When we walk into a dark room and turn on the light, we don’t give much thought to how it works. Forget the technology involved. Behind that one simple act, there is a wide range of organisations and agreements that make it possible for us to boil the kettle, watch TV and stay warm.
Most people will be aware of the energy generators – the wind farms and power stations around the country that produce much of the power we need – as well as the transportation and distribution networks which transfer the power and gas to our homes and businesses, and the suppliers such as E.ON which manage the buying, the supplying, metering and billing for all of those services.
There are also the organisations that are relatively hidden from the view of consumers, but the work they do is essential for energy suppliers like us, so you can get your gas and electricity delivered without a hitch.
For us, one of the more exciting organisations is Elexon. Our own Political and Regulatory Affairs Director, Sara Vaughan, was recently appointed Non-Executive Director to its board. Elexon works with all aspects of the industry, making sure that supply and demand estimates match the actual volumes delivered, protecting generators, suppliers and customers alike.
We also rely on organisations like Xoserve, which holds the data we need to provide gas to customers. Its central register has information on gas suppliers for 24 million premises. Xoserve also processes around 3 million customer switches each year, along with £4 billion in invoices for transportation of gas.
We work closely with industry bodies like the Joint Office of Gas Transporters. It shares information on transportation arrangements and governance advice. That makes it easier for energy suppliers to understand our responsibilities and to standardise our practice with other gas transporters.
In addition to the organisations that help support the fundamentals of our business, there are also agreements, codes and contracts that suppliers and operators must sign up to and follow. Some of these are there to protect consumers like you. For example, if you’ve got a smart meter, the Smart Meter Installation Code of Practice and Smart Energy Code help ensure that your meter is installed properly and that you can easily understand how it works.
Other agreements like the Master Registration Agreement make it easy for customers to transfer from one electricity supplier to another.
This hidden network of organisations, codes and agreements may seem complicated. But in the end, they are there to make sure that you’ve got access to the gas and electricity you need, all day, everyday.
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