Business Plan


Bilateral Transactions Programme

Improvement programme summary

In each of its annual State of the Market reports since the opening of the non-household market, Ofwat has identified poor wholesaler – retailer interactions as one of the main market frictions and that difficulty in these interactions “results in a poorer customer experience and reduces customer confidence in the market”. The Bilateral Transactions Programme is a direct response to calls from the regulator, trading parties and customers to deliver “significant improvements to the way in which wholesalers and retailers interact with each other, via a range of solutions spanning technology, ways of working and standardisation of processes”.

Its aim is to work with trading parties to agree and implement a central, consistent approach to the market’s core processes to reduce market frictions and help improve customer outcomes.

Its delivery is phased across the first two years of the business plan and includes:

Completion of the pilot process for confirmation of meter details or meter supply arrangements (C1 process)
Design and user testing of additional processes
Associated code changes to be agreed and mandated
System integration with the bilaterals solution

How trading parties and customers will benefit

The primary goal of the Bilateral Transactions Programme is to improve the reliability, speed and quality of service that wholesalers and retailers provide to customers. Current inefficiencies have increased trading parties’ costs to operate in the market and impacted the quality of service provided to customers.

These improvements will be generated by a programme that:

Delivers a more seamless experience for the customer
Has a consistent approach to raising and responding to requests between wholesalers and retailers
Facilitates simpler, leaner and faster operational processes
Helps reduce rejected transactions by making the data entry process simpler, for example, by automatically populating data fields with data from the Central Market Operating System (CMOS)
Enables trading parties to use fewer user accounts and logins to access MOSL systems, including through the use of a bilateral hub.

The programme will also significantly increase the visibility and measurability of individual processes at both an individual company and market level. This information can then be used to measure performance, identify issues and drive further efficiency in the market, all of which will deliver benefits to customers through improved customer service.

How the workstream builds on our current 2020/21 Business Plan 

In our 2020/21 Business Plan we identified that the most significant market improvement that many members and the regulator want is a faster, simpler, more reliable way of managing bilateral interactions between wholesalers and retailers.

A significant focus for 2020/21 has been on creating the business case underpinning the programme while assembling the team and resources required for implementation.

The business case was approved by the MOSL Board in September 2020, marking the end of the planning phase and the start of the execution phase.

The programme has gained considerable momentum over the course of 2020/21. We are currently working closely with trading parties, including through the programme’s four advisory groups.

We are now underway with the first pilot process and have begun work on subsequent processes. This plan builds on the momentum achieved this year through which we will complete the design and user testing for additional processes and agree the code changes required to mandate the use of processes.

“Where possible we should look to make the routine “bread and butter” interactions within the market as easy as possible. The bilateral portal will help to improve consistency, reduce costs and support the speed and quality of service for customers.”

Paul Stelfox, Head of Business Market Services, United Utilities

Delivery for 2021/22 – milestones and outcomes

Three phases of the Bilateral Transactions Programme are due to be delivered in 2021/22.

With a total of 67 processes, the order in which bilateral transactions are addressed has been prioritised according to those with highest volume and/or the biggest potential impact on the customer experience.

The first eight processes, which account for approximately 80 per cent of the market’s most important processes, are due to be delivered by the end of November 2021.

Phase 2 delivery
Completion of design and user testing for the first process (meter verification or ‘C1’)

Code change(s) agreed, and trading parties mandated to use process via the MOSL portal (i.e. for low volumes of transactions) or ‘system-to-system interface’ for high volumes of transactions
All C1 processes flow through the bilateral hub, delivering consistent service levels to customers and improved reporting
Phase 3 delivery [1]
Completion of design and user testing for an additional circa seven processes

Code change(s) agreed, and trading parties mandated to use additional processes via portal and/or system integration
Total of circa eight processes flow through bilateral hub, representing approx. 80 per cent of most critical and/or highest volume transactions
Phase 4 delivery [1]
Completion of design and user testing for an additional circa eight processes

Code change agreed and trading parties mandated to use processes via portal and/or system integration
Total of circa 16 processes flow through bilateral hub

*Transactions per phase correct at time of publication.
[1]   The prioritisation/ordering of processes will be reviewed and agreed with trading parties over the life of the programme in order to maximise benefits.

Three-year delivery plan

The final phases of the Bilateral Transactions Programme are due to take place in 2022/23, with a further 12 processes delivered by June 2022 and any remaining processes delivered by the end of November 2022.

Current year
Year one
Year two
Year three
Programme team in place

The development and approval of business case including cost-benefit analysis

Initiation of working groups and advisory groups

Initiation of the first pilot process (meter verification)

Agreeing necessary changes to the authority timetable with the regulator

First internal MOSL audit (twice-yearly)
First year of financial benefits realisation

Delivery of first pilot process (meter verification) (phase two)

Delivery of a further circa seven processes  (phase three)

Delivery of a further eight processes (phase four)

Adoption of processes mandated by Ofwat at the end of each phase
Delivery of another 12 processes (phase five)

Delivery of final bilateral transactions (phase six)

Programme close-out
Benefit realisation report
No additional transactions currently anticipated in 2023/24

Estimated simple payback of MOSL-related costs achieved mid-year
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