Lockdown Reveals The Key to Better Settlement Performance
Industry HH data performance has hovered just below the required 99% in recent years for the highest consuming sites (Measurement Class C). Lockdown performance highlighted how dependent the industry remains on manual reads and site visits, and may have revealed the key to delivering the highest standards for the long term.
The BSC requires 99% Actual Data at each Settlement Run for HH Class C. However, Industry has fallen just short of that target in recent years. The fundamental ingredient to success is effective collaboration between all parties – Supplier, Data Collector (DC), Meter Operator (MOP) and Customer. Good collaboration maximises remote data collection and minimises the need for site visits and manual collection. This ensures the optimal balance of settlement cost, risk and performance.
 Section 11 of Elexon’s monthly Trading Operations Report provides an overview of average industry performance at each settlement run for the metered Measurement Classes: https://www.elexon.co.uk/data/key-data-reports/trading-operations-report/
As an independent DC, Stark works with all MOPs and Suppliers. We support approximately one third of the HH Class C market and typically we collect ~93% of data remotely and ~6% manually.
Site visits ultimately depend on MOP performance – It is the MOPs responsibility to fix faults with communications and metering equipment. With a well performing MOP, ~96% of data can be collected remotely, whilst with a poor performing one this can be as low as ~85%. Lower remote collection means more site visits, more manual collection, increased costs and settlement risk due to challenges around site access.
During lockdown, MOPs and DCs paused their “non-essential” field work activity – including manual data collection and fault investigation. This shone a brighter light on the issue. The graph below shows Stark’s overall Day+1 (D+1) data performance (indicative of remote collection) and SF performance (indicative of remote plus manual collection) before, during and after the lockdown.
Pre-lockdown, Stark’s overall D+1 performance was ~93-94% and SF was ~99%. During lockdown, this reduced to ~90-92% and ~92-94% respectively. Again, at individual MOP level the D+1 stat was highly variable – the worst performer was ~78% and the best was ~93% at D+1. MOPs with a higher performance going into lockdown minimised settlement risk, and were able to recover quicker.
This tells us that, as an industry, we should focus on boosting the proportion of the HH market on remote communications. As well as supporting settlement in “normal” times, this will ensure that the impact of any future lockdowns is minimised. Collaborative work within the Supplier Hub to identify and prioritise those sites which can support remote communications is the first step, customer buy-in the second and alternative ways of measuring and incentivising MOP performance might be the third.