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Centrica signs up to new DSR compliance scheme

Centrica signs up to the Association for Decentralised Energy's (ADE) new Demand Side Response (DSR) compliance scheme, Flex Assure.

Centrica Business Solutions has signed up to the new Flex Assure compliance scheme and code of conduct for Demand Side Response (DSR) providers. This will give assurance to commercial, industrial and public sector customers that want to generate revenue from their  power flexibility by participating in DSR markets.

Flex Assure is the first scheme of its kind for distributed energy aggregators and licensed energy suppliers offering DSR services. It has been launched by the Association for Distributed Energy (ADE) to make it easier for businesses to participate in the country’s smart energy system.

Customer assurance

As more demand side response (DSR) comes online, ADE wants to provide assurance for customers that Flex Assure members engage in trustworthy sales and marketing practices. This voluntary compliance scheme and code of conduct will provide a common set of industry standards that customers can use to compare aggregators and their services. Flex Assure will ensure greater transparency, and build customer confidence and trust in the rapidly developing DSR market.

The scheme has been developed by the ADE, together with Ofgem, National Grid, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and with input from the National Centre for Cyber Crime. Eighteen DSR providers, including Centrica, have also collaborated in its design. Flex Assure is supported by the Major Energy Users Council (MEUC) and Make UK (formerly the EEF).

What the code of conduct offers

The code focuses on providing customers confidence in suppliers in five areas:

Sales and marketing

  • Sales representatives must be properly trained and provide honest and factual marketing material to customers
  • Sales materials must have up to date pricing information, make clear any assumptions used, and use verifiable sources

Technical due diligence and site visits

  • Best practice on data protection, cybercrime and site safety

Proposals and pre-contractual information

  • Must be transparent and not make false promises to customers; be representative of true savings and paybacks to customers

Customer contracts

  • Must be accurate and clearly indicate any obligations customers are committing to

Complaints

  • Clear, transparent processes for recording, processing and responding to complaints

Flex Assure member commitments

To ensure customers can have confidence in the scheme, it has several requirements that members must commit to:

  • Desktop audit with membership application evidencing compliance
  • A full audit, with a site visit, every 2 years; complaints or infringements can also trigger an audit
  • Members who infringe the Code of Conduct will be referred to a Compliance panel, made up of customer and industry representatives
  • There will be an Appeals process, and the maximum sanction is a 12month minimum expulsion from the Scheme.

"We are proud to be one of the first DSR providers to sign up to this voluntary code of conduct. Flex Assure is a significant milestone in the maturing DSR market, which could provide a sixth of the UK's peak electricity needs and save UK energy consumers £600 million by 2020. It represents confidence in DSR’s future growth, and commitment from industry to ensure that customer interests are protected as we move to a more decentralised and dynamic grid." Helen Stack, Regulatory Manager at Centrica Business Solutions

"Businesses have the opportunity to benefit from the energy system’s zero carbon transformation, securing new revenue while helping to deliver our low-carbon ambitions. Flex Assure, going live so soon after the Committee on Climate Change’s Net Zero report, will be an important tool for setting industry-wide standards, supporting businesses as they increase their participation in the demand side response market, and accommodating more renewable energy to meet our decarbonisation targets at least cost. The aggregators who are participating in Flex Assure are highlighting to their customers, and potential customers, that they are committed to meeting the high standards set by the scheme." John Bryant, Director of Business Development at the ADE

For more information about Flex Assure visit www.flexassure.org.

To find out how Centrica Business Solutions can help your business generate income from DSR participation, get in touch below.