Switching Programme

DCC is a key delivery partner in an energy industry-wide transformation programme to support reliable next working day switching arrangements for consumers.

 

Many consumers do not switch their energy supplier because they see switching suppliers as a hassle and they fear of something going wrong during the switch. These consumers could miss out on £100's cost savings as a result of remaining with the same energy supplier ('supplier').

Current switching depends on processes that are slow, inefficient, unreliable, are based on 1990s technology and are different for the supply of electricity and gas. In a move to improve consumer experience and encourage greater engagement with the energy market Ofgem is leading the Switching programme.

In November 2015 Ofgem launched a programme to deliver faster and more reliable switching for consumers by replacing the existing network run gas and electricity switching services with a new Centralised Switching Service (CSS).  DCC is a key delivery partner of Ofgem and we are supporting Ofgem to develop the end-to-end switching arrangements. The changes will facilitate market competition and realise significant quality and efficiency benefits for energy suppliers and network operators.

DCC will:

  • Be responsible for designing and procuring a new central registration service covering both electricity and gas
  • Award contracts to the service provider(s) for development and delivery of new services required
  • Be involved in shaping the development of the new switching arrangements

It is expected that DCC will enter into contract(s) with the service providers(s). The service will be provided on behalf of industry, but there will be no direct contractual relationship between the service provider(s) and energy market participants or between the service provider(s) and Ofgem.  It is expected that governance of the services will be provided via an industry code to which DCC (rather than the service provider(s)) will be a party.  DCC is regulated by Ofgem.

The DCC Switching Programme is being funded using the same charging methodology as for all other DCC work and it is anticipated that a similar approach will apply during the roll out of the CSS.  However, it should be noted that the programme is being managed independently from DCC's role in the Smart Metering Implementation Programme. Further information on DCC's Charging Methodology can be found here.

 

Key stages in the Switching Programme

The programme will be delivered over five phases. The first three phases are known as the Transitional Phase and take the original Target Operating Model published by Ofgem through to a final decision on the preferred reform package, the development of regulatory requirements to support it.  Ofgem is currently consulting on a reform package proposal, known as RP2a, allowing a domestic customer to change supplier by the next working day, then to a robust and unambiguous design supported by policy and regulation. 

 

Switching Prog Phases

 

The Transitional Phase also includes procurement of the Central Switching Service (CSS) and awarding of contracts to service provider(s).

The fourth phase covers the detailed design, build and testing of the CSS (expected to include a registration service, address matching database and customer enquiry service) and activities to transition the new systems and industry processes to live services, while the final phase is the operation of the live service.

The programme is still designing the detail of how switching will work across the many parties involved in the switching arrangements including how the new CSS will transform and manage data to simplify and control a reliable switching service.  The ultimate aim is to give consumers a faster and more reliable experience when switching energy supplier.

 

Call for interest in pre-procurement market engagement

From late 2017 through to Spring 2018 we will be discussing our upcoming procurements with interested organisations.  We are keen to explain how the work is taking shape and the opportunities that may fall out.  In addition, we will look to sense check our thinking on system design, commercial framework and operation.

To register an interest in hearing when and where such discussions will take place, please add your details to our contact database via: contact.switching@smartdcc.co.uk.