Migrating to Half-Hourly settlement

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Ofgem has authorised new regulations for the energy industry which will affect how all suppliers buy, transport and charge for electricity. Known as P272, these changes require certain businesses to switch to Half-Hourly metering. So if you fall within certain consumption levels, we might need to install a new meter or change the way we bill you.

We’ve put together a set of frequently asked questions to guide you through the changes.

What has changed?

P272 is the name given to the requirement for electricity suppliers to settle and bill customers with meters in profile classes 5-8 using Half-Hourly Meter Reads (where the relevant meter has been installed). These meter reads are automatically sent to us using an advanced meter (AMR).

How is this different from before?

In the past, most customers have not had meters capable of recording usage on a Half-Hourly basis. As a result, suppliers such as us have had to estimate how much was used every half hour and buy energy based on these estimates. The AMR meters we’ve been installing for our customers allow us to get real-time readings and to buy only as much power as our customers are actually using on a Half-Hourly basis, and in turn to invoice in the same way.

Who is affected?

Only meters which fall into Profile Class 5-8 will be affected.

Sample MPAN

You can find out which of your meters fall within this category by looking at the Meter Point Administration Number (or Supply Number) on your electricity invoice. If the first (two digit) number on the top line is 05, 06, 07 or 08, you will be affected.

How do these changes benefit me?

Ofgem consider that it’s in consumers’ interests to be settled and billed based on their Half-Hourly consumption data. AMR meters improve the accuracy and timeliness of the settlement process by allowing access to Half-Hourly consumption data.

Will my meter need to be replaced?

Most of our customers affected by this change already have an advanced meter (AMR) installed which is capable of recording Half-Hourly energy consumption. These customers will not need any change to their metering. If you do not have an AMR yet, we will contact you to arrange an installation.

If a meter exchange is required, the power to the supply may need to be switched off for up to 1 hour. We will be able to arrange the appointment for a time where there is minimal impact to your business, even outside of your opening hours.

There is no cost to you to install the new meter. However, if third party remedial work is required in preparation for the meter exchange, the cost of this may be applicable.

Will there be any extra charges?

Once transferred into the new arrangements, some customers may see additional costs from the electricity distribution company passed through on their invoice. However, most customers will have no additional costs.

Will my invoice look different?

Yes. Once your metering has moved into the new arrangements you will no longer see a monthly start and end read. This will not affect the amount of energy you consume. You will be able to see all of the Half-Hourly meter reads in your online account.

You may also see some additional lines on your invoice which relate to charges from the electricity distribution company, such as an Availability Charge, Excess Capacity Charge or Reactive Energy Charge. If you are affected by any of these additional charges, your electricity distribution company will be able to provide further details of the charges and explain what they are.

What type of extra charges is it possible to have on my invoice?

If you have Current Transformer (CT) metering, you will see an Availability (or Capacity) charge appear on your invoice. This is shown in pence per kVA per day and is based on an agreed Maximum Import Capacity (the amount of energy made available to you) for your supply. The distribution company may have already contacted you to explain how this has been calculated. If the Maximum Demand (what you use) exceeds your agreed Maximum Import Capacity, you will have to pay an Excess Capacity Charge. If you are concerned about this, we would advise you contact an electrician for a maximum demand report. If the report shows a different figure to the one recorded for your supply, you can submit the new one to your distribution company.

Customers with CT metering may also be charged for Reactive Power. The distribution company may levy a charge if more than 5% of the total power consumed is Reactive Power. This is because more current has to be provided to the property to produce the same end power output. The level of Reactive Power is determined by the properties of the specific electrical equipment at the site, but most sites consume below the 5% tolerance.

If you are unsure whether your meters have a Current Transformer, please contact your supplier who will be able to provide you with this information.

What can I do with the extra Half-Hourly data?

Many customers like to use the Half-Hourly consumption data to assist them with energy efficiency programs. For helpful advice and tips on this topic, please visit our Energy Efficiency advice page.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more about this change on Ofgem’s official factsheet.