code of conduct for demand side response

Flex Assure sets common standards for businesses that co-ordinate or aggregate demand response from individual customers

By Priyanka Shrestha

Business are invited to give their views and register their interest on a new voluntary code of conduct for demand side response (DSR) aimed at providing customer confidence and supporting market growth.

Called Flex Assure, it sets common standards for businesses that co-ordinate or aggregate demand response from individual customers.

The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), along with 17 aggregators and eight stakeholders from across the industry, including Ofgem, National Grid and the government, joined forces to develop the code of conduct and has been published ahead of its launch next year to enable feedback and expressions of interest.

According to the ADE, around 16% or 9.8GW of the UK’s peak electricity needs could be provided by businesses being flexible in their energy demand, which could save consumers around £600 million by 2020 and £2.3 billion by 2035.

Flex Assure will be open to all aggregators and licensed suppliers offering DSR services, including capacity market and balancing services. It will initially apply to commercial, industrial and public sector energy users and be extended into the domestic market as it develops.

The code focuses on five areas and proposes minimum standards in each – sales and marketing, technical due diligence and site visits, proposals and pre-contractual information, customer contracts and complaints.

ADE Director Dr Tim Rotheray said: “The system operator has set an aspiration to meet 30-50% 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.”

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