DCP 143 (charges for missing reactive power data): DCUSA voting stage

by Franck Latrémolière on Wednesday 27 March 2013

I wrote some notes on the DCP 143 change report a couple of weeks ago when it was sent to the DCUSA panel. The DCUSA panel now appears to have approved the change report to proceed to a DCUSA party vote and an Ofgem decision. The relevant DCUSA documents are at the end of this article.

The main problem that I see with DCP 143 is that it is likely to lead to some half-hourly metered customers being faced with charges in cases where their supplier's data collector (meter reader) has failed to provide reactive power data to the relevant distributor. Given this, I would have expected more customer engagement in the discussion of this proposal.

The DCP 143 changes would in effect introduce penalty charges for failure to meet data provision obligations. These charges are not in any way based on the cost to the distributor of the lack of data: instead they are based on (in my view unjustified) assumptions about the magnitude of the reactive power flows for which data are missing.

These charges are likely to be borne by customers when the duty to provide data rests with the electricity industry and its internal processes and agents.

My earlier article pointed to seven potential failures in the DCUSA governance process. One of these failures has been fixed: the change report now includes the BEAMA document that it refers to. The other ones are still outstanding.

The BEAMA document in question does not seem to provide any kind of justification for the proposal to charge for missing reactive power data on the basis of a power factor of 0.9. By way of background, BEAMA represents the interests of manufacturers of reactive power compensation equipment.

It is interesting to see that the only reason why the DCP 143 working group thought that this change needed Ofgem approval is that it will have different effects on billing costs for different DCUSA parties. The potential impact on customers just does not figure in the reasoning!

The panel has updated the timetable, presumably to take account of Easter holidays. The voting deadline is now 15 April 2013, and the target date for Ofgem decision is 23 May 2013.

Here are the main documents: