Strategic Metering Review
Improvement programme summary
One of the commitments in our 2020/21 Business Plan was to undertake a Strategic Metering Review. This was directly driven out of our discussions with trading parties at the CEO Forum in 2019, in which metering was identified as the root cause of a number of, if not all, key market frictions. The Strategic Metering Review improvement programme will define a framework to improve the volume and quality of consumption data available in the market.
It is clear that the availability of timely and accurate consumption data is fundamental to an effective and thriving market that is able to deliver the best customer and environmental outcomes. Its delivery will be phased across all three years of our business plan, but will be informed by the outputs of the review we are undertaking prior to the start of 2021/22. This includes:
How trading parties and customers will benefit
The primary objective of the Strategic Metering Review is to increase the volume and quality of consumption data available to the market, and therefore improve the ability for trading parties to provide timely and accurate bills to customers.
Customers will not only benefit from more accurate bills but will also have greater visibility of their water usage to enable them to make more informed decisions on switching and tailored water efficiency offerings.
These improvements will be created by a programme that:
Enables more accurate settlement, delivering accurate and timely customer billing and charges
Provides greater clarity on trading parties’ responsibilities
Reduces indirect costs for trading parties, with efficiency savings allowing for improved commercial offerings to customers
Drives appropriate incentives and measures to encourage behaviours focused on customer outcomes
Promotes better value and choice for customers, enabling customers to make more informed decisions, including on water efficiency initiatives, based on accurate data
Improves customer satisfaction and a reduction in customer complaints driven by improved settlement and more accurate billing
Leverages the use and effectiveness of technology.
“It is hard to see how the non-household market can become financially viable without finding a sustainable solution to metering."
Stève Hervouet, Strategy and Regulation Director, Affinity Water
How the workstream builds on our current 2020/21 Business Plan
We have undertaken work this year on defining the scope and approach of the Strategic Metering Review prior to the start of 2021/22. We have mapped out the overall metering journey and identified a series of high-level pain points. We have then extended this to each of the metering sub-processes, for example, the new connections process, scheduling a meter read and taking a cyclic meter read and identified the granular pain points within each of those journeys.
These have then been grouped into key themes and overlaid with the key review areas: asset and data ownership, responsibilities and accountabilities, incentives and disincentives, technology and data quality.
We also issued a Request for Information (RFI) to trading parties to better understand their metering programmes, particularly what plans there are to install Smart or Automated Meter Reading (AMR) meters for non-household customers.
As we move into 2021/22, we will begin to define the short, medium and long-term objectives of the review and any changes which may be proposed such as asset ownership, smart metering and changes to roles and responsibilities.
Delivery for 2021/22 – milestones and outcomes
The full extent of this improvement programme will remain in development until the completion of this review phase (March 2021). We expect to drive a number of the short-term priorities through the existing code change processes, using the proposed 2021/22 budget for the Strategic Metering programme to fund programme management resource.
We recognise that a number of longer-term priorities will require regulatory input and significant market investment. As such, we are working to define the requirements ahead of the PR24 price control period.
An initial view of the 2021/22 focus areas is defined below:
Three-year delivery plan
The three-year delivery plan will be informed by the output of the current review, with an outline implementation plan to be presented in March 2021. An initial view of the short, medium, and long-term focus areas are provided below: