SECAS and DCC responses to the consultation on the IRP Process

21 October 2020

We are undertaking a review of the Issue Resolution Proposals (IRPs) process and have published our response to the June 2020 IRP process consultation for you to consider.

 

What are IRPs?

IRPs identify issues within the Smart Energy Code (SEC) Technical Specification documents and put forward a solution to the identified problem. 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:

  • Data Communications Company (DCC) System impacting IRPs;
  • non-DCC System impacting but require testing by DCC Service Providers; or
  • non-DCC System impacting IRPs that affect the Technical Specification documents only.

Once these issues have been identified and a solution has been agreed at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Technical Specification Issue Resolution Sub-Group (TSIRS), these IRPs are passed to the Smart Energy Code Administrator and Secretariat (SECAS) to incorporate into the SEC via the Modification Process. In June 2020 we issued a consultation inviting views on the proposed process.

 

What were the IRP consultation findings?

There were twelve respondents to our consultation and the majority were supportive of the proposed process. There were some general concerns which are listed below along with our responses further information can be found in the responses document.

  • Regarding the DCC performance and the delay in conducting their assessment process the DCC have confirmed that they are working closely across their business and with their Service Providers to improve efficiency and timescales.
  • Some respondent had concerns around having only one Category 1 (DCC System impacting) Modification per year. The main concerns were that this could potentially lead to IRPs not being implemented for two or more years following agreement by TSIRS. We looked at raising a Category 1 modification every six months but since there will only be one Release per year with a Technical Specification Release, we believe this will not reduce the timescales but will potentially increase the costs incurred as we would need to carry out two lots of DCC Assessments per modification.
  • We have agreed Change Request Proposals (CRPs) will be included where appropriate and with appropriate rationale as they are part of the BEIS Issues Management Policy.
  • Some respondents asked about urgent IRPs. Where industry can identify and provide rationale that an urgent IRP is needed, then we will progress this as quickly as possible outside of the scheduled process. The timelines for this will be set out within the individual Modification.
  • About lead times for Device manufacturers, where the industry can provide rationale that IRPs are indeed impacting Device manufacturers these will be progressed within a Modification with an appropriate lead time. However, it should be highlighted that the date of implementation of the changes within the technical specifications are not necessarily the date at which Device manufacturer would be expected to be compliant but the first date at which that the functionality could be available.
  • Responses were received surrounding (Non GBCS Non Mandated) NGNM Alerts not needing to be included in Category 1. We would like to emphasize that, at the time the consultation was issued, it was not clear how NGMN Alerts would be treated and it was envisaged that they may need significant System changes. However, following the progress of MP090 ‘Incorporation of Non-GBCS Non-Mandated Alerts into the SEC’ it has become clear that changes to incorporate NGNM Alerts into the SEC will indeed require a short Assessment time and a three month lead time (assuming that they will not be required to be configurable as per MP090). As a result, these can be progressed separately from IRPs. We still recommend an annual cycle, but this could be flexible depending on the number and importance of Alerts. It will initially be set at raising in January for implementation in November of the same year.

We would like to thank to all those who responded. We are continually looking to improve our process and customer service relationship and appreciate all your feedback and responses to our consultation.

 

Where can I find more information?

If you have any further comments or questions please contact us at sec.change@gemserv.com.

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