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Section O: Communications under the Code

v 5.0

Section O: Communications under the Code

Simple Guide


Section O of the BSC primarily addresses data communications and sets out:

    1. an outline of the arrangements for Communications under the BSC;

    2. requirements to be complied with by Parties and Party Agents to be able to send certain Communications to BSC Agents and ensure that certain Communications are received;

    3. requirements for the form of certain Communications between Parties or Party Agents and BSC Agents;

    4. the basis upon which certain Communications will be treated as received by a Party or a BSC Agent for the purposes of the BSC.

In this Section O references to a Party do not include BSCCo or BSC Clearer. In this Section O references to a party Agent do not include SVA Meter Operator Agents.

Section O also cross-references arrangements and requirements in relation to Communications which are specified elsewhere in the BSC or in other documentation as follows:

    1. Communications between any Party and either the Panel and/or Elexon Clear and/or Elexon (covered in Section H);

    2. Communications between NETSO and a Party relating to matters arising under Section Q (i.e. in relation to balancing mechanism activities) (covered in the Grid Code)1 ;

    3. Communications between BSC Agents and / or between BSC Agents and Market index Data Providers (covered in BSC Service Descriptions, BSC Agent Contracts, Market Index Data Provider Contracts and/or BSC Procedures (BSCPs));

    4. any other Communications not covered in Section O (covered in Section H unless explicitly covered elsewhere in the BSC).

In addition, Section O identifies SVA Communications as those communications sent and received by SVA data parties2 using the Managed Data Network, or an alternative method of data transfer approved by the Panel. These can be approved as long as the charges for using the alternative transfer method are lower than those for using the Managed Data Network. Section O does not cover SVA Communications using the Managed Data Network; however it does cover SVA Communications using another approved method of SVA data transfer.


Generally in Section O, where the phrase 'Party' is used, it does not include Elexon.

A Communication includes notifications, applications, requests, approvals, acceptances, rejections, reports or other data submission or data transfer which is sent or received under the BSC and includes the data flow and content contained within the communication. A Communications Medium is a particular method of transmitting Communications, for example, fax, e- mail, telephone or other electronic communications systems.

A Communication can be made by being posted on the BMRS ( or the BSC website when the BSC explicitly provides for this. Unless the Panel states otherwise, any Communication which is specified in a Data Catalogue must be sent in the form and format and using the Communications Medium specified in the Data Catalogue.

Communications Requirements Document

Section O establishes the Communication Requirements Document, which is a Code Subsidiary Document. It contains a description and specification of the each available Communications Medium, information relating to requirements and testing of Party Systems, security requirements, the basis on which it is determined when Communications sent using a particular Communications Medium are deemed to have been received and arrangements for recording, logging and acknowledging the sending and receipt of communications.

Parties' Obligations

Each Party has to have the use of a system (or systems) that interfaces with the BSC Agents and enables it to send and receive Communications in accordance with the requirements in the Communications Requirements Document. These systems (‘Party Systems’) do not have to be used exclusively for the purposes of Communications under the BSC, so long as their other uses do not affect the Party's ability to send and receive Communications in accordance with the requirements of the BSC.

Party Systems have to undertake "network access tests" (NATs) and "business process integration tests" (BPITs), further details of which are specified in the Communication Requirements Document. The purpose of these tests is to ensure that the Party System is compatible with, and capable of sending and receiving Communications using the relevant Communications Medium. A Party might also be required to undertake further testing if its Communications if its equipment changes.

The requirement to have a Party System that has passed the relevant communications tests is a pre-requisite to the Party's Registration in the Central Registration System (CRS). Modifications to Party Systems can be undertaken so long as notice of this is provided to Elexon (if required to do so by the Communication Requirements Document), and the modification is properly tested to ensure it does not affect the Party's ability to receive and send other Communications.

Parties must also modify their Party Systems if it is required as a result of any change in a Data File Catalogue or Communication Requirements Document.

As well as the security requirements specified in the Communication Requirements Document, Parties must prevent unauthorised access to a Communication or Communications Medium and prevent unauthorised use of passwords and security keys. If a Party becomes aware of a breach of security, it must notify Elexon and the relevant BSC Agent and take other steps required of it in the Communication Requirements Document.

Rules as to Communications

Parties must send Communications using the Communications Medium and in the format specified in the CVA Data Catalogue, SVA Data Catalogue or Communication Requirements Document. A communication made in accordance with the BSC and Code Subsidiary Documents is considered to be a valid and effective Communication and will have legal effect. If a Party attempts a Communication which is not compliant with the applicable requirements, it is treated as having not been sent and will not have any effect under the BSC.

Any person using a Party's System and using any relevant ID, password, security key or authorisation is assumed to be authorised to use the Party's System and any Communication sent or received is considered to be sent or received by that Party.

The Communication Requirements Document specifies the time at which a Communication is treated as received for the purposes of the BSC. This includes, for Communications Mediums that are electronic forms of communication:

    • the equipment for logging and recording the sending and receiving of communications;

    • whether a Communication is treated as received under the BSC when logged as sent by the sender's system or received by the receiver's system;

    • whether an acknowledgement of receipt is sent;

    • requirements applying where a message is not properly received or accessible by the receiver; and

    • the basis on which the sending or receipt (as applicable) of a Communication will be logged and the relevant Time Standard to apply.

Where a Party has not complied with the relevant communication requirements but a Communication has been sent to the Party in accordance with the relevant requirements, that Communication is treated as properly sent and received by the Party (even though in practice, the Party may not have been able to receive or access that Communication).

The Communication Requirements Document sets out the basis upon which a BSC Agent System or Communications Medium can be withdrawn from operation, along with the requirements to give notice of the withdrawal of the BSC Agent System or Communications Medium and the likely duration of the withdrawal. During this ‘planned BSC Agent downtime’, Parties cannot send or receive Communications to or from the relevant BSC Agent.

Need more information?

For more information please contact the BSC Service Desk at or call 0370 010 6950.

Copyright Notice

If you have an interest in the electricity industry, you may view, download, copy, distribute, modify, transmit, publish, sell or create derivative works (in whatever format) from this document or in other cases use for personal academic or other non-commercial purposes. All copyright and other proprietary notices contained in the document must be retained on any copy you make. All other rights of the copyright owner not expressly dealt with are reserved.

1 Note however that Communications between NETSO (including in relation to the balancing mechanism) and BSC Agents are covered in Section O.

2 Suppliers, Supplier Agents, Supplier Meter Registration Agents (SMRAs), Elexon and the Supplier Volume Allocation Agent (SVAA).