New joint ‘risk register’ for domestic demand side response launched

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Citizens Advice, Energy UK and the Association of Decentralised Energy (ADE) have announced a risk register for domestic demand side response.

Demand Side Response (DSR) incentivises people to change the way they use energy based on price signals, such as to charge their electric vehicles at night when there is less demand.

The register, which was released as part of a new report Demanding attention: Managing risks today, to improve customer experience tomorrow, examines:

  • potential consumer risks
  • where they are covered by existing legislation
  • what work is currently being undertaken to address these risks in the future
  • where there is likely to be a protection gap in the future

Charles Wood, Head of New Energy Services and Heat at Energy UK, commented: “Meeting our climate targets is increasingly going to involve consumers as they adapt to big changes in how they use energy, heat their homes as well as their transport.

“New services and technologies offer exciting potential benefits but having the right protections in place is essential to developing the customer trust and confidence that will enable a successful transition.

“Identifying any potential gaps in consumer protection in an evolving market is an important step and, while we have not identified any immediate issues, providing the right information to customers – particularly with innovative new services and products – is vital.

“We will continue to work with consumer and industry representatives to make sure this happens.”

As the UK decarbonises travel, heating and energy generation, there will be increased use of electric vehicles, heat pumps and smart domestic appliances.

These products will offer the potential to be ‘flexible’ with how and when energy is used in the home, for example, by using electricity when low carbon generation is high.

While industrial DSR is already relatively widespread, DSR in homes is still relatively new.

According to the creators of the register, to enable this market to grow well and reduce the cost of decarbonisation to consumers, people will need to have confidence through strong protections and the transition to new offers will need to be inclusive to all.

Caroline Bragg, Head of Policy at the ADE, commented: “For households, flexibility offers the opportunity of great customer service and earning money from the energy system, not just paying towards it.

“For the system, domestic-level flexibility, with broader flexibility from business, offers the only way to reach net zero without breaking the bank.

“Domestic flexibility is still very nascent in the UK but it will, and indeed needs to, take off in the next few years.

“As the industry grows, it’s crucial that we continue to deliver consistently good customer outcomes.”

The full report and the risk register can be found from the Citizens Advice Bureau website.