Elexon ‘needs to regain trust’ after sunk smart meter DCC bid

Electricity balancing and settlement company Elexon has lost trust due to “a lack of openness and perceived self-interest” according to the company’s own appraisal of its latest customer service survey.

Elexon’s customer poll found that three out of four sets of respondents grouped by seniority of their role were satisfied with the company’s performance, but the most senior group – “strategic experts” – said it needed to cease “pursuing its own agenda” and “increase openness and proactivity”. Elexon said in a statement: “Customers in more strategic roles within larger organisations are not as content as their more operational counterparts in terms of how Elexon has conducted itself recently.”

It added: “Trust has been undermined by a lack of openness and perceived self-interest. In particular, strategic experts are not convinced that Elexon has been acting in the best interests of the industry or their organisation in the past year.” It said the comments were “particularly driven” by reaction its bid to be the Data and Communications Company that will govern the smart metering system. The comments echo earlier sentiments voiced by the generators’ group – now EnergyUK– who during a recent consultation complained of “Elexon board discussions being totally opaque to those stakeholders funding its activities.”

In a recent concession to Elexon’s long-standing bid to diversify its business beyond its Balancing and Settlement Company duties energy regulator Ofgem warned the customer interests had to be the top priority in any plans for Elexon’s expansion.

Outside regulatory rules, concern that diversification may compromise Elexon’s capacity to fulfil its BSC duties have been the chief obstacle to achieving is ambitions. BSC panel member and energy and regulation expert at PA Consulting, Peter Bolitho, said industry players have tended to resist changes to Elexon governance because they believed that allowing the organisation to pursue new ventures would detract from their existing responsibilities and they do not wish to fund speculative business ventures.”

In a typical response to the consultation on Elexon’s DCC bid, RWE Npower said: “We wish to see the service continue to improve and for any potential development of Elexon to have no impact on service quality, even during the transition to a new structure.”

Also during that consultation the then Association of Electricity Producers (now part of Energy UK) said: “For generators it is paramount that the critical functions currently undertaken by Elexon on our behalf with regard to balancing and settlement are protected at the level expected by the Energy Act.”