April 2021. Monthly Highlights from the RECCo Executive Team

In a little under five and a half months, RECCo’s services will be going live on 1st September 2021 so that we can start to fulfil our mission “to facilitate the efficient and running of the retail energy market, including its systems and processes, promoting innovation, competition and positive customer outcomes”.  Right now, we are working closely with our Code Manager delivery partners to mobilise the services, develop the Retail Energy Code and transition services from other codes into RECCo. 

Over the coming months, we will also be starting to build the RECCo enduring organisation and stepping up our communication and engagement with you, our stakeholders.  We are working to consolidate and simplify the Retail Governance arrangements with the ultimate aim of delivering simplicity, better service, and value for the benefit of our customers and our industry and we will be asking for your help and support in making it a success.  If you have any suggestions on how we can improve our communication with you, please contact us at info@retailenergycode.co.uk.

I hope you enjoy our highlights.  

Sid Cox, CEO RECCo

Financial Management

RECCo continues to manage its finances prudently to ensure that the funding burden on REC Parties is minimised, while ensuring that the company has the resources necessary to deliver its key objectives. The 2020/21 financial year ended on 31 March 2021 and the company is currently preparing its full year financial statements. Initial results indicate that RECCo will achieve an underspend of c.11% against the approved 2020/21 Budget of £9.5m. The final value of underspend, and corresponding rebate due to REC Parties, will be confirmed as part of the statutory audit of the company in Q2 2021. The value will be communicated to Parties in Q3 alongside a timetable for its return as a reduction against the 2021/22 charges. 

REC Mobilisation

RECCo is responsible for managing the Mobilisation of the REC Code Manager ready for go-live on 01 September 2021. This includes the build of two core technology systems: the REC Portal and Service Desk, which provide the primary interface with stakeholders; and the EMAR, which delivers the digital Code and is the tool for managing change. Alongside these, the Code Manager is required to develop all the business processes and procedures that underpin the operation of the REC and all the material required by stakeholders to support their obligations and interactions with it.

Mobilisation is being delivered in three phases, each required to be approved and signed off by the RECCo Board. Phase 1 was completed on time in December 2020. Phase 2 is on track to be signed off by the Board later this month. Phase 3 will be delivered by 31 July 2021 to ensure RECCo has sufficient time to complete its readiness assessment ahead of go-live. The overall rag status for this workstream is Amber, reflecting the number of products that require sign off, the complexity of activities, and the testing required to evidence that the service will be operational for 01 September 21. A successful go-live on that date remains our priority.

REC Development

This remains on track.  The version 3.0 consultation was published on 31 March 2021.  The consultation document recognised that further development will be required pending resolution of some outstanding switching programme decisions and actions.  Responses to this consultation are invited back by end of July.  This four-month window is in part due to the volume of material being consulted upon, but also to allow Ofgem to focus on the code and licence modifications required to be completed by 2 July and to achieve Retail Code Consolidation on 1 September. 

Metering

No significant issues have been identified from responses to the earlier consultation on REC version 2.0, though there is a lot of work outstanding on the transition of metering provisions from the BSC to the REC, which Ofgem has indicated remains the model it is minded to approve.  This will require proposed modifications to BSC legal text by the end of April with complementary text to be incorporated into the REC; since the latter will not follow the Significant Code Review process, it could be done slightly in sequence.  Good progress is being made on a coordinated approach to longer term performance assurance of metering, on which the two codes will continue to collaborate on an enduring basis.

Theft Strategy

RECCo is exploring options to replace the current Theft Risk Assessment Service, as part of its wider theft reduction strategy.  The options vary both in terms of the technologies that may be utilised and the extent of theft services that RECCo may wish to provide to Parties.  Stakeholder feedback from a recent workshop suggested that there is a broad appetite for RECCo to be ambitious in the development of services.  RECCo will need to develop a methodology to estimate the true and current scale of energy theft so that it can determine the proportionality of any mitigating actions.   A Strategic Outline Case based on a discovery phase report will be consulted upon shortly, with responses informing an Outline Business Case in the summer.   

REC Transition

The Transition workstream’s status is amber but tracking to green.  Good progress continues to be made on the development of contracts for services that RECCo will be responsible for on 1 September, as well as the transfer of assets from legacy providers and/or contract managers.  All matters necessary for the effective transfer of responsibility for energy theft provisions were completed in advance of the 1 April 2021 target date.  The Energy Theft Tip-Off Service transferred without incident and the gas and electricity Theft Detection Incentive Schemes have now migrated from SPAA and DCUSA respectively to the REC. 

 Transition issues will continue to be discussed via the REC Transition Steering and/or Working Groups (as appropriate), which will continue to be chaired by Ofgem.  There is an increasing focus on the handling of in-flight matters such as change proposals and putting in place agreements with users for access to enquiry services that will migrate from legacy codes to the REC.  In addition, RECCo is preparing as it takes on the responsibilities as a ‘Party Under Integration’ under the Ofgem Switching Programme for ensuring that the Electricity Enquiry Service is fully developed, tested, and implemented in accordance with programme requirements.   

Consumer Programme

Improving Consumer outcomes is one of our main strategic priorities.   It is our intention to develop and publish, by the end of the year, a Consumer Strategy and long-term programme of projects to improve consumer outcomes.  Before then, there are two critical pieces of work that we are funding until 1st September which we hope will facilitate greater customer engagement and smoother switching in preparation for the Faster Switching Programme.   These are the joint PCW and Supplier Forum and actions to address specific risks and issues identified on individual Consumer Journeys by the Consumer Journey Forum (CJF).  We very much hope that all stakeholders will participate in these activities.

Stakeholder Engagement

RECCo has published its stakeholder engagement plan. As we approach RECCo go-live on 1st September 2021, we will be stepping up our communication in relation to the programme so that stakeholders are fully engaged.  These include the allocation of a dedicated Operational Account Manager (OAM) to each REC Party, the establishment of the REC User Group to share information about the new REC services. To find out more, please contact enquiries@recmanager.co.uk

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