This article in our contract focus series, aims to explain the assurance and auditing process of the Meter Operator Code of Practice Agreement (MOCOPA®). MOCOPA® is an agreement between Meter Operators (MOps) and Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), which details rights and responsibilities surrounding the provision of meter operation services. The agreement ensures that all Parties work in compliance with the approved safety, technical and business interface requirements. MOps can choose to become MOCOPA® accredited or work for an organisation that is Party to MOCOPA®, DNOs are required to become a Party under the Distribution Connection and Use of System Agreement (DCUSA).
Gemserv acts as the Registration Authority for MOCOPA® and an important part of this role lies in ensuring that Parties’ working practises comply with MOCOPA® requirements. This is done through several methods, which include the assurance process for applicants and annual audits for existing Parties.
Health and Safety First
An important aspect of MOCOPA® assurance is the focus on health and safety. MOCOPA® auditing is put in place to ensure all Parties work according to its requirements and aims to protect the public, as well as engineers. The accession process ensures that all Parties entering the market know the requirements and associated work.
The requirements ensure that new and existing Parties train their staff appropriately and inform customers accordingly. It also warrants correct and effective communication between MOps and DNOs. For example; if an unsafe situation was detected by a MOp working on site, the MOCOPA® Guidance for Service Termination Issue Reporting would require the MOp to inform the DNO through the Asset Condition Codes. The Guidance also mandates the DNO to undertake the necessary measures to address the issue within the appropriate timescales.
Under the MOCOPA®, all Parties are required to undergo annual auditing. The audits are either on-site practical audits or desktop based headquarter (HQ) audits. DNOs and MOps have different audit criteria, however all parties are required a to undertake an HQ audit. The HQ audit reviews the processes and procedures that are in place within an organisation and assesses whether these comply with the requirements outlined in the MOCOPA® agreement. The HQ audit verifies whether these processes and procedures are being followed by requesting various pieces of evidence.
In addition to the HQ audit, MOps are audited on-site. This means that a Registration Authority auditor will accompany a MOCOPA® Party’s operative at on-site jobs to assess whether the operative works in accordance with the MOCOPA® requirements. The number of jobs that are audited is dependent on the number of operatives a Party employs. If the auditor identifies any observations or non-compliances, the Party is requested to provide corrective actions to prevent these issues reoccurring in future. The number of non-compliances a Party receives determines the number of audits being required the following year. If the audits have been completed to an acceptable standard, MOps will be awarded a MOCOPA® Certificate, which entitles them to work as a MOCOPA® Operator for a year.
The application process for DNOs and MOps differs slightly. DNOs are required to sign an Accession Agreement and will undergo an HQ audit similar to the annual audit.
MOps are required to complete an initial application, which includes an Accession Agreement and application form, as well as a number of supporting documents. When the initial application is completed sufficiently, the applicant will be awarded a provisional MOCOPA® certificate, which is valid for three months. Within these three months of provisional accreditation, an applicant can undertake work and will be audited. The provisional audit includes an HQ audit and a minimum of four on-site audits. The non-compliance process is the same as it is for existing Parties in the annual audits and when the audits have concluded successfully, the MOp will be awarded a full MOCOPA® certificate and is Party to MOCOPA® for the remainder of the financial year.
The number of Parties becoming MOCOPA® members has increased considerably over the last 24 months, especially the number of MOCOPA® operators. This is mainly driven by the implementation of smart metering and the increased requirement for the installation and replacement of meters. To ensure the safety of all these installations, MOCOPA® has continued to monitor the accession process and annual audit requirements closely.
Ensuring safety, protecting the consumer
The processes and procedures covered by MOCOPA® serve to ensure that the metering industry is working for everyone’s benefit and our collaborative approach is ensuring that consumers’ electricity metering is connected safely. Meter operatives are the most common attendees to consumer premises and therefore, under MOCOPA®, act as the face of utilities and are crucial to ensure consumer trust.
If you would like to find out more the Registration Authority has provided further guidance on the accession process on the MOCOPA® website, here. Alternatively, if you have any further queries, please contact the Registration Authority by either emailing email@example.com or by calling 020 7191 1753.