Workstream six (WS6): Commercial and regulatory issues

About Workstream six (WS6)

WS6 was a working group of the Smart Grid Forum (SGF). It was chaired by Ofgem and comprised representatives from the electricity Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), electricity suppliers, consumer groups and other industry stakeholders. The group investigated the commercial and regulatory challenges of implementing a smart grid in Great Britain. It submitted its final report to the October 2015 SGF, published below. Any future role of the workstream will be decided by the SGF.

You can download key outputs, alongside minutes of WS6 meetings in the publications and updates feed below. 

Our objectives

The SGF sets the objectives of WS6 in the Terms of Reference. It aimed to:

  1. Develop further understanding of factors which influence customer behaviour and what incentives are needed to achieve lasting change to ensure consumer offers are tailored to customer needs.
  2. Improve understanding about who is best placed to engage and inform consumers to help them participate in new smart electricity markets.
  3. Improve understanding of how best to balance benefits among active ‘smart’ customers and the customer base as a whole.
  4. Explore different smart pathways to deliver DSR and examine the commercial and regulatory arrangements and requirements for consumer engagement.

Previous and ongoing work

The first stage of our activity focussed on identifying the smart grid solutions most likely to be relevant between now and 2023, in order to feed into the policy development for the next electricity distribution price control (RIIO-ED1).

Between August 2012 and April 2014, we focussed on identifying options for consumers to engage with smart grids. We also worked on understanding how these options could work in practice. In April 2014, we published an interim report defining the roles and relationships between consumers, network companies, suppliers and other industry groups required for each option identified.

Following the interim report, we reviewed the options to identify any regulatory and commercial barriers to their development or deployment. As a final output of the workstream we published a final report highlighting what needs to be done to make the options a reality.

Interactions with other Ofgem work

In January 2015, we launched an internal project to develop our thinking on how to enable and enhance the efficient provision and use of flexibility resources across the supply chain in the GB electricity system. 

We believe we need a more holistic approach to system flexibility. We have therefore brought together existing projects within Ofgem on demand-side response (DSR), energy storage and distributed generation and create a single project – the Flexibility project. We published our position paper on Flexibility in September 2015.

The project is being informed by work done under WS6, as well as by other projects within Ofgem and elsewhere.

Publications and updates