Putting the consumer at the heart of modifications

14 May 2020

We have recognised a long-standing need for greater consumer influence at the heart of energy governance, and have been working with a Consumer Advocate appointed by Gemserv to implement a consumer-centric approach in the work that we do. Through this, we are now working to better understand how consumers are impacted by SEC modifications.

We identify the impacts that a modification will have on the DCC and SEC Parties; however the end consumer is often overlooked. The Authority will look at the impact to consumers when deciding on a modification, so we want to better identify and understand these impacts during our assessment.

To do this, we now put ourselves in the consumers’ shoes. When we assess the issue raised by a Proposer, we will ask if the problem impacts consumers and, if so, how many. We will review the current consumer experience and process related to the issue raised. We will also ask what the new consumer experience or process should be, and this will help shape the solution.

Consumer impacts will be discussed as part of the Change Sub-Committee and Working Group discussions. We will also be seeking views on consumer impacts by asking a new question in the Refinement Consultation.

Modification Reports present the outcomes of our assessment. We have now included a dedicated ‘consumer’ section, which highlights the impacts of the modification on consumers, ensuring that this is taken into account throughout the modification process.

Finally, we have been engaging more closely with Citizens Advice, meeting regularly to seek their views on how a modification will affect consumers. One of the five Change Board Party Category votes is cast by a consumer representative from Citizens Advice; it is vital they can give a fully informed decision on a modification’s impacts and benefits to consumers when voting.

We will continue to look at how we can put the consumer at the heart of what we do at SECAS and will keep you informed of what we are doing. If you have any questions on these enhancements to our modification assessments, please email us at sec.change@gemserv.com.