COVID-19: Updated guidance documents on Half Hourly Estimation (V2.1) and Non-Half Hourly Estimation (V2.0)

Please note: these guidance documents have been updated since they were first published on Friday 3 April. Please check that you are using the correct versions of the guidance notes: Half Hourly (HH) Estimation During COVID 19 (V2.1) and Non-Half Hourly (HH) Estimation During COVID 19 (V2.0).

On Friday 3 April the BSC Performance Assurance Board (PAB) gave urgent approval to two temporary derogations allowing Suppliers to input more accurate estimates into our Settlement system during COVID-19. The derogations came into force with immediate effect on Friday and were the proposals agreed between Elexon and industry experts on Wednesday 1 April, as the most pragmatic and speedy resolution to the problem of over-estimated EACs (Estimates of Annual Consumption) in the non-domestic market.

These derogations will allow Suppliers to ensure that estimated consumptions used in Settlement can reflect known reductions in customer demand, as a result of the coronavirus lockdown and businesses closing.

Falling electricity demand during the lockdown

Elexon estimates, based on its data, that in the week preceding the lockdown announced on 23 March 2020, GB electricity demand had already fallen by around 6-7% compared with a similar period last year. Elexon further estimates that the fall in demand since the lockdown has been in place is between 15-19% compared to a similar period last year when there were no restrictions. 

Protecting Suppliers

Accurate electricity Settlement depends on Suppliers being able to obtain meter readings and provide the information to Elexon. However, where Suppliers cannot obtain meter reads (because for example they cannot gain access to a closed business site) Settlement automatically substitutes the missing data with historic data and therefore there is a risk that reduced consumption at a site will not be accounted for in Settlement.

While this position is designed to rectify itself over time, when actual readings are submitted into Settlement, it potentially exposes Suppliers to higher Settlement charges in the interim until those readings are available.

The Performance Assurance Board’s decisions

The PAB approved the following temporary derogations from the BSC rules to support Suppliers during this time which come into force with immediate effect. 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:

  • 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).
  • 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 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).

The derogations will come into force with immediate effect. Elexon will closely monitor how they are applied and Suppliers must also keep a record of any evidence for reductions in consumption so that it can be referred to if needed at a later date in the performance assurance process.

“Practical steps which should help suppliers”

Elexon Chief Executive, Mark Bygraves, said: “Our priority is to support our customers as they manage the impact of the coronavirus. These derogations are practical steps which should help suppliers to ensure that evidence of falling demand is reflected in Settlement.

“These measures follow steps that the PAB agreed last week to ease the burden of the Performance Assurance process on the industry, including suspension of certain targets, charges and measures that would usually apply.” 

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