As new arrangements come into force for governing energy metering standards, Gemserv’s Delivery Manager Catherine Ward looks back on the achievements of the MOCOPA.
Its name is a bit of a mouthful and very few people outside the electricity industry will have heard of it, but MOCOPA has played a key role in the shift to a smarter energy system.
Short for the Meter Operation Code of Practice Agreement, it has overseen the installation, operation and maintenance of electricity meters in homes and businesses for more than two decades, and served as an important interface between meter operators and distribution businesses.
The agreement has provided confidence to all stakeholders that meters are safe, and that customers switching suppliers will not face barriers.
Gemserv has provided the role of Registration Authority for MOCOPA since its inception. Working collaboratively with stakeholders and providing effective management, whether onboarding new parties to the agreement, communicating technical and safety updates, or handling its financial obligations.
Regular MOCOPA meetings provided a platform for experts across the industry to voice change, challenge understanding and share knowledge. These meetings have played an important role in cementing relationships and establishing best practice covering important technical issues which will continue to be of benefit to the industry.
Underpinning safety and compliance for consumers, and as one of the few industry schemes which involves site visits, Gemserv has undertaken a comprehensive annual programme of site audits. Every Party has been audited annually ensuring companies have effective procedures in place when carrying out work at the meter point, ensuring equipment is safely installed, compliant to the necessary standards and that all the required data and information is gathered.
Over the years, there have been thousands of these audits carried out across homes and businesses and the process has proved valuable in identifying improvements to the Code, such as changes to improve the replacement of inadequate meter boards, the issuing health and safety bulletins and the setting of standards for security seals on equipment.
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, we were able to continue to ensure safety by working closely with the industry and the MOCOPA governing panel, adapting the audit process to take account of issues such as self-isolation, social distancing and travel restrictions. The processes, policies and risk assessments developed by Gemserv and MOCOPA Parties will be invaluable to the industry for the foreseeable future.
What does the future hold? The move to the Retail Energy Code (REC) represents a significant change for the industry with the end of the MOCOPA, the introduction of new terminology such as Metering Equipment Managers and accessions and audits now the responsibility of the REC Performance Assurance Board. We have worked closely with the Retail Energy Code Company (RECCo) to provide effective advice and support, to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
These changes will provide an opportunity to look at ways of harmonising processes across electricity and gas metering which could benefit both industry participants and consumers.
The dawn of the REC heralds an exciting new era, but the legacy of MOCOPA and the benefits it has brought to the industry will live on.
I personally would like to thank all the many people who have been involved with MOCOPA since it began, making it an example of effective collaboration between industry parties to ensure delivery of successful, safe and high-quality metering solutions.
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