How to find best practice among demand management providers

Harnessing the potential benefits of Demand Side Response can be greatly enhanced by choosing the right partner. But discerning the claims of one provider over another can be challenging. A new industry Code of Conduct hopes to create a more level playing field…

By Freddie Rand

Harnessing the potential benefits of Demand Side Response can be greatly enhanced by choosing the right partner. But discerning the claims of one provider over another can be challenging. A new industry Code of Conduct hopes to create a more level playing field…

While Demand Side Response (DSR) has been utilised by some of the very largest energy users for many years, it’s only recently started to be adopted by a wider number of business consumers.

And as DSR provides an ideal way for businesses to offset rising energy costs and potentially even earn revenue, it’s likely that participation will increase.

Indeed, according to the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE): “Thousands of additional UK businesses can further reduce their cost of energy using demand side technologies and approaches.”

“We calculated that in 2017, 16% of the UK’s peak electricity requirement – or 9.8GW – could be provided by businesses shifting demand away from busy periods and by making better use of on-site generation,” says Dr Tim Rotheray, Director of the ADE. “If utilised, this could save UK energy consumers £600 million by 2020 and £2.3bn by 2035.”

To help consumers harness these opportunities, the DSR market is seeing an increasing number of new market entrants offering new technologies, aggregation models and products.

However, DSR can be complex, as there are many potential ways to participate and benefit. As a result, it can be challenging for consumers to accurately compare the offering of one provider over another – and also to substantiate how realistic any claims really are.

“With many energy users new to DSR, it is important that they feel confident about the service they will receive from aggregators,” says Dr Rotheray of the ADE. “Trust in how aggregators communicate with, and deliver solutions to customers, is essential.”

As a result, the ADE is launching a new industry Code of Conduct, which will apply a common set of standards to help customers compare aggregators and their claims. “With a growing marketplace and increasing numbers of new entrants, it is important that customers are able to quickly understand which DSR aggregators meet those standards,” explains Dr Rotheray.

The DSR team at Energy HQ, the innovative energy solutions arm of npower Business Solutions, has been working closely with the ADE to develop this new Code of Conduct.

“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,” says Dan Connor, DSR Development and Delivery Manager at Energy HQ, npower Business Solutions.

“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.”

The new DSR Code of Conduct will officially launch in early 2019 and membership will be voluntary. “Its aim is to ensure high standards among members and provide businesses with peace of mind when they come to choosing who they work with for Demand Side Response services,” says Dr Rotheray of the ADE.

The Code focuses 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 cyber crime, requiring best practice to protect each 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. It must also be 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.

For more information about the new Code of Conduct, you can contact the ADE via [email protected]

And for more information, help or support around DSR, you can get in touch with the Energy HQ DSR team via email [email protected] or call 0800 994 9382. Also visit energy-hq.co.uk/dsr/

Check out the DSR Clinic from Energy HQ here.

This is a promoted article.

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