If you have any questions please contact: box.xoserve.CSS@xoserve.com
In parallel to the consultation released by Ofgem today (27th July 2017), I wanted to provide you with some additional information about Xoserve, where we have come from and what we are transforming to become, on a journey started in earnest 12 months ago and with 12 months still to go. Historically Xoserve was an agent of the gas transporters and in this role, we have successfully supported the gas switching process for gas consumers since 2005. However, increasingly our governance structure didn’t represent our diverse customer interests and to speak frankly, we developed a reputation for being unresponsive in some circumstances and this is something we are now addressing with pace, both structurally and culturally.
Considering structure first, from September 2016 through to April 2017 we underwent a far-reaching transformation of our governance. Changing the composition of our board to include members nominated by all our customers and a voting structure, which balances the votes between gas shippers (and retailers) who largely consume services and the gas transporters who carry the obligation to provide them. Many of our gas retail customers are dual fuel customers.
Culturally we have started an organisational transformation, which will largely complete over the next six months, but with programmes to support embedding new behaviour and ways of working running through to summer 2018. Our transformation will create an organisation which is recognised by all our customers as:
- Customer centric in everything we do, seeking first to understand our customers and then to be understood.
- Insight driven, using the power of data to create a personalised lens into the business processes we run on customers’ behalf, improving the quality of the conversation our customer advocates have directly with our customers; and internally on our customers’ behalf.
- Change capable, so that we always land complex change into the market with the least risk and maximum reliability; thinking about every change we undertake through the lens of customer change and customer risk.
Against this backdrop, we launched a brand-new switching and settlement platform into the market on 1st June 2017. This platform will be recognised as UK Link, and probably perceived as a gas only platform, but the reality is that it is a powerful SAP tool with the already inbuilt ability to switch power as well as gas – and indeed to be a utility-wide support tool. The launch went well, and the platform is scheduled to exit a period of Post Implementation Stabilisation (PIS) on schedule at the end of August. From this point onwards, the energy industry will have a stable and scalable platform (the UK Link platform) at its heart. It was not an easy journey to get from concept to launch of UK Link and in addition to the platform itself, one of Xoserve’s most valuable assets is the learning garnered along the way and the skills and capabilities developed, that industry now has the opportunity to re-use.
Given the significant investment that industry has already made to bring the new UK Link switching and settlement platform to fruition, coupled with increasing levels of industry confidence in the platform, processes and people supporting it, I believe that the potential to use the UK Link system to deliver the Central Switching Service (‘CSS’) required under the Faster Switching Programme, is something that should now be very seriously considered.
The Xoserve proposal would be further complemented by widespread re-use of people, process and infrastructure across all of the industry, with customers’ own teams, infrastructure and engagement processes developed to support Nexus being highly relevant to expedite delivery and substantially reduce the risk of the Faster Switching Programme. If there is one overarching learning that Xoserve has very much taken to heart from Project Nexus, it is that starting from a blank sheet of paper is hard, costly and fraught with risk and therefore my belief is that anything we can collectively do to build from the stable base we have created will benefit us all in the short and long term.
I believe that the combination of the UK Link platform, coupled with re-use of the Project Nexus pan-industry delivery processes could significantly de-risk the Faster Switching Programme. This, in turn, offers the quickest route to delivering the benefits of faster switching to the end consumer. Therefore, I am asking the industry to consider the relative benefits and risks of this proposal.
I am sure that there will be a wide range of views expressed about the consultation and our proposals. Therefore, I am keen to talk with as many of you as possible in the remaining time available to ensure that we reflect your views as we further develop these proposals. We will be offering a range of forums and opportunities to share your thoughts over the coming weeks.