12 January 2023
Happy New Year!
As we say goodbye to the turbulence of 2022 and welcome in 2023, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the successes of 2022. Despite a difficult year, we achieved a great deal and the lessons we learned will allow us to help drive further positive change across the energy industry.
I wish you all the very best for 2023! The team and I look forward to continuing to work with you.
Chief Executive Officer
Our key achievements for 2022
We moved to the cloud
During 2022, Xoserve moved key systems to a cloud-based platform. This meant we could remove legacy components (old and clunky hardware), decommission ‘on premise’ data centres and reduce future technical debt (which, if allowed to increase, detrimentally impacts the cost to maintain systems). A cloud-based platform is also more environmentally friendly, as we don’t need to send engineers to replace and repair physical parts and we have the freedom to create environments remotely.
In October, Xoserve migrated UK Link to the Xoserve Services Portal. This new portal is a single, centralised location for customers to access multiple systems, with only one ‘single sign on’ required. We implemented exception automation for several case categories, meaning defined exceptions clear automatically. As a result, the reconciliation will reach customers as early as possible, accelerating the reconciliation process. With data being refreshed daily from early 2023, we’ll be able to detect issues using file monitoring, ensuring that critical files are processed within expected timescales, providing more reliable processing and reducing impacts to downstream processes. The daily data refresh will also reduce any consequential impacts with processing non-critical files, which could otherwise be delayed due to critical files being processed as a priority.
We launched the Central Switching Service (CSS)
In 2022, the industry introduced a new programme to make the switching process faster and simpler for Shippers and Suppliers. The CSS launched in July, creating a new centralised supplier switching service for both gas and electricity. As part of this programme, we introduced consequential changes into UK Link and other key systems.
Alongside the launch of CSS, Xoserve provided an adapter product called SwitchStream, to support customers to interface with the CSS. We built this so that customers didn’t have to change the way they send us files or who they send files to. Without SwitchStream, customers would have had to build a connection to CSS and manage the associated security requirement, which could have resulted in delays to the Switching Programme, increasing our programme costs and those of our customers. SwitchStream does this for them, saving time and manual intervention. By the end of September, we’d processed 510,000 gas switches and now SwitchStream supports 30% of all switching messages in the UK.
We said goodbye DES and hello GES
At the same time as the CSS programme launched, the Data Enquiry Service (DES) was replaced with the Gas Enquiry Service (GES), also available via our new Xoserve Services Portal. GES enables users to view their organisations’ data and provides a range of information relating to supply meter points, accessible through a choice of online screens, application programming interfaces and a range of reports.
We began the Contact Management System rebuild
In October and December, we launched the first new processes, comprising Shipper MNC and Supplier Theft of Gas contacts, Duplicate Meter Point Process, new Set to Extinct contact code, Originator Clarification and Configuration Change functionality. These were the result of engagement with customers from 2020, in which we started to shape the future of the system rebuild and identify improvements. The customer workshops identified 500 requirements for the new system.
We will continue to meet regularly with customer focus groups to provide progress updates, understand customer impacts and testing and training needs.
Read more on the rollout of our CMS rebuild
We grew the Data Discovery Platform (DDP)
Xoserve continued to develop the DDP core functionality. Through bespoke dashboards, available via a browser or DDP app, users can explore their organisations’ data, ask questions and gain insights whenever and wherever they need. It provides instant access to visual data about their business needs and performance indicators. In 2022, 800 users were registered across more than 110 organisations and we held customer workshops to better understand their priorities and ensure DDP delivers value.
Through DDP, we’ve rolled out more Shipper packs and performance reports and delivered new invoice reports. Customers can now compare costs and identify ways to price more effectively to protect their revenue.
DDP also introduced a self-serve element to invoicing so that Distribution Networks can access charging invoice data and understand changes and movements. The ongoing delivery of read performance dashboards means Shippers can access data and track industry performance. Finally, the Independent Gas Transporters can access industry analytics to compare Market Domain Data against UK Link data, ensuring that their asset data remains accurate.
We helped support consumers in the face of high energy bills
Xoserve has been administering the gas side of the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) scheme since October 2022. The aim of the EPG is to limit the price domestic consumers have to pay per unit of energy, providing some protection from the cost-of-living crisis. It also reduces the risk of supplier failures due to bad debts, thus shielding the rest of the gas market from the level of financial losses seen last winter.
Initially asked to engage in August 2022, our inputs and suggestions contributed to the delivery of a solution within just 6 weeks, ensuring it was operational by October when the price cap increased. We are pleased to be able to support the Government, the gas market and consumers in this way, and look forward to continuing to support the EPG in 2023. We are also continuing to support BEIS with the non-domestic scheme (Energy Bill Relief Scheme, EBRS) and are helping to identify off-gas sites that may qualify for subsidy through alternative fuel schemes.
Read more about Xoserve's role in supporting the EPG
We expanded our decarbonisation activities
In 2022, Xoserve launched a monthly Delivering Decarb newsletter and online knowledge hub, and supported the Future Billing Methodology consultation. We also worked alongside the Distribution Networks (DNs) to design solutions that support the H100 Fife and Hydrogen Village trials.
We will be just as busy in 2023, as we move from design to delivery stage, and support the transition of hydrogen blend into the existing Gas network. In November we launched our first podcast, ‘How will the hydrogen Guarantee of Origin scheme benefit businesses?’ Our second podcast, later this month, will focus on decarbonising metering.
Visit our decarbonisation knowledge centre
We improved our customers’ experience
In 2022, we launched an online ‘knowledge management module’. This has enabled our people to find the answers to queries more quickly and resolve incidents for customers more efficiently, meaning we've seen a 30% reduction in our average incident resolution times compared to 2021. With these resources, we've been able to focus on improving the quality of the service we provide, with efforts resulting in our 'incident and service handling request' scores increasing from 68% to 85%.
In 2022 we delivered 15 training and change awareness sessions to 420 customer representatives. Customer knowledge increased by an average of 49% (based on feedback following the sessions). For these sessions customers rated us 4 out of 5 for overall training experience and 4 out of 5 for how likely they would recommend our sessions to a colleague.
What else was new for 2022?
- Our infrastructure team introduced multiple tools across all systems to improve cyber security.
- We implemented several IT improvements and upgrades to enable online ‘single sign on’ and allow users to reset their own passwords.
- Xoserve was shortlisted in the ‘Resilience and Continuity’ category for the British Credit Awards 2023. Run by the Chartered Institute of Credit Management, our nomination is for our work during the Supplier of Last Resort crisis of last winter, where we continued to deliver business as usual services, while also managing the impacts of multiple Supplier (and Shipper) failures. The winner will be announced in February 2023.
New to the gas industry?
See our new starter guide.
Our 2023 Business Plan
Find out how we engage with customers to plan our budgets and spending.
Our 2021-22 Annual Review
A comprehensive update on our performance and activities.
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