Coronavirus (COVID-19) – latest information
Last updated: 26 May, 2020
ELEXON is doing everything to assure the continuity of the services provided under the BSC and EMR. We are helping to ease the burden of our Parties who may be experiencing difficulties at this time.
We will communicate any major changes to ELEXON or the BSC via our regular channels, including this page.
We have addressed a number of questions or issues that may arise because of the current events. Please see the sections below for more information.
Added: 26 May
Delay to finalisation of the BSC Audit
The 2019/2020 BSC Audit is nearly completed and will be finalised remotely. It is likely that there will be a delay to the final audit report so businesses can prioritise critical business as usual work.
The BSC Auditor, ELEXON and the PAB will consider the current difficulties and restrictions when agreeing the audit scope for the 2020/2021 audit.
Delay to finalisation of BSC Audit ISAE 3000 Opinion
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the completion of the BSC Auditor’s fieldwork testing which supports its 2019/2020 International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 Opinion.
At its May 2020 meeting, the BSC Panel approved a revision to the timescales of the report delivery. The ISAE 3000 Opinion will now be delivered to the Performance Assurance Board (PAB) at its September 2020 meeting, and to the BSC Panel at its October 2020 meeting. This is subject to any updated information that may further delay finalising the ISAE 3000 Opinion.
This part of the BSC Audit covers Central Volume Allocation (CVA) Meter Operator Agents (MOAs) and Central Systems and will now be finalised remotely. The delay in the delivery of the ISAE 3000 Opinion allows BSC Parties to prioritise critical business as usual work.
Added: 24 March
BSC payment terms will continue to operate as per usual. If a Party is unable to meet the payment terms, they should contact ELEXON for advice.
Building closure and meetings
Added: 16 March
Our senior management team decided to close our office on 13 March before the national lockdown was in place. We are doing this to safeguard the well-being of all visitors to our office, and our staff. So we are asking our customers not to travel into our office until further notice.
If you are due to attend a meeting organised by ELEXON, a member of our staff will contact you to make alternative arrangements, such as hosting the meeting via tele or video conference. We frequently use tele and video conferencing to host meetings.
Changes to the BSC
Added: 14 April
Updated: 20 April
At its monthly meeting on 9 April, the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) Panel agreed a set of principles for ELEXON to work to, when progressing changes to the code while the industry manages the impact of COVID-19.
Changes to the BSC (and its subsidiary documents) will continue to be progressed, but will be prioritised based on whether the change:
- Is required to mitigate risks and issues caused by COVID-19
- Is required to be implemented by a fixed deadline, and
- Has minimal impact on market participants, unless required for the previous two points.
The Panel recognises and agreed to these steps because the COVID-19 situation is challenging and unprecedented for market participants, and that it has resulted in significant operational challenges and changes to the way that they run their business.
Credit Assessment Price (CAP)
Added: 25 March
Following a consultation the Credit Assessment Price (CAP) will decrease from £36/MWh to £30/MWh from 16 April. The reduction helps to ease the burden on BSC signatories as they manage the impact of the coronavirus.
The CAP is used in the energy indebtedness calculations to convert Credit Cover into an energy value. Electricity generators and suppliers need to post Credit Cover in order to operate in the electricity market under the terms of the BSC.
The CAP has been falling steadily since October 2019, reflecting a general trend in falling wholesale electricity prices.
Added: 31 March
Reducing Demand Capacity
BSC Parties are able to reduce the value of Demand Capacity (DC) (making the negative value closer to zero) of Supplier BM Units up to twice per BSC Season.
We recognise that the coming months will have unforeseen impacts to BSC Parties forecasts and therefore if you need to make a further reduction please contact SettlementOperations@elexon.co.uk. Where a further reduction is relevant to the ongoing situation with Coronavirus we will consider further requests to reduce the DC beyond the twice per BSC Season limit.
Importance of accurate Demand Capacity
Generation Capacity (GC) and DC values are used in the calculation of Parties’ (if applicable) Credit Cover Percentage (CCP). Accurate values of GC and DC are essential to ensure the accurate calculation of CCP and CEI.
If the DC is overestimated the Party may need to provide a higher amount of Credit Cover than necessary.
ELEXON’s day-to-day business
Added: 24 March
Consistent with the general advice of Ofgem, we are continuing to operate the BSC and EMR arrangements as usual. Both ELEXON and its subsidiary, EMR Settlement Ltd (EMRS), are working as normal delivering our full range of services under the Balancing and Settlement Code, the Capacity Market and the Contracts for Difference schemes.
The closure of the office has so far not resulted in any issues to our services. However we remain vigilant and continue to monitor the situation closely.
Half-Hourly and Non Half-Hourly Demand
Updated: 4 May
See Guidance Notes below relating to COVID-19.
Non-domestic Non Half-Hourly sites
For non-domestic Non Half-Hourly sites (i.e. smaller businesses) Suppliers will be allowed to submit a new consumption estimate that reflects the current reduced consumption at a property (where they have evidence of such a reduction).
Half-Hourly metered sites
For Half-Hourly metered sites (which are generally larger, or industrial sized businesses) if a Supplier is unable to obtain remote readings, perhaps ue to a communications failure, they will be allowed to submit a new estimate of consumption that reflects the current reduced consumption at a property (again where they have evidence of such a reduction).
Long Term Vacant (LTV)
The BSC Auditor will take a pragmatic approach when assessing compliance with the LTV process in its assessments for the 2020/2021 audit period, as the ability to keep a property within the process is dependent on site visits. It agreed that a grace period should be applied during a lockdown and for three months following a lockdown.
More details on the agreed derogations can be found in the COVID-19 – Additional Temporary Derogations Recommendations paper.
- Non Half Hourly (NHH) Long Term Vacant (LTV) During COVID-19 (v1.0)
- New – Site Inspection Visits During COVID-19 (v1.0)
The PAB has the power to make these derogations in accordance with BSCP537 and under emergency powers authorised by ELEXON’s CEO in accordance with BSCP40. This decision was made at the PAB meeting on Friday 3 April.
Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement (MHHS)
Added: 1 May
To reduce the burden on our stakeholders of engaging in non-time-critical work, we have adjusted the work plans for our two MHHS working groups. These groups are:
- Code Change and Development Group (CCDG)
- Architecture Working Group (AWG)
Both of these groups support Ofgem’s Significant Code Review on Electricity Settlement Reform. We have agreed the adjustments to the working groups’ plans with Ofgem and the group members.
While we are continuing work with the CCDG and AWG on their pre-consultation activities, we will not issue any formal industry consultations at this time. We will also only continue work with the groups to the extent that members’ resourcing capacity allows and providing we can retain a sufficient cross-section of representation. We will continually review and (if needed) adjust activities with the groups, to ensure that they remain achievable.
Added: 26 March
Updated: 4 May
The PAB has decided on the following measures:
Keeping auditable records
ELEXON and the PAB recognise the potential concerns that Suppliers may make inappropriate use of the new process or not take action to reinstate the estimates when businesses resume trading. Therefore the guidance is clear that Suppliers and Data Collectors need to keep auditable records of any use of the COVID-19 estimation derogations. ELEXON and the PAB may request these records at any time for monitoring purposes and the records may be the subject of an audit by ELEXON or the BSC Auditor.
We have also put in place central monitoring, which will look at the prevalence of new estimates being submitted. This will help to identify issues or misapplication of the approach. We will share this information regularly with the PAB including on an ex-committee basis, if we identify any urgent issues. Details of the monitoring being put in place are available in the April 2020 Public Risk Report.
Suspension of Supplier Charges
December 2019 Supplier Charges – approved by a Performance Assurance Board (PAB) ex-committee meeting – will be issued to Parties in the next few days for payment in line with the normal timetable.
January 2020 and February 2020 Supplier Charges will be approved by the PAB and issued to Parties in line with the normal timetable as there is no BSC provision that specifically provides for this, thus a technical, compliant solution could not be found.
On 9 April the BSC Panel raised Modification P406 ‘Temporary disapplication of Supplier Charge Serials SP08 and SP04 due to COVID-19’ which seeks to set Supplier Charges for Performance Assurance Reporting and Monitoring System (PARMS) Serials SP04 and SP08 to £0 for all Suppliers from the March 2020 PARMS reporting period, until further notice (cancellation of the charges rather than deferral).
Supplier Charges are liquidated damages that Suppliers incur if they fail to meet certain performance levels. They compensate Parties disadvantaged by those who aren’t meeting defined Standards and are one of the remedial Performance Assurance Techniques deployed by the PAB.
Suppliers: Submitting new consumption estimates
Suppliers to submit new consumption estimates, either at the end of the lockdown period, or at a point where the Supplier recognises that the site has resumed operation. This is, so the estimated consumption reflects the actual consumption at the property, as businesses start to become operational again.
Grace period for Data Collectors
Data Collectors a grace period from their obligations to undertake site inspections during a lockdown and for three months following a lockdown. This is so field staff can focus on obtaining meter readings and performing meter fault investigations.
Suspension of Error and Failure Resolution (EFR)
The current triggers for EFR (such as the result of BSC Audit issues and as a result of poor performance against the 97% and 99% standards) will be suspended.
Existing EFR plans will be placed on hold, unless the Supplier or Supplier Agent responsible for the plan advises ELEXON that they would like to continue tracking against the plan.
PAB escalation for missed milestones is suspended.
Suspension of Technical Assurance visits
We are suspending site visits by the Technical Assurance Agent (TAA) with immediate effect.
The TAA will continue the groundwork for Desktop Audits, so that they can be implemented in the event that restriction of movement becomes a long term countermeasure. However, no notifications for Desktop Audits will be sent until the PAB has determined that the immediate concerns for the industry have reduced.
Postponement of Technical Assurance of Performance Assurance Party (TAPAP) checks
TAPAP Checks for Risk 11, Unmetered Supplies which were originally due to take place April – June 2020 will now be postponed to allow the selected Parties to concentrate on business as usual critical work.
The situation will be reviewed and updated to PAB at its May 2020 meeting. However, this will be for planning purposes only and any updated decisions and timeframes will then be communicated to Parties if appropriate.
Ongoing review of other Performance Assurance Techniques (PATs)
Other techniques (such as Peer Comparison and education) will be reviewed to consider the COVID-19 issue and the PAB will make further decisions on these at its April meeting, if required.
If the measures implemented by the UK Government change, the decisions to suspend PATs will be reviewed by the PAB and any amendments communicated to the industry. The PAB and ELEXON will ensure that recovery time from the restrictions is built into the re-application of the PATs.
Added: 24 March
We are not recommending any changes to the load profiles, the calculations are designed to handle variance through GSP Group Correction. There will be some misallocation of Non-Half Hourly volume, but the energy settled for Non-Half Hourly customers will be correct once meters are read.
Further, Suppliers will have used the profiles for their forecasting models and changes could have an adverse impact on their Energy Imbalances. However, we are monitoring the data as it becomes available and will report on any findings.
Inputs to the Profile Coefficient creation
We are not recommending any change to the Regression Coefficients.
Regression Coefficients are built from the previous three year’s Profiling Sample data for that season. Regression Coefficients were approved for use by the Supplier Volume Allocation Group (SVG) for Spring to High Summer 2020 (April to the start of September) in February 2020. These coefficients have been released to industry as part of the Market Domain Data (MDD) process.
The out-turn variables used in the daily production of Profile Coefficients are not affected – E.g. Noon-Effective Temperature, sunset are determined on a given Settlement Date.
Future Regression Coefficients
The Group Average Demands (GADs) for Spring to High Summer 2020 (calculated using analysis of the Profiling Sample data) will be reviewed at by the Profile Expert Group (PEG) in November 2020. Hence, if the load profile shape for a weekday is significantly different to a typical year, the use of the GADs in creating future Regression Coefficients (and therefore influencing future Profile Coefficients) can be assessed.
The GADs are required to be recommended by the PEG to the SVG for approval for use in creating the Regression Coefficients. The use of calculated Regression Coefficients in the Profiling process are also subject to approval by the SVG. The next GADs are scheduled to be reviewed by the PEG in June (based on Profiling Sample data from September 2019 to end of March 2020).
Accuracy of the profiled data
We might see more variation in the Grid Supply Point Group Correction Factors (GGCFs) if the true demand shape is different to that used to build the Regression Coefficients. As part of our market monitoring processes, we monitor GGCFs and will report on any findings.
GGCFs scale the correctable SVA volume (primarily Non-Half Hourly volume) so that the net volume in a GSP Group matches the GSP Group Take (calculated from boundary point metering between the Transmission and Distribution Networks).
Trading Charges (FAA)
Added: 24 March
We must continue to operate the normal payment processes for Advice Notes due to the nature of the calculations. What we collect in as Trading Charges is what we pay out, so it’s important that we continue to operate the processes as normal.
ELEXON Clear Limited or the Funds Administration Agent (FAA) releases Advice Notes for Trading Charges at different frequencies depending on a BSC Party’s operation. This is determined by the value of the Trading Charges each day. An Advice Note is released when the value totals +/- £500. The Advice Note is then payable in three business days.