List of BSC Insights


If significant events or changes occur within the electricity industry we will analyse and offer insight into what has happened and why. The impartial insight articles are written by our industry experts, who have a wealth of experience and knowledge. These findings are supported by a large amount of industry data.

Latest insight articles

BSC Insight: Why Non Half Hourly electricity use increased in the first four months of 2021
In this insight article Emma Tribe, our Analysis and Insight Senior Product Analyst, explains how the colder temperatures between January and April 2021 increased Non Half-Hourly electricity demand despite COVID-19 restrictions being in place.
(Published: June 2021)

BSC insight: Forward Market Prices drive six CAP value reviews this year
We issued a consultation on changing the Credit Assessment Price (CAP) value on 17 May 2021. This is the sixth time in 2021 that the CAP value is going to change. This is the most CAP change events to occur in the first five months of the year since the CAP weekly monitoring process was introduced in 2007. In this BSC Insight article, our data analyst Mehdi Jafari outlines the reasons for this.
(Published: May 2021)

BSC Insight: Update on Demand Reduction during COVID-19 lockdown
In this BSC Insight, Hussein Osman uses the latest data from BMRS and our internal databases to compare the changes in demand following Government advice that people stay at home with the demand patterns from similar periods in previous years. The graphs provide Initial Demand Out-turn data up to 17 May and Grid Supply Point Group Take (GSPGT) data up to 30 April.
(Published: May 2021)

BSC insight: How Covid-19 impacts Load Profiles
There are two different types of data that the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) requires for electricity Settlement; Half-hourly and Non Half-Hourly. Electricity Settlement happens in Half-hourly periods, so Elexon uses the profiling process to calculate Half-hourly data from Non Half-hourly meters. In this Insight article, Mehdi Jafari discusses the Group Average Demand data used in the profiling process and the way it has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Published: May 2021)

BSC Insight: the impact of Trading Charges in 2020/21
In the 2020/21 financial year, the absolute cashflow for BSC Trading Charges was £2.96bn. This was the most cashflow settled in a financial year. In this BSC Insight our Analysis and Insight Senior Product Analyst, Emma Tribe, explains how BSC Trading Charges are settled by Elexon.
(Published: May 2021)

BSC Insight: Unprecedented Price Spikes in 2021
In 2021, we have seen the highest System Prices since 2001, which was the first year of the New Electricity Trading Arrangement. The highest price this year was £4,000/MWh on 8 January in Settlement Periods 39 and 40. On 12 April 2021, the System Price was over £1,000/MWh for five consecutive Settlement Periods. In this BSC Insight, one of our Product Analysts, Angus Fairbairn, looks into how and why these high prices occur.
(Published: April 2021)

Reliant on the weather? A review of weather dependent generation in GB
The British have always felt a strong connection to the weather. A typical conversation in any part of the country will generally include a reference to either how: hot, cold, rainy, windy, sunny or grey the weather is! In the last 10 years, the weather has also begun to fuel our day-to-day lives as more weather dependent generation has been used in the fuel mix. This is making Britain greener and helping the nation reach its goal of NetZero by 2050. In this Insight Emma Tribe, our Analysis and Insight Delivery Lead, shows how Great Britain’s fuel mix is connected to the weather more than ever through an increase in weather dependent generation.
(Published: March 2021)

Increasing costs for balancing the GB System
Matching supply and demand requires payments to be made between the ESO and participating consumers and generators. Consumers and generators submit prices for volumes of energy they can provide within a half-hour period (Settlement Period) to balance the system. In this Insight article, analyst Angus Fairbairn looks at balancing costs of ESO since 2015. 
(Published: March 2021)

The electricity market

A review of 2020
COVID-19 dominated the news in 2020; however, it was not all that happened. In this article, the Analysis and Insight team review 2020 and focus on the consistencies and inconsistencies witnessed. They use BMRS data to review the Fuel Mix, the make-up of BSC Parties, the Energy Imbalance Volume, and the overall electricity demand. While all of these were impacted by COVID-19, the data also demonstrates some consistencies with previous years despite COVID-19’s impact.
(Published: February 2021)

Impact of COVID-19 on smart meter installations
In this Insight article, our Analysis and Insight Analyst Hussein Osman, reviews the installation rates of Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications SMETS2 meters before, during, and after the March to June and November to December 2020 lockdowns. He also considers why legacy meters and SMETS1 meters continue to be installed, despite the New and Replacement Obligation (NRO).
(Published: January 2021)

Great Britain’s first coal-free Christmas occurs in 2020
Data Analyst Mehdi Jafari investigates the electricity generation and demand over the Christmas period 2020.
(Published: January 2021)

The electricity industry – ten years of change
The 2010s were a period of significant change for both Elexon and the wider industry. The shifts seen during the span of ten years were both unprecedented and unpredicted. Using data we have created four graphs that reflect on significant changes to generation, demand and balancing between 2010 and 2019.
(Published: January 2020)

Rapid decline in coal-fired generation
Angus Fairbairn, Market Analyst, looks at the data behind the major reduction in coal generation in Britain, which has been making headlines as the GB market aims to phase out the fuel by the end of 2025.
(Published: May 2019)

Code Governance and reforms

The Code Governance Review
Elexon puts forward options for how the 11 existing gas and electricity codes could be simplified into three codes covering the retail, wholesale and networks sectors.
(Updated: July 2020)

Independent analysis backs the case for code reforms
Angela Love, Director of Strategy and Communications, discusses analysis which Elexon commissioned from consultants, Cornwall Insight on options for reforming the energy codes. Elexon has proposed a ‘three code’ model to consolidate existing codes and Cornwall Insight assessed this against other options.
(Published: July 2019)

The BSC Panel, a template for panel constitution?
This Insight article looks at why the BSC Panel model is frequently cited as one of the better models for ensuring broad representation of stakeholders to feel they are engaged and their views understood within the code panel.
(Published: August 2017)

Imbalance and Settlement

The ways P350 has changed Transmission Losses allocation
In this Insight article, our Data Analyst Mehdi Jafari considers the way implementation of Modification P350 changed the allocation of Transmission Losses.
(Published: November 2020)

How Covid-19 has affected estimated data in Settlement
A look at the impact COVID-19 has had on Supplier Performance during the first lockdown. Written by Analysis and Insight Delivery Lead, Emma Tribe.
(Published: November 2020)

Update on demand during COVID-19 lockdown
In this Insight, our Data & Insight Analyst, Nick Baker provides an update to the reduced electricity demand during lockdown article with the latest findings. The new graphs can be used to track electricity demand changes in Great Britain as COVID-19 restrictions start to ease. Original Insight below.
(Published: July 2020)

Electricity demand down by 17% during COVID-19 lockdown
Measures put in place by the UK Government to control the COVID-19 outbreak have resulted in electricity demand falling sharply in the GB electricity market, according to Elexon data estimates. In this Insight, our Data & Insight Analyst, Nick Baker investigates the scale of the demand reduction.
(Published: April 2020)

Low CO2 fuel sources powered 2019
In this Insight, our Market Advisor Emma Tribe uses electricity generation data to show how 2019 was powered demonstrate how the electricity market is on the road to Net Zero.
(Published: January 2020)

Interconnector flows in and out of Great Britain
Great Britain is connected to the rest of Europe through five interconnectors, with a combined capacity of 5,000MW. Emma Tribe describes how much electricity flows on theses interconnectors.
(Published: October 2019)

Identifying Settlement risks just got easier
We have listened to concerns of BSC Parties and we’ve implemented two major changes that will help Settlement risk and error. Graduate Business/Design Analyst Callum Chalmers exlapins more. 
(Published: October 2019)

Sub-zero electricity prices in December
Too much electricity generation in Great Britain pushed prices sub-zero for 13 hours. Occurring on the night of 7 December and morning of 8 December, BSC Parties were paid to consume energy. Our Market Advisor, Emma Tribe, uses Elexon’s open data to explain why the prices were negative.
(Published: December 2019)

What is Driving Increases in Electricity Imbalance Volumes?
Daily average Energy Imbalance volumes have doubled between 2014 and 2019. Emma Tribe, investigates the drivers behind the increase in Energy Imbalance Volumes. The analysis demonstrates that increases in Imbalance Volumes have not affected the volume of energy used by National Grid to balance the system.
(Published: July 2019)

Imbalance Charging, where does the money go?
This article explains energy imbalance cash flow and how leftover amounts are redistributed among BSC Parties. It also highlights how we calculate payments that come in and how, as a not-for-profit organisation the way they are calculated means we receive no financial gain.
(Published: June 2019)

Imbalance Prices go negative on 24 March 2019
The 24 March 2019 saw the longest continuous period of negative Imbalance Prices since a single Imbalance Price was introduced in November 2015. In this article Emma Tribe explains what negative Imbalance Prices are, when they have been occurring, and what Elexon’s data shows about the trends.
(Published: April 2019)

Imbalance Prices with new CADL and DMAT
Emma Tribe’s insight article highlights the potential impact of changes to the De Minimis Acceptance Threshold and the Continuous Acceptance Duration Limit which take effect on 1 April 2019. The article explains the changes and includes interactive graphs to illustrate how these changes might affect Imbalance Prices.
(Published: March 2019)

What’s the impact of changing DMAT and CADL? 
Emma Tribe’s insight article highlights the potential impact on prices of changing the De Minimis Acceptance Threshold and the Continuous Acceptance Duration Limit.
(Published: November 2018)

Replacement Price setting the Imbalance Price
Emma Tribe’s looks at how often the Replacement Price is calculated using the Market Index Price (MIP). Where there are no priced actions, the Replacement Price sets the Imbalance Price.
(Published: July 2018)

Zonal Transmission Losses
Background information to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) remedy relating to the allocation of transmission losses set out in the CMA’s report of its investigation into the energy market.
(Published: April 2018)

The Imbalance Price Olympics
Emma Tribe’s highlights how the Imbalance Price made a high jump in May as it rose above £1,000/MWh between 15:30 and 17:00. The high prices seen in this period were significantly different from £48.93/MWh, which is what the average System Price between 15:30 and 17:00 in May 2017 had been prior.
(Published: May 2017)

Elexon insights: P305 post implementation review
Emma Tribe’s review of P305 is provided to contribute to all interested parties’ understanding of the BSC Modification. The review presents factual information rather than an assessment of the Modification’s success.
(Published: February 2017)

System Prices

Why the Reserve Scarcity Price is being reviewed
Emma Tribe, our Analysis and Insight Delivery Lead, explains how the Reserve Scarcity Price is calculated, how it is included in the System Price Calculation and how it has affected System Prices since its introduction in 2015.
(Published: January 2021)

Negative System Prices during COVID-19
The UK electricity market has seen an increase in negative System Prices due to the COVID-19 lockdown. In this  Insight, Emma Tribe explains why this was the case and shows the trends for negative System Prices in April and May 2020.
(Published: June 2020)

Highest System Price in 19 years
The System Price reached £2,242/MWh and £1,708/MWh in the early evening of Wednesday 4 March 2020. This was the first instance of the System Price being over £2,000/MWh since 2001. In this article our Market Advisor, Emma Tribe explains how the System Price was calculated and how it compares to historic System Prices.
(Published: March 2020)

Sub-zero electricity prices in December
Too much electricity generation in Great Britain pushed prices sub-zero for 13 hours. Occurring on the night of 7 December and morning of 8 December, BSC Parties were paid to consume energy. In this Insight our Market Advisor, Emma Tribe, uses Elexon’s open data to explain why the prices were negative.
(Published: January 2020)

System Prices in 2018 
Nick Baker, one of our Market Analysts, takes a detailed look at System Prices across 2018. What does the data tell us and were there circumstances that impacted on it?
(Published: January 2019)

Negative short System Price on 18 September 2018
Emma Tribe’s article looks at Settlement Period 9 on 18 September 2018, when the System Price was -£6.25/MWh.
(Published: October 2018)

1 November 2018 changes to the System Price Calculation
Emma Tribe looks at how the November 2018 BSC Modification P305 changes can impact System Prices.
(Published: September 2018)

Impact of temperature on System Prices
Thomas Demetriades looks at how the temperature influences the System Price. When we feel more extreme temperatures (higher than 25°C or lower than 5°C) the system is Short in 66% of Settlement Periods.
(Published: August 2018)

How tagging changes the System Price
Emma Tribe’s takes a detailed look at how tagging affects the System Price calculation. By removing volumes from the top or bottom of the pricing stack the System Price decreases or increases.
(Published: May 2018)

System Prices from 2001 to 2016: a price for all seasons
Emma Tribe’s article, A price for all seasons, time travels with System Prices looking at seasonal trends from 2001 to 2016. It uses analysis from the System Price Analysis Report (SPAR) August 2017.
(Published: October 2017)

Supporting changes in the energy system

How flexibility markets could help trade in unused electricity and spare network capacity
Elexon is proposing that nationwide electricity ‘flexibility platforms’ are set up so that offers to provide ‘demand-side response’, or output from electricity storage facilities can be traded easily.
(Published: October 2019)

Elexon could provide settlement services for low carbon heat
In this Insight piece, Thomas Demetriades, Strategy Analyst, discusses the potential for more heat networks to be developed in Britain, and the support that Elexon could offer towards this. 
(Published May 2019)

Our views on the next network price controls
In this insight piece, Jeremy Caplin, Market Architect talks about our response to Ofgem’s consultation on the methodology it will use to reset the network price controls from 2021.
(Published: March 2019)

Unlocking the benefits to end consumers
Nick Rubin looks at the transformations and challenges that exist in the electricity market and considers ways of unlocking the benefits to end consumers.
(Published: September 2018)

White paper on multiple providers
Jon Spence’s white paper offers an Elexon view of how BSC central services could be adapted to offer Settlement solutions in support of individual customers buying electricity from more than one supplier.
(Published: April 2018)

First day off for coal in 130 years
Emma Tribe and David Thomas write about Friday 21 April 2017, which was the first day in 130 years where no electricity was generated by coal in the UK. But what’s filling the gap?
(Published: April 2017)

Managing the BSC

Keeping costs down when Suppliers fail
Roger Harris looks at the number of recent Supplier failures and the issue of Supplier of Last Resort processes and costs.
(Published: March 2019)

Defaults and SoLRs increased in 2018
Emma Tribe looks at the data behind the increase defaults and the 1.85% of electricity meters that have been transferred to a Supplier of Last Resort in 2018.
(Published: January 2019)

Customer service

Reviewing our introduction seminar
Jessica Porter’s explains what is involved on the day and how we use the feedback we receive to develop the event further and ensure we meet customer needs.
(Published: October 2018)


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