The Innovation Link

Ofgem’s Innovation Link is a ‘one stop shop’ offering support on energy regulation to businesses looking to introduce innovative or significantly different propositions to the energy sector.

We want to support innovative ideas that bring benefits to consumers. This also helps us understand emerging trends in the sector and identify areas in which our regulation may need to adapt to sustain innovation.

If you have a new business proposition, we offer a dedicated service to provide fast, frank feedback on the regulatory framework and what it might mean for you. We are also developing a programme of general support to help innovators get started in understanding the regulatory framework.

Regulatory Sandbox: Calling for expressions of interest

We are now inviting expressions of interest for a potential regulatory sandbox. The regulatory sandbox will allow innovators to trial business propositions that will benefit consumers without incurring all of the usual regulatory requirements. To find out more about the sandbox, and whether you are eligible, please read our open letter.

To respond, please complete the expression of interest form. The form needs to be returned to innovationlink@ofgem.gov.uk by Friday 17 March 2017. Please mark your email with "sandbox enquiry".

Fast, frank feedback

Eligibility criteria

Innovators with new or significantly different business propositions for the energy sector can use this service. It may be particularly helpful for innovators developing propositions that do not fit neatly in to the existing regulatory framework. We want to help developers understand the regulatory implications of their ideas before they launch.

We have four eligibility criteria to receive support:

  1. Innovation: The proposition must be ground-breaking or significantly different to what is currently in the market. It could include either technological or business model innovation.
  2. Consumer benefit: It should be clear how the proposition would benefit consumers. This could be, for example, because it would lead to direct benefits such as lower energy bills or better customer service, or indirect benefits such as increased competition in the market. 
  3. Background research: You should have researched the concept and be able to show that you have attempted to find out about the regulatory implications.
  4. Need for support: The Innovation Link provides information on the regulation in the energy sector. It does not provide business advice on the commercial viability of a project. You should be able to tell us why you need Link support. For example, what it is that you wish to understand from a regulatory perspective or how you think Link support would benefit you.

If your business proposition does not meet these criteria, then Ofgem has other, more suitable ways of engaging that we will refer you on to.

What you can expect from us

When you email the Innovation Link we will generally reply within two working days.

We will allocate you a case manager who will contact you to arrange a meeting or teleconference to discuss your business model and to see if you are eligible. This case manager will be your point of contact throughout and will be in touch within five working days.

If you are eligible for Link support, your case manager will arrange a second meeting or teleconference in order to work with you to refine the queries you’d like help with. This is an important stage and will give us an agreed set of questions for us to answer.

If your query is relatively straightforward then we expect to provide an answer quickly. More complex queries will take longer to answer. We should be able to give you an idea of expected timescales and will update you as we go through the process.

When we provide a response it will usually be in a meeting or teleconference and followed-up in writing. The purpose of our feedback is to help you understand our regulatory regimes, and to provide you with an informal steer on potential regulatory implications in the early stages of developing your project. However, it is not a substitute for your own due diligence. Depending on the nature of the feedback we have given, we may stipulate that the information is non-binding and confidential. See our standard legal disclaimer. 

What we need from you

You must explain:

  • what your project is
  • why it is going to make a difference
  • what research you have undertaken on the regulatory implications so far.

Confidentiality of information

We will handle your commercial information with sensitivity. We will only share it with colleagues in Ofgem that can help answer your query. We will not share it with any third parties without your consent.

General support

In early 2017 we will roll-out a programme of practical support to help innovators get started in understanding the regulatory framework.

We are currently developing our thinking around what the programme could involve. Our ideas include providing seminars/webinars and/or published information targeted at early-stage innovators to help them understand the regulatory framework.

Get in touch

If you are interested in this service or have ideas on formats or topics that would be most helpful, please email us at innovationlink@ofgem.gov.uk

Publications and updates

  • Published: 6th Feb 2017
  • Open letters & correspondence
  • 2 Associated documents
We are inviting expressions of interest for a Regulatory Sandbox. This will allow innovators to trial business propositions that aim to benefit consumers, without incurring all the usual regulatory requirements.