New Ofgem licence condition to require Data Best Practice by networks

Ofgem has announced plans to introduce new licence conditions as part of the RIIO2 price controls requiring network operators to follow a set of best practice data principles and publish annual updates to their digitalisation strategies. The regulator was giving feedback on the first iterations of these strategies which were submitted by network companies in December.

The open letter published by Ofgem: ‘Review and next steps: RIIO digitalisation strategies’ provides feedback on the RIIO Digitalisation Strategies which have been developed by industry. In this letter, Ofgem continue to strongly support the recommendations of the Energy Data Taskforce and confirm that they intend to introduce a licence condition requiring network companies to comply with “Data Best Practice” guidance.

Energy Systems Catapult led an Innovate UK funded project to develop Energy Data Best Practice guidance which was tested and iterated with over 180 industry stakeholders – including network companies – through a series of workshops and direct engagement. The guidance provides 12 principles that together constitute data best practice. The principles are supported by explanations, techniques and examples to help organisations understand how to practically implement data best practice.

One of the headline recommendations of the Energy Data Taskforce was the principle of Presumed Open which is now one of the 12 core principles. Presumed actively encourages open data and data sharing which will enable decarbonisation, stimulate innovation and help feed the growing number of UK based digital energy innovators.

Data Best Practice Principles

  1. Identify the roles of stakeholders of the data
  2. Use common terms within Data, Metadata and supporting information
  3. Describe data accurately using industry standard metadata
  4. Enable potential users to understand the data by providing supporting information
  5. Make datasets discoverable for potential users
  6. Learn and understand the needs of their current and prospective data users
  7. Ensure data quality maintenance and improvement is prioritised by user needs
  8. Ensure that data is interoperable with other data and digital services
  9. Protect data and systems in accordance with Security, Privacy and Resilience best practice
  10. Store, archive and provide access to data in ways that maximise sustaining value
  11. Ensure that data relating to common assets is Presumed Open
  12. Conduct Open Data Triage for Presumed Open data

The full guidance can be found on the HERE, with future updates appearing on the Modernising Energy Data Confluence Space.

This represents another step forward for the digitalisation of the energy sector, where modern data management principles will underpin the move to a more flexible, net zero energy system. This will increase transparency and create opportunities for low carbon innovators to access data which will enable a range of low carbon products and services.

The Data Best Practice guidance was led by the Energy Systems Catapult, and developed with industry. 

Teodora Kaneva, Programme Manager SmarterUK:

"techUK is extremely happy with the progress made with the The Data Best Practice guidance. We would like to extend a huge thanks to the Energy Systems Catapult for leading on this extremely important piece of work, together with all of our members involved, the energy industry, and of course Ofgem, BEIS, and InnovateUK. This is a huge stride in our cumminity and a leap towards a real digitised, modern and innovative energy system. We believe that this can harness true innovation at the center of the networks, and bring us closer to net-zero. techUK will continue to work with our members and colleagues to ensure that digital technology is at the heart of future innovation in order to deliver a low carbon, affordable, flexible energy and a truly digitised and cutting edge energy system."

  • Teodora Kaneva

    Teodora Kaneva

    Programme Manager | SmarterUK
    T 020 7331 2016

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