Since the 1990s, the UK gas network has been administered by a data services company, Xoserve, which runs a centralised IT system, UK Link, which in turn deals with the gas network’s critical functions. UK Link holds details for 24 million gas premises, processes 3 million+ customer switches each year, and handles £4 billion worth of invoices for gas transportation annually.
The original UK Link was implemented in the late 1990s, and has been adapted over the years, but the imminent introduction of smart meters, half hourly reads and improved consumer switching arrangements meant upgrading its capacity to process real-time data was essential. At the same time, this would address issues with the UK’s gas settlement arrangements (the process of reconciling the difference between the energy bought by energy suppliers from energy producers and the energy sold to customers).
In 2009, Xoserve launched a change programme to carry out the upgrade called, Project Nexus. As the most significant change in the UK gas market since competition started, it was always going to be a long-term endeavour, but by 2016, the complexity of the change, the number of gas market participants that also required to upgrade/connect their systems to the new UK Link, the volume of data involved and significant project delays led to industry regulator Ofgem, taking control of proceedings as Programme Sponsor and extending PwC’s role to bring the project back on track.
Built around the largest instance of SAP’s Industry Solution for Utilities (IS-U), the change programme was a major undertaking, bringing about enhanced processes for validating meter reads, smart metering, and the replacement of the UK Link system. It affected over 40 energy suppliers, including large and small energy providers, shippers etc that supply the UK’s homes and businesses and transformed Ofgem’s approach to programmes of this nature.
PwC were engaged to build trust and transparency across the industry through working with Ofgem to ensure the programme was delivered successfully, in a way that achieved the best possible consumer outcome and to provide a foundation for future industry changes. Project Nexus is seen as the benchmark for utilities industry programmes going forward.
View the PwC company profile in the MCA Members Directory.