De-mystifying the DCC User Entry Process
Gemserv are fortunate enough to operate at the centre of the utilities industry, operating a number of contracts pivotal in transforming the industry. But what does that mean and what is it that we do? In a series of monthly articles, we will take a look at some of our core sectors and the work we conduct within them. We will look to share industry deadlines and provide insight and guidance to help our community but also help de-mystify our role in the industry.
With that in mind, we wanted to discuss the Smart Energy Code (SEC) DCC User entry process, what it is and what key dates you should be aware of.
If you are an energy Supplier or Distribution Network Operator (DNO), you should be aware of the following upcoming DCC User Mandate deadlines:
- Domestic Small Suppliers (less than 250,000 customers): 25th November 2017
- DNOs: 21st January 2018
- Non-Domestic Small Suppliers: 31st August 2018 (subject to current consultation).
But what exactly are the DCC User Mandates and how did they come about?
Over several years, the GB energy market has begun developing and implementing Smart Meter related technology, driven by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) vision that every home and small non-domestic premise will have smart metering equipment installed and commissioned by 2020.
For many GB energy market participants, BEIS has established DCC User Mandates via energy licences. This is a date by which they must become qualified Users of DCC Services to communicate to Smart Meters. How they wish to use the Service is important too, as specific User Roles have been created to ensure Suppliers can undertake Supplier-based actions with a Smart Meter, Electricity Distribution Networks can undertake Distribution-related actions and so on.
To become a DCC User, and in accordance with the Licence(s) obtained from the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), energy market participants first must become SEC Parties. Once this has occurred, SEC Parties must complete an accreditation process, called the DCC User Entry Process (UEP), to achieve the go-ahead that their system works and is secure when it communicates to Smart Meters. The UEP as set out in the SEC involves five key stages listed in SEC Sections H1.10 (a) – (e) which can be viewed here.
The process also involves interaction with the DCC and the SEC Panel, the governance body whose role is to ensure the Code is efficient and complied with. The DCC oversees: lodging a User ID, completing the necessary testing and providing Credit Support and/or Credit Cover, whilst the SEC Panel oversees Security Assessments and Privacy Audits.
For most SEC Parties, the DCC User Entry Process will take several months. However, arrangements, solutions and third-party providers can reduce this time – particularly if a Shared Resource is being used to physically connect to the DCC, as many of these providers have already been through the process in the first half of 2017. The choice of using the above is ultimately up to the SEC Party.
Once complete, a SEC Party will receive confirmation that it can connect to the live DCC Services (acting in the User Role that it has completed in the DCC User Entry Process) and begin interacting with (by either installing and commissioning, reading Device Logs, etc.) SMETS2 Smart Meters.