P272 and P332

A guide to P272 and P332 for businesses; what are they, why do I need them and when?

On April 1 of 2017, it became mandatory that all businesses in classes 5-8 were required to have their energy use recorded every half hour for the foreseeable future. This is a new requirement as part of the “settlement” process which will help balance how much power each business uses and pay for it accordingly; these changes happened due to the modifications taking place within what is called the Balancing and Settlement Code, P272.

P272 changes how larger, non-domestic companies have their bills calculated and proposed the mandatory nature of half-hourly meters. Energy Live News even claimed that these code changes had the potential to save thousands on behalf of businesses, and explained that bills are now to be calculated based on 17,519 readings taken throughout each contracted period.

The benefits proposed by OfGem in the introduction of this new policy is to make billing more accurate, and unmask individual customer behaviour that will allow research into saving money for each individual specifically.

By switching from half hourly (HH) stats from individual reads, more accurate information is received. This process is commonly referred to as “Change of Measurement Class” (CoMC).

The changes should affect your electricity bill. If the first number in bold on your meter point administration section is a five, six, seven or eight then you will be affected by these new rules. Otherwise this change doesn’t apply to you if it’s an one, two three four zero from 00-04

In the same vein, November 5 2015 saw a similar change, where customers who begin a contract with a supplier, or renew with their own, will then have their energy recorded each half our for use in this “settlement” process.

The Balancing and Settlement Code that was impacted to cause these changes is known as P322, which is made to help businesses and suppliers move towards a half hourly settlement.

If you are a domestic business and/or are not using an advanced meter whilst in classes 5-8, you will not be affected by any of these changes.

Will these changes affect me? When will they affect me?If you are a business using electricity meters in industry profile classes 05-08, then your current class will be reclassified to 00. This means that there is no change for residential customers who would remain classified as 01 and 02 profiles. Due to the programme start date being in 2015, it is likely that you are already impacted by the changes if you are supposed to be.
Do I need a new meter?Sometimes – Most meters are reprogrammed remotely, though this is not always the case and they may need to be exchanged if this is not an option.
Will my bills go up?So far, we do not believe that it is common for bills to rise due to the new settlement; instead, they are known to either fall or stay the same. Unfortunately, the price of electricity may have increased for some businesses. This is because suppliers will need more time and resources to collect your usage every half hour instead of just once a month.
Are there any extra charges?When a Current Transformer (CT) meter is detected, the network operator may have increased your fee for capacity on their distribution grid.  
Can I decide against half hourly settled?No.
Can I change the profile class of my business?There are currently reviews in place to consider why and how a business would downgrade from classes 3 to 4, which includes acknowledging rules under bSCp516.
How can I save on my bill?* By switching suppliers, regularly
* Shopping around for new deals and tariffs
* Look for supplier agents
* Check your Maximum Import Capacity

OfGem also offer information for business customers to help them understand the charge.

Why are these changes going forward?

Between the electric suppliers and generators, a complex system of trading is in place to meet consumer needs in the United Kingdom. For each half-hour period, it is compared how much energy consumers have used alongside how much electricity has been purchased by both parties involved. The supplier who sells less than what was bought then pays for an equal amount from their competitor’s sales that were not fulfilled during this time frame as compensation for those losses incurred on behalf of the other party.

Until the introduction of Market-Wide Half Hourly Settlement, getting an estimate for how much electricity you’re using every half hour depended on estimates. This is because many customers don’t have meters that can measure their consumption in 15 minute intervals.

However, as long as your supplier has a meter installed at your place where it’s possible to record usage by measuring power over time (like our advanced market), they are required to take all reasonable steps before installing one there so people like yourself will be able to get more accurate reports about what’s happening with their energy use.