Coronavirus (COVID-19) – latest information
Last updated: 28 August, 2020
Everything is being done to 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.
Articles of Interest
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
Updated: 14 August
Remote meetings due to COVID-19
We have decided that we will not be re-opening the Elexon office to external visitors, save in exceptional circumstances, until at least the beginning of 2021 and we will therefore continue to hold all meetings, committees and workgroups virtually. This was decided after viewing the feedback and results from an internal and external survey.
We have some measures in place, when staff start returning to the office.
To recognise this prolonged change to our working arrangements, we have created a set of principles to be followed when holding online meetings. These principles will be highlighted at the beginning of each meeting to hopefully improve your virtual meeting experience.
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
Updated: 16 July
On 10 September the CAP will incraese to £46/MWh.
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 [email protected]. 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: 28 August
Proposed ending of COVID-19 estimation derogations
The PAB, along with an expert group of industry representatives, have been considering the approach to ending the derogations.
At its August meeting, the PAB approved the approach in principle as recommended by the expert group. The paper sets out the approach, timetable and the updated red-lined COVID-19 guidance notes. The timetable details the following topics:
- Ending the Half Hourly (HH) Derogation
- Ending the Non Half Hourly (NHH) Derogation
- Ending the Derogation for HH and NHH Site Inspection Visits
- Ending Audit Grace period for Long Term Vacant (LTV) process
The purpose of each of the COVI-19 derogations and grace periods is summarised in the sections below.
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.
Submitting estimates during lockdown
Suppliers can currently submit new and more accurate estimates to their Data Collectors (DCs).
The PAB asked Elexon to request reporting from DCs on Metering Systems that have undergone an estimation adjustment in response to the 2020 lockdown.
Elexon has requested the necessary data from DCs.
Non-domestic Non Half-Hourly sites Guidance Note
For non-domestic Non Half-Hourly sites (i.e. smaller businesses) Suppliers are currently 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 Guidance Note
For Half-Hourly metered sites (which are generally larger, or industrial sized businesses) if a Supplier is unable to obtain remote readings, perhaps due to a communications failure, they are currently 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)
- 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
Updated: 17 August
With Ofgem’s agreement, we have adjusted the work plans for our two MHHS working groups to take account of any industry resource constraints during the pandemic. While we continue activities with these working groups, we will continually review and (if needed) adjust the plans to ensure that they remain achievable.
To get the latest updates around MHHS developments then visit:
Added: 26 March
Updated: 28 August
Ending of COVID-19 estimation derogations
The PAB decided to engage the help of an expert group of industry representatives to consider the approach to ending the derogations. The expert group met on 28 July 2020 and:
- Agreed a proposed timetable for ending each of the derogations;
- Proposed that the PAB reviewed the group’s recommendations for comment and agreement in principle at its August meeting; and
- Agreed that if there are no significant changes to the COVID-19 response by the Governments of England, Scotland and Wales, the timetable will then be presented to the PAB in September for formal approval and implementation.
At its August meeting, the PAB approved this approach in principle as recommended by the expert group. The paper setting out the approach, timetable and the updated red-lined COVID-19 guidance notes.
More information on the COVID-19 derogations can be found in the HH and NHH Demand section of this page.
PAB has considered the criteria for resuming charges at PAB 234 on 30 July 2020. The PAB’s recommendation will be presented to the BSC Panel meeting on 10 September 2020 for consideration. The final decision to reinstate Supplier Charges will be made by the BSC Panel.
Supplier Charges are liquidated damages that Suppliers incur if they fail to meet Half Hourly or Non-Half Hourly performance levels. They compensate Parties disadvantaged by those who aren’t meeting the defined Standards set out in Section S of the BSC, 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.
Suppliers and agents are encouraged to work hard to obtain Meter Reads, undertake Meter fixes and improve data quality to help ensure that Settlement performance improves as soon as possible.
It also requested that Suppliers keep their Operational Support Managers informed of the work being undertaken to improve their performance.
Error and Failure Resolution (EFR)
In March 2020, the triggers for EFR were suspended. Existing EFR plans were placed on hold, unless the Supplier or Supplier Agent responsible for the plan advised Elexon otherwise.
PAB escalation for missed milestones were also suspended.
At July’s PAB meeting, the PAB agreed to resume EFR for issues that do not relate to the 99% HH standard and the 97% NHH standard from 1 September 2020 and for existing performance standard issues in EFR from 1 November with new performance standard issues considered for EFR from January 2021.
However, the committee deliberated further in August and agreed that an appropriate EFR strategy for Settlement performance following COVID-19 should be considered in further detail at a PAB strategy session and conclusions from this session communicated to the industry.
Technical Assurance of Metering (TAM) suspension lifted
At its July 2020 meeting, the Performance Assurance Board (PAB) approved recommendations for the TAM suspension to be lifted in respect to the rectification of Category 1 non-compliances.
This is in light of the rectification of Category 1 non-compliances meeting the PABs priority criteria of resolving Metering issues that have accumulated during the COVID-19 lockdown. Elexon and the Technical Assurance Agent (TAA) will be contacting Parties with outstanding Category 1 non-compliances, requesting updates on rectification progress.
Suspension of Technical Assurance visits
The PAB has agreed that the priority for the industry is to undertake site visits to fix Meters and obtain Meter Reads. Some TAA visits are set to resume now.
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.
Technical Assurance of Performance Assurance Party (TAPAP) checks
In March the PAB agreed to postpone TAPAP checks whilst the full lockdown was in place. It agreed to resume the TAPAP technique from September. However, at this time, Elexon plans only to undertake the Risk 11 (Unmetered Supplies) TAPAP (Technical Assurance of Performance Assurance) for which Performance Assurance Parties (PAPs) are already prepared, and undertake TAPAP audits to investigate the COVID-19 estimation adjustments, where required.
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.