Thursday 16 July 2020

Digitisation offers a win-win to help transform key sectors

Digitisation offers a win-win to help transform key sectors

Harnessing, distributing and making the most of clean, renewable energy, at scale, is one of the biggest challenges that society faces today. Harnessing data has also become key to the industry’s drive towards net-zero as well as promising significant benefits for other sectors such as water and healthcare.

In energy, reducing emissions by increasing low-carbon generation is only part of the story. Networks must also become more flexible, more efficient and more focussed on the consumer. The digitisation of the energy system will help grid operators to better balance supply and demand, especially as larger amounts of intermittent renewable power is fed into the network. Accurately measuring energy usage will also help to increase efficiency by wasting less electricity.

All those measures will help to save consumers money, not only through smart meters giving them clearer information about their own energy usage but also by getting the best performance from existing network infrastructure, meaning expensive upgrades won’t be carried out unless they’re absolutely essential.

That’s why one of the key recommendations from the Energy Data Taskforce was for Ofgem and the UK Government to use existing legislation and regulations to direct the energy sector towards digitisation. All participants have a responsibility to bring benefits to the market, improve the industry and enhance the customer experience.

Deregulation and political policy decisions have dramatically changed the landscape for industries such as energy and water. Now there is an opportunity to build on that with better regulation and smarter policy management to help tackle the pressing challenges society faces.

Gemserv’s recent paper explained how improved operating models can be developed to offer simpler access to regulation and management services, incorporating risk-based rules, a single portal, digitisation and performance incentives. In the same way that digitech, fintech and edutech are revolutionising the digital, financial and education sectors, so too can regtech transform the energy market and other regulated industries.

Some of the first steps on that journey are being taken through CodeWorks, Gemserv’s new platform that provides a digital solution to regulation. Having all relevant regulations together in one place not only saves companies time and money in running their compliance teams but also brings the industry together to collaborate.

New entrants to the market and existing players alike can gain access to the relevant regulation in a single location and can search for keywords and phrases. They can map their own policies to match up against the legal requirements and tag relevant documents.

Companies can take part in industry consultations and can also manage internal compliance, monitoring which members of staff are complying with the rules. The risk from the heavy fines that come with not complying with regulations can be minimised.

Although the first application of CodeWorks was in the energy sector with the digitisation of the Smart Energy Code, it could be equally valuable to others.

As the most recent sector to experience deregulation, the water industry has an opportunity to leapfrog regulatory maturity through learnings from other sectors.

In healthcare, the sharing of patient records or the analysing of genetic codes and detailed scans for personalised or stratified medicine means harnessing and protecting data will become more and more important. With new challenges around cyber and data protection also emerging, innovation in regulation can help organisations across all sectors navigate an increasingly complex environment.

Digitisation can play a key role in the development of smarter, simpler and more interlinked regulations which will make it easier to demonstrate compliance and benefit market participants and regulators. It will also encourage wider engagement from parties such as community groups by making it easier for them to help shape future regulations which in turn will help ensure consumers are represented and protected.

To sign up to CodeWorks please email the Smart Energy Code Administrator and Secretariat (SECAS) or complete the form here.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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