Electron warns: Ofgem’s CSS procurement is closing off innovation

Blockchain energy systems developer Electron has warned Ofgem that its approach to procuring a Central Switching Service (CSS) is short sighted.

In an open letter, the company warned that Ofgem’s approach is “limited in scope”, would perpetuate longstanding industry issues with data quality, and favours large incumbent service providers. “We believe that this approach, if pursued, will be a major missed opportunity,” it said.

It added, “The CSS is a service, and should not require the creation of another centrally managed database that duplicates data held elsewhere. The industry already suffers from enough incomplete and inconsistent datasets.” That echoed concerns raised by Sian Baldwin, chief executive of Xoserve (see interview).

Electron wants Ofgem to take three steps to de-risk procurement and enable innovation:

  •   Reassess the scope to ensure that “any investment does not become regret spend in the coming years”
  • Invest some of the £24 million procurement budget in trials.
  •   Leverage the sandpit approach to allow emerging technologies to be tested

    and identify restrictive code governance

Read the open letter here.

The letter comes as Electron announces a ‘hackathon’ in February 2018 to promote the use of blockchain to develop apps and services for a future energy system. Electron  wants a cross-section of specialists to interact with its decentralised registration platform and develop apps to deliver innovative services on top of it. Invitees include members of an open industry consortium, suppliers and other energy specialists.

To follow the progress of the hackathon and stay informed, register your interest on Electron’s website:www.electron.org.uk.

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