Ofgem is set to introduce a new licence condition, based on the Energy Systems Catapult’s Data Best Practice guidance.

In an open letter published by the regulator, it confirmed that network companies’ objectives align with the recommendations made by the Catapult, and that it would therefore introduce a licence condition that would require networks to comply with them in the future.

The guidance provides 12 principles, covering everything from identifying the roles of stakeholders of the data to conducting Open Data Triages. They are based around the concept of Presumed Open data, which involves encouraging the sharing of data to aid companies on the path to net zero.

“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,” Dr Richard Dobson, data systems practice manager at the Energy Systems Catapult wrote in a blog responding to Ofgem’s letter.

“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.”

Following on from the concept of Presumed Open, there are principles covering the need to make datasets discoverable for potential users as well as ensuring it is interoperable. All of the principles have been developed following engagement with 180 stakeholders, and follows a call put out for responses in January.

In its open letter, ‘Review and next steps: RIIO digitalisation strategies’ Ofgem states: “Modernising the GB energy system through digitalisation is playing a key in role facilitating net zero and the Digital Economy. Ofgem also recognises that it has a central role in driving change across the energy sector and internally.”

A further principle covers the need to protect data and systems in accordance with Security, Privacy and Resilience best practice. This is particularly prescient as the number of cyberattacks on the energy sector are seemingly increasing, including a high profile attack on Elexon in May.

Ofgem has confirmed that it is now asking network companies to respond to the feedback, make improvements where necessary and publish an updated version of their digitalisation strategy by 31 December 2020.

The new licence condition will be included in the RIIO-2 price controls for transmission, gas distribution and the Electricity System Operator from April 2021, and for the RIIO-ED2 price control from April 2023.

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