Distribution Code Modification

Modifications to the distribution code may be proposed in accordance with the Constitution and Rules of the Distribution Code Review Panel of Great Britain.

Procedure for amending the Distribution Code and Annex 1 Standards (from the Constitution and Rules of the Distribution Code Review Panel of Great Britain)

Overview of the Distribution Code Modification Process

The flow chart above below gives a high level overview of the process for making modifications to the Distribution Code (or Annex 1 documents). Details of this process can be found in the DCRP Standard Procedure 1 – Governance of Qualifying Standards, in the Constitution and Rules of the DCRP. The steps in the process are described more fully in the following sections.

The Distribution Code Review Panel (DCRP)

The DNOs are required in their licence conditions to maintain a Distribution Code Review Panel (DCRP). This comprises representatives of the DNOs, Ofgem and users of the distribution system, including generators and suppliers. The DCRP maintains an ongoing review of the Distribution Code and its workings. DGC4 of the Distribution Code sets out the aims and objectives of the DCRP, and well as details of which stakeholders should be members.

As the electricity industry changes and evolves it becomes necessary to modify the Distribution Code to reflect these new developments and alterations. Furthermore, to reflect changes to the Distribution Licences and increased regulations coming in from Europe, modifications to the current Distribution Code will be needed. The procedure for modifying the Distribution Code is set out in Standard Licence Condition 21 of the Distribution Licence, and more fully in the Constitution and Rules of the DCRP.

Users can pass to the DCRP suggestions for changes to the Distribution Code at any time. The Distribution Code Administrator will provide guidance to users in proposing changes. Users can also ask the DCRP to issue guidance in relation to the implementation, performance and interpretation of the Distribution Code.

Progressing a Distribution Code Modification

DNOs or users may raise a Distribution Code issue. For the avoidance of doubt, an issue is not a modification – rather it is a matter that could be developed into a modification (e.g. a concern over the practical implications of a test requirement). Raising a Distribution Code issue is normally done in writing, although the party raising the issue may be given the opportunity to present their concern to the DCRP.

The issue raised is reviewed by the DCRP, and considered against the following tests:

  • Jurisdiction – is it an issue relating to a qualifying standard (Distribution Code Annex 1 standard, Annex 2 standard or an individual DNO standard)?
  • Materiality – for example, what impact does the issue have on competition, distributed generation, etc.?

If the issue does not pass these tests, the user who raised the issue will be notified of this (which may include being invited to a DCRP meeting), and given the reasons for the decision reached by the DCRP.

If the issue does pass the tests, the DCRP will also consider factors such as whether the issue is of relevance to other Network Code Review Panels, and whether a working group is required to address the issue. The formation of working groups is described in the next section.

DCRP Working Groups

When the DCRP thinks an issue requires further development, it may be referred to a working group prior to it being released for industry consultation. The issue proposer will usually draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for the working group which will help to identify the issues which need discussing. These ToR need to be approved by the DCRP. Every working group has a Chair and a Technical Secretary and a cross section of members from across the industry to give a balanced view on the topic.

The Technical Secretary will, in line with the agreed ToR:

  • Arrange meetings.
  • Take minutes and ensure documentation of meetings is published on the DCode website.
  • Assist with the writing of the working group report.

It is expected that there will be an update on the progress of the working groups at each DCRP meeting whilst the working group is ongoing.

The working group will produce a final report, which should describe the issue, provide an overview of the discussions, the findings of the working group, a recommendation and how the modification proposed to address the issue sits against the overall Distribution Code objectives. Any interaction which the Distribution Code modification would have with other Codes or industry documentation is also noted.

If the working group, for any reason, has been in existence for more than a year, an annual update is required. This will contain the current progress, reasons for delays, next steps and likely conclusion dates.

After discussions at DCRP meetings on the report produced by the working group, the issue can be deemed completed against its ToR and can be recommended to proceed to industry consultation. If the ToR is not fulfilled then the working group will continue and subsequently resubmit to the DCRP in an agreed timescale.

Any review must include an evaluation of whether any proposed modification to the Distribution Code would better facilitate the achievement of the Distribution Code objectives.

Industry Consultation

When a Distribution Code modification is proposed, the DCRP is required by its licence conditions to consult with all Authorised Electricity Operators who may be affected by the modification. Modifications usually proceed to public consultation (also known as industry consultation).

When an issue has been referred to industry consultation, the DCRP will prepare an industry consultation document. This will be distributed to industry and published on the Distribution Code website.[1] Feedback on the proposal is then sought from interested parties. Provisional legal text is included in the consultation document to enable the effect of the proposed changes to be seen. Also included is a summary of the discussions which the working group had on the issue (if a working group was formed) and their recommendations.

The consultation document should contain:

  • Reasons for the proposed modification.
  • The implications for DNOs and users.
  • The key points for consultation.
  • An evaluation of whether the proposed modification would better facilitate the achievementof the Distribution Code objectives.
  • An impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

The consultation period is agreed by the DCRP. The standard period for consultation is six weeks.

[1] Open and closed consultations can be found at: www.dcode.org.uk/consultations

Report to Authority

Following the industry consultation period, the DCRP will collate and review the responses to determine the general industry consensus and whether the proposed modification should be submitted to Ofgem for approval (or rejection). If submission of a proposed modification is the general view of the industry, then the DCRP will write a report providing a summary of the responses obtained and the replies from the DCRP to those responses. This report will also be published on the Distribution Code website.

On receipt and review of the report, if Ofgem thinks that they require additional information or clarification they will contact the DCRP to obtain this. If after review of the report, Ofgem cannot form a decision based upon the content of consultations which are presented to them, they can return the issue to the DCRP (and the working group, if applicable) to obtain further feedback. This ‘Send-back’ process is in place to safeguard Ofgem from having to reject a proposal when there are limited alterations required, such as minor revisions to legal text, technical points or clerical changes. When sending an issue back to the DCRP Ofgem can include the areas of development which may need expansion for a decision to be made.

Depending on the clarification required by Ofgem, further actions may be discussed with the working group, if there was one. Alternatively the modification may be withdrawn until further actions can be taken to address issues highlighted by Ofgem.

Ofgem will decide whether the modification proposal developed throughout the process should be approved to be implemented. Following the decision by Ofgem, their decision will be published on the Distribution Code website.

Should a modification to the Distribution Code be approved by Ofgem, the DCRP Secretary will ensure that the decision letter is circulated amongst industry and interested parties and also published on the Distribution Code website. Furthermore, they will ensure that changes related to the modification are made to the Distribution Code and that the updated version is uploaded to the website to replace the existing version. All of these modifications are to be undertaken within the proposed timescales.

If a modification is rejected by Ofgem then the decision letter will also be circulated amongst industry and interested parties as well as being uploaded to the Distribution Code website. The Distribution Code will remain unchanged.

Modification Forms and Templates

Distribution Code Issues Paper (Template)

The Distribution Code Issues Paper (Template) is used to raise an issue to the Distribution Code Review Panel, as well as providing an initial assessment of the issue. An issue can be anything that a party would like to raise and does not have to result in a modification to the Distribution Code or creation of a Working Group.

Distribution Code Issue Papers for consideration at the next scheduled Distribution Code Panel meeting (DCRP), must be submitted THREE weeks in advance.

One you have completed the template please submit for the attention of the Code Administrator at dcode@energynetworks.org

Modification Proposal Form

This modifcation proposal form/template is to be used when submitting a proposal to modify the Distribution Code or any of the codes qualifying standards found in Annex 1 and Annex 2 of the Distribution Code.

Modification proposals should be submitted to Chris McCann at dcode@energynetworks.org

Modification History

Modifications that have been formally proposed to the Distribution Code Review Panel (DCRP) are listed in the links below.

Distribution Code Modification Register

A copy of the Distribution Code modification register can be downloaded here