Over the summer Ofgem launched a consultation looking at the benefits and risks associated with the use of UK Link as a Central Switching Service(CSS) provider under the Faster Switching Programme.
Currently Xoserve's governance arrangements pose a potential barrier to them competing in a competative procurement for CSS provision. iTeh cconsiltation sought to understand any benefits and risks associated with the use of UK Link and whether there are regulatory changes required to remove barriers to Xoserve bidding for the CSS procurement to allow the opportunity for benefits to be realised.
Faster switching offers numerous benefits to the UK. It not only enhances customer experience, building confidence and better engagement in the market; but it also improves industry processes with the potential to unlock new business models.
techUK firmly believes that maintaining an open and fair procurement process, where all viable solutions can be assessed equally, will deliver the best outcomes for both consumers and industry. We feel that Ofgem should look to remove any barriers which prevent viable solutions, such as UK Link, competing.
There are several options for how the Central Switching Service could be delivered. These range from systems which resemble those already in use today, to a new type of system which makes use of innovations such as blockchain. There is no doubt that delivering Faster Switching will incur a cost to consumers. It is therefore important that the option selected maximises value both in terms of real costs today but also in enabling new and future business models in digital energy. Whilst we need to procure for the present, but we need to prepare for the future. Allowing Xoserve to compete as incumbent provider is a part of this.
There is however an ongoing need for Ofgem and the DCC to reassure companies that faster switching is a space within which they can innovate. Making it clear that there is no preference for incumbent processes.
Members can download a copy of our response below.