Compliance Testing and Protocol Approval of Settlement Meters and Outstations
Elexon has produced this guidance note to assist those seeking to deploy new Meter
s and/or Outstation
s for use in Half Hourly (HH) Settlement
in the Great Britain
(GB) market. Elexon has primarily aimed this guidance at Meter
manufacturers seeking compliance testing approval and protocol approval, who may not be familiar with the Balancing and Settlement Code
(BSC) and its Code Subsidiary Document
s. Half Hourly Data Collector
s (HHDCs) and the Central Data Collection Agent
) will also find this guidance useful when seeking protocol approval for Outstation
s they wish to collect HH data from, for use in Settlement
The BSC Metering Requirements
The BSC sets out the rules for trading in the wholesale electricity
market. Section L: Metering
s and Outstation
s used for Settlement
purposes to comply with relevant Settlement
metering Codes of Practice
The current suite of CoPs covers Settlement Metering Equipment requirements for circuits at domestic premises all the way up to large sites with circuits that have a rated capacity of over 100MVA (CoP1), e.g. Generating Plant. CoP4 covers the calibration, testing and commissioning of Settlement Metering Equipment and as such is not relevant to this guidance.
A single Meter or Outstation may be compliant with a number of CoPs but the relevant CoP for a circuit is the one that is in force at the time the Registrant/Supplier responsible for the Metering System, comprising that Metering Equipment, first registers it for Settlement purposes.
There are two market sectors within the BSC: the Non Half Hourly (NHH) market and the HH market. The BSC requires HH Meter readings for Settlement. A process called Profiling converts NHH Meter readings to HH Meter readings.
There is no formal process under the BSC for approving Meter
s for Settlement
purposes in this sector as the onus is on the Supplier
to ensure compliance with a particular NHH Settlement
CoP. Elexon has produced some guidance on ‘Smart Metering and Compliance with the BSC
Compliance Testing and Protocol Approval
When a manufacturer introduces a new Meter or Outstation into the market it needs to consider two Settlement aspects. The first is compliance with the requirements of a CoP and the second is approval of the communications protocol that the Outstation uses. A manufacturer needs to complete compliance testing of its Meter or Outstation, and at least one Data Collector (DC) needs to undergo protocol approval (for an Outstation), before Registrants/Suppliers can use the Meter or Outstation in Settlement.
Compliance testing confirms whether a Meter performs to the required accuracy and external influences do not affect it. In respect of Outstations, compliance testing confirms that the functionality is in accordance with the relevant CoP.
The process for compliance testing is set out in BSC Procedure
details the necessary tests that the compliance testing body needs to perform,
. If the testing is successful, Elexon will issue a certificate of compliance to the applicant, on behalf of the BSC Panel
, against the relevant issue of a CoP. Note that the Meter
must pass all
the relevant tests. Therefore, before testing can begin Elexon and the manufacturer must agree the test schedule to ensure that it is relevant to the product in question. Failure to do so could result in test failures. Elexon also recommends that a manufacturer satisfy itself that the Meter
would meet all the requirements set out in the relevant CoP, and the relevant tests for that CoP in BSCP601
, prior to applying for compliance testing approval.
Laboratories with recognised relevant accreditations, issued by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service
or other international equivalent bodies, may perform compliance testing providing Elexon has confirmed their suitability before the commencement of any testing. Manufacturers are free to nominate a test laboratory during the application process. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to identify an appropriate test laboratory, fund testing and provide Elexon with an appropriate test report.
Certificates reference particular Meter/Outstation products, with specific firmware versions, and the specific CoP Issues with which they comply. A change to any of these particulars after an approval is given will mean that existing certificates no longer apply to the changed product or new CoP Issue. The following are reasons why these items could change:
Elexon updates the CoPs from time to time and releases new version of the CoPs. Elexon will release a new version and Issue if the change is material to a Meter or Outstation. If this is the case, further testing may be required in order to confirm the Meter/Outstation is compliant with the new Issue of the CoP(s). Where Elexon makes a non-material change, only the version number of the CoP will increase. Version only updates have no impact on existing approvals. For example, if Elexon updates CoP5 Issue 3 version 6 to CoP5 Issue 3 version 7, the difference will not be relevant to existing approvals. A change to the current transformer requirements would be a typical example;
Meter/Outstation manufacturers are responsible for advising Elexon of any changes to firmware. Where such changes are relevant to an existing approval it may be necessary for further testing to re-confirm compliance; and
Certificates contain product type references, which rarely change. If however, the manufacturer needs to change the type reference, which a CoP approval covers, then the manufacturer should discuss this with Elexon.
Each HH CoP requires the BSC Panel
(who have delegated responsibility to its Committees the Imbalance Settlement Group
(ISG) and/or the Supplier Volume Allocation Group
(SVG)) to approve the communication protocol used by an Outstation
before the Registrant
can use the Outstation
purposes. The process for protocol approval is set out in BSCP601
In order for BSC Panel
to approve a protocol, it must undergo testing with at least one HHDC or the CDCA
. Testing will verify that the HHDC or the CDCA
can properly communicate with, and retrieve data from, the Outstation
. There are a number of HHDCs, and the CDCA
, therefore each DC intending to collect data from a new Meter
would require a separate protocol approval. Please see the Qualified Person
Workbook (spreadsheet) on the BSC Signatories and Authorised Persons
page of the Elexon website for a list of HHDCs. You can contact the CDCA
In order to carry out protocol testing the relevant HHDC or the CDCA requires sample Outstations. The testing involves setting up the sample Outstations on a test bench; simulating certain events (e.g. Outstation clock trimming, phase failure(s), reverse running (where fitted), battery failure (where fitted), etc.) and comparing the metered data collected using the manufacturer’s software with the metered data collected by the DC’s data collection software.
Normally, individual DCs apply for protocol approval, although a manufacturer can do this if it chooses to. The HHDC or the CDCA will agree a test schedule with Elexon and, when the HHDC or CDCA is ready, Elexon will witness their tests. If the Outstation passes all the tests then Elexon will issue a protocol certificate, to the applicant, on behalf of the BSC Panel. The purpose of this certificate is to verify that the HHDC or the CDCA has properly implemented the manufacturer’s protocol into its data collection system.
As with compliance certificates, protocol certificates reference particular products, firmware and data collection systems.
What if a Meter or Outstation Fails Compliance or Protocol Testing?
There are a number of options in the event of a failed test.
For compliance testing, the manufacturer can amend the product to correct the defect and further testing may be necessary to verify this. Alternatively, the manufacturer may seek a Metering Dispensation
via a BSC Party
. Under certain circumstances a Metering Dispensation
may be approved, by the relevant BSC Panel Committee
, to allow Registrant
s to use the product where it is not fully compliant with a CoP. BSCP32
sets out the Metering Dispensation
For failed protocol testing, the DC will need to work with the manufacturer and the developer of their data collection software protocols to correct the defect and further testing may be necessary to verify this.
Notification of Approvals to Industry
Once a Meter/Outstation has passed compliance testing and at least one HHDC or the CDCA has successfully passed protocol approval, Elexon will issue the certificates to the applicant(s). Elexon will then:
All costs associated with compliance testing and protocol approvals are the responsibility of those seeking compliance and/or approval. Elexon will not normally charge for its services but retains the right to recover any reasonable costs in so doing.
The following is a non-exhaustive summary of responsibilities:
Manufacturers are responsible for:
applying for compliance testing (and if the manufacturer chooses to, protocol approval);
reviewing and agreeing test schedules;
agreeing with Elexon which test facility to use;
arranging testing at a suitable test laboratory and delivery of product samples;
providing Elexon with test results; and
arranging for protocol testing with a DC.
Elexon is responsible for:
acknowledging receipt of applications;
agreeing test schedules;
agreeing test laboratories;
witnessing protocol tests;
reviewing test results;
providing certificates; and
notifying new approvals to industry.
applying for protocol approval;
arranging testing with the manufacturer;
receiving test samples and developing or implementing new protocols;
developing and agreeing test schedules with Elexon; and
agreeing test witnessing dates with Elexon.
Meters Used for Billing Purposes
The legislation is Schedule 7 of the Electricity Act 1989 and supporting regulations. Schedule 7 of the Electricity Act requires all meters used for billing to be of an approved pattern or construction and installed in an approved manner.
s for compliance testing approval of a Meter
type (usually the Meter
manufacturer) need to indicate, on the compliance testing application form (BSCP601
/03), the ‘Type approval’ status of the submitted Meter
type(s), i.e. whether the Meter
Where the relevant body (i.e. Notified Body for MID, UK Approved Body for MIR, or BEIS) has issued a MID/MIR type approval and/or GB approval certificate for a meter type, please provide a copy of the certificate(s) with the application for compliance testing approval (BSCP601
/03). If the MID/MIR and/or GB approval is being conducted in parallel with or following compliance testing approval, please provide a copy of the certificate(s) once the MID/MIR and/or GB approval certificate(s) have been issued. In this case, Elexon will not issue a compliance testing approval certificate until the applicant provides this evidence. This is to avoid giving the impression to the applicant that once Elexon issues a compliance testing approval certificate (and at least one protocol approval certificate) for a Meter
s can use the Meter
type in the GB market.
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