ELEXON Insights: Audit results suggest issues for TAA Inspection Visits

Kat Higby and Jason Jackson recap on the concerns raised during the Performance Assurance Board (PAB)’s review of Technical Assurance Agent (TAA) Inspection Visits for 2017/18. The findings indicate that further active engagement with the process, on the part of Meter Operators, Registrants and Distributors is the key to improving rates of ‘no access’ on TAA Inspection Visits.

The key findings are worrying but are not insurmountable. ELEXON is here to help so make good use of us and let’s work together towards better results for next year.

Published: October 2018

PAB findings for 2017/18

The graph shows Inspection Visits and the percentage of Inspection Visits which resulted in no access in each audit year.

Graph showing percentage of no access for TAA inspection visits from 2015/2016 to 2018/2019
Graph showing percentage of no access for TAA inspection visits from 2015/2016 to 2018/2019

Site access issues

The findings from the Technical Assurance of Metering (TAM) audit in 2017/18 showed that 10% of Inspection Visits resulted in the TAA Auditor not being able to access the site to complete the inspection.

So far in 2018/19, the total no access percentage sits at around 14%. The main reason for the TAA being unable to secure access is “No Access – Site visited customer unavailable to provide access”.

The PAB is now very keen to ensure that instances of no access are minimised as each instance of no access incurs a cost to the industry.

LDSO non-attendance

PAB also found that the TAA was unable to access remote Current Transformer (CT) and Voltage Transformer (VT) rating plates for 247 (18%) of the Supplier Volume Allocation (SVA) Inspection Visits due to the non-attendance of qualified Lisenced Distribution System Operator (LDSO) staff.

During the first four months of the current audit year (2018/19), there were 176 instances (20% of successful Inspection Visits) where the Inspection Visit was incomplete because the TAA has been unable to access the CT and VT rating plates due to lack of LDSO attendance.

The PAB was concerned that the requirement in BSCP27 to provide the TAA access to remote Metering Equipment was not being met consistently by BSC Parties.

Access obligations

Registrants of Half Hourly Metering Systems are obligated to provide access to Metering Systems to enable the TAA to undertake Inspection Visits.
This obligation in BSCP27 (Section 1.12) states:

“The Registrant shall be required to ensure that the MOA and LDSO (mandatory attendance for High Voltage Metering Systems) or Transmission Company (if necessary) will be in attendance and that the person attending the site is technically competent to discuss problems relating to any defects or non-compliances and able to agree the resolution of any defects or non-compliances. The person should be able to access all the relevant Metering Equipment (where safe access is possible).”

So what can be done?

ELEXON and the TAA realise that there will be instances where it is difficult to arrange access to a Metering System for inspection.

ELEXON’s advice, if all options have been exhausted, is to notify the TAA at least 5 working days ahead of the planned Inspection Visit. This will give the TAA time to consider cancelling the Inspection Visit of the selected site and replacing it with another site.

Avoiding an access issue will save time and money for everyone concerned.

LDSO obligations

To enable the TAA to complete a full Inspection Visit, LDSOs are required to attend to ensure access to all of the required Metering Equipment on HV sites and LV sites with remote CTs and VTs.

For Inspection Visits where Metering Equipment has been installed or changed after the implementation of P283 (11 November 2014), the TAA will write to the LDSO to request a Commissioning record.

The TAA will not ask the LDSO to attend site. This remains the responsibility of the Registrant.

If you are the Registrant of a Half Hourly Metering System, please ensure you request that the LDSO attends site where necessary. As an LDSO, please ensure you attend site when requested.

ELEXON is here to help

The PAB is keen to reduce the number of access issues in this and future TAA audit cycles so will be promoting the following solutions:

  • Ask ELEXON about your obligations so you won’t contribute to site access issues
  • Seek advice early from the TAA about expected dates of site visits
  • Know when access will be achievable and when it is not

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