April Fools’ Day 2020 | In today’s other developments…

Today, our Daily Bulletin featured some additional developments happening in the energy sector. As it’s April 1st, we thought we would share these stories with you. However, if you are interested in our usual accurate news and insight on the energy sector, please see here for our Energy Spectrum and Daily Bulletin publication.

Netflix to launch new action series The Regulator

Streaming service Netflix announced on Wednesday 1 April that it has commissioned a new series centring on the actions of Ofgem. Described as Line of Duty meets Watchdog, The Regulator will focus on the day-to-day challenges faced by the staff at the industry group, with Ofgem’s Canary Wharf location already expected to provide a striking backdrop for the more intense spreadsheet-based analysis sequences. Working with the tag line, “Regulate THIS!”, the series is being developed by Pesce d’Aprile Productions, and – in line with the regulator’s obligations – it will undertake a full consultation on the production and direction of the show. Earmarked for an October 2020 release, the first episode is already set for broadcast in spring 2025, subject to any judicial review.

Regulator consults on renaming Significant Code Review to reflect reality

On Wednesday 1 April, Ofgem issued a consultation proposing that Significant Code Reviews (SCR) are to be renamed Significant Work for Everyone (SWfE). The regulator considered that industry participants were fed up with how much work was required to build “an energy system for the future”. Head of Ofgem’s Dubious Acronym Panel (DAP), Trent C. Reynolds, commented on the consultation ,saying: “Turns out that the industry was not expecting SCRs to involve so much work and, as such, we are proposing to introduce SWfEs to give stakeholders more security in knowing what is required of them.”  Further proposals included “slapping a big ole Provisional Order” on anyone not using the acronym NAFLC to define the Network Access and Forward Looking Charges SWfE. Responses are requested by 31 April.  

Suggested change of meter designation

The DCC is to be asked to consider designating a new class of meter for the purposes of the SEC. DP124, brought forward by Mediocre Power on Wednesday 1 April seeks to address the discriminatory nature of the current nomenclature that refers to “smart” and “dumb” meters. The new proposal is to designate a new label – “six of one, half a dozen of the other” meters – in order to reflect market reality.

Smart toilet manufacturers made essential service provider amid toilet roll overhaul

Announced on 27 March, the government added smart toilet manufacturers to the list of essential service providers as toilet roll demand hits an all-time high.

This announcement follows a consortium, conveniently named LOO (Laboratory Orientation Organisation), calling for manufacturers of smart toilets to be listed as essential workers after its research found monthly toilet roll demand increased six-fold to 18mn tonnes. Smart toilets are reported to be the solution to the continued sight of empty toilet roll shelves, as most models can reduce wiping by up to 72%. Through connecting to smart platforms such as Amazon Alexa, smart toilet manufacturer Poogle can monitor lavatory usage and relay useful data to the user. Toilet roll consumption, time spent on the toilet and patterns of use data are collected by the smart device and transmitted back to the smart assistants to allow for toilet-efficiency standards to be integrated into households.

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to weigh on supplies of hygiene products, various smart toilet manufactures have joined forces to produce a paper-less toilet that looks to build on the existing design of Bidets. Co-founder of LOO, Ben Dover, commented that the announcement comes as a “huge relief” and that the consortium will now “really push to form a solid design to bring to retailers”. Phil McRach, analyst at consumer watchdog Ofskid said “this announcement comes to no surprise” and that it will help the shelves to stop being “wiped clean”.   

Code proposals raised to refine modification titles

P405 Requiring BSC Modification Titles to Use Cornwall Insight House Style was raised by BSC Panel member Tom Edwards on Wednesday 1 April. This is part of a series of modifications across several codes that seeks to reform modification proposal nomenclature into a clear, consistent format, with equivalents raised on the same day for the CUSC, UNC, Grid Code and DCUSA. P405 would require that all modification proposals to the code capitalise every “major word” in their title as per the Cornwall Insight style guide (in a way that is not at all arbitrary), with clear benefits in time saving to staff industry-wide (but particularly those in Norwich). Reports of petitions to BEIS to enshrine “FiT” and “Roc” in legislation as the formal acronyms for Feed-in Tariff and Renewables Obligation Certificate remain unconfirmed.

Norfolk to see trials of drones for meter reading

Households and small businesses in rural East Anglia will soon have their electricity meters remotely read by drones according to reports on Wednesday 1 April. The drones will be flown by specially trained experts based at RAF Marham in Norfolk and should be able to secure meter readings on many hard-to-find properties in the locale. The drones will have special equipment to open metering cupboards and photograph meters, with software interpreting the data pictured. The drones will be specially licensed to fly inside homes where front doors are over 1.20m wide. A spokesperson for Ofgem said: “We have chosen this part of the country because there is no gas there so there is only one meter to read. Also, if the residents are not in at the time the drone visits, they are not likely to be too far away so can return and open up their properties. The results should give a useful benchmark for us to assess a potential alternative route for delivering the smart metering programme.”

Home workers to benefit from £140 heating rebate

On Wednesday 1 April, the government tabled emergency legislation to introduce its new Warm Work Discount scheme. The move follows concerns that customers will be facing substantially increased heating bills when working from home due to the Covid-19 situation, and that there is a risk that employees will be forced to work in temperatures below the government recommended minimum of 16ºC. Under the new scheme, energy suppliers will be required to issue a one-off payment of £140 to any customer working from home, or alternatively use the Industry Initiative route to provide supplier-branded jumpers and hot water bottles. To benefit from the scheme, customers will be required to prove that they are working from home, with acceptable evidence including screenshots of virtual team meetings or photos of their home working setups.

Happy April Fools’ Day!

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