Network March 2018

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NETWORK / 27 / MARCH 2018 Meanwhile, the gas networks are explor- ing green gas. Cadent and Northern Gas Networks are collaborating on HyDeploy, a £7 million pilot to blend hydrogen into Keele University's gas network. Cadent is also working with Wales and West Utili- ties, together with Progressive Energy and Advanced Plasma Power, to develop the world's cleanest, commercial-scale BioSNG plant in Swindon. Exploring joint solutions But increasingly we are seeing the energy networks coming together to explore joint solutions. Cadent and Northern Gas Networks are taking the † rst steps to explore, with our electricity network colleagues, a whole system energy modelling tool for cities and regions. How can we work together to ensure our cities access the most eˆ cient, a‰ ordable and green energy solutions? How can we supply the reliable, clean energy – at pace – that economic growth needs? For example, where it is costly and complex to connect a major industrial de- velopment to the electricity network, could gas provide an alternative or vice versa? We need to work closely together to present viable, timely solutions that attract economic growth to the communities we serve. Harnessing smart, integrated technolo- gies to deliver value to the consumer and o‰ er heat and power Ž exibility services to the network was the concept behind Project Freedom, trialled by our colleagues in Wales and West Utilities and Western Power Distribution. Using a hybrid heating system, the pro- ject enabled smart switching between gas and electricity, allowing customers to access the lowest cost heat. A further example of how we in the CASE STUDY: The Priority Services Register The Priority Services Register enables people in vulnerable situations to access free, ad- ditional services from energy networks and suppliers. These include alternative cooking and heating facilities during a gas outage, through to information supplied in alternative formats. Thanks to a huge collaborative effort across gas and electricity, networks and suppliers, led by Cadent's Jo Giles, customers will fi nd it easier than ever before to access the services they need. Five years ago it was a different story. There are in fact multiple Priority Service Registers, with suppliers and the electricity DNOs each holding their own, but data wasn't shared and there was a lack of consistency in how this was captured. "The PSR industry position was too complex meaning that multiple registrations might be required because of the lack of a joined up approach. There was a real desire within the networks and suppliers to improve this but at the time no established pathway to achieve it," explains Giles. Under the auspices of the ENA, Giles set up the Safeguarding Customers Working Group, bringing together the networks, suppliers, trade bodies and national charities such as Citizen's Advice. The ambition of the group was to bring a whole industry approach to priority access for customers who might need extra support. The work has focused on fi ve key priorities: needs codes and outcomes; two- way data fl ow; consent; awareness and joint initiatives; and referrals. The group needed to establish a common set of 'needs codes' - a numeric system of codes indicating a domestic customer's specifi c types of need, for example, partially sighted. Importantly meaning that by knowing the 'needs' of the customer the industry can respectfully adapt their actions to positively impact daily interactions, providing equal access to services. To streamline varying coding systems into just 27 agreed codes was no mean feat. Two-way data fl ow was also key, enabling organisations to share data. It means customers need only register once and the information will be automatically shared and updated on the other registers. Getting consent right was critical. The group's Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) – a 30-page document detailing how the industry keeps and shares PSR data, - won praise from the Information Commissioner's Offi ce as the fi rst whole industry approach to a PIA. Such has been the success of the project that it is being adopted by the water industry. The group is currently working to make the referral process to the register even easier. Customers can, from summer 2018, also be registered via a new Citizen's Advice tool. "I am really proud of what we have achieved together as a working group. At its heart, the Priority Services Register is about accurately identifying that we have a customer in a vulnerable situation and knowing how to interact respectfully with that person," says Giles. networks are collaborating on decarbonisa- tion comes from Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid. In conjunction with Newcastle University, they have launched InTEGReL, a £30 million integrated energy research facility bringing together gas, elec- tricity and transport. It is not only the decarbonisation agenda that has much to gain from network collabo- ration. Customers in vulnerable situations are also bene† ting from a remarkable piece of work to improve access to the Priority Services Register (PSR). This has seen all the networks come together, with the energy suppliers, to radi- cally overhaul, update and share data, mak- ing it easier for customers to access these services. It has taken time and commitment from all parties. Our energy system is in transition and we operate against a background of uncertainty. But by pooling our extensive knowledge and resources we are ideally positioned to provide innovative solutions that will bene† t our customers and deliver a greener energy future for our country. A collaborative effort across gas and electric- ity, networks and suppliers, means customers can easily access the services they need.

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