What are IRPs
IRPs identify issues within the Smart Energy Code (SEC) Technical Specification documents and put forward a solution to the identified problems. They can affect the ‘Great Britain Companion Specification’ (GBCS), ‘Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications’ (SMETS) or ‘Communications Hub Technical Specifications’ (CHTS). IRPs broadly fit into three categories:
- Category 1 – Data Communications Company (DCC) System impacting IRPs;
- Category 2 – Non-DCC System impacting IRPs but require testing by DCC Service Providers; or
- Category 3 – Non-DCC System impacting IRPs that affect the Technical Specification documents only.
Once these issues have been identified and a solution has been agreed, IRPs are passed to the Smart Energy Code Administrator and Secretariat (SECAS) to incorporate into the SEC via the Modification Process. For further details on the SEC Modification Process, please refer to the ‘End-to-End Process’ document.
IRPs are discussed at the Technical Specification Issue Resolution Sub-Group (TSIRS). TSIRS is currently governed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), but will in future be overseen by the Technical Architecture and Business Architecture Sub-Committee (TABASC). Discussions at this group establish what kind of solution is required to resolve the issues; whether this will be an amendment to the guidance or a technical fix.
Whilst they are discussed with the DCC and DCC Service Providers, the detailed technical solution and costs are not covered at this point. Where previously this would have been addressed during the BEIS designation solution implementation, it is now covered by the DCC Assessments as part of the Modification Process.
The Modification Process requires the DCC to complete a Preliminary Assessment (PA) and an Impact Assessment (IA) for each change to the DCC Systems. These Impact Assessments provide the DCC costs to deliver the changes. This information is presented to the TABASC, the Working Group, and other Sub-Committees that may be affected by the specific IRPs for further feedback.
SEC Parties are also consulted as part of the Refinement Process to identify costs to their organisation for implementing the change. These costs are then weighed up against the benefits that SEC Parties believe will be delivered by the change.
SEC Parties are consulted further during the Report Phase to gain views on whether the change should be implemented, considering the implementation costs and business case. These views are combined with the business case information within the Modification Report and are considered by the Change Board when deciding whether to implement the solution or not.
The diagram below shows the agreed timetable where the IRPs are batched together and raised as part of a SEC modification.