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Not since its privatisation in the late 1980s has the UK energy sector undergone an overhaul of its systems and processes as profound as the one occurring today. While facing an unyielding global energy crisis, a slower-than-anticipated smart meter rollout, and the recent implementation of the Faster Switching Programme, another challenge has entered the fray – the 2026 move to Market-wide Half-Hourly Settlement (MHHS).
Once implemented, MHHS will provide a faster, more accurate settlement process for all market participants through site-specific half-hourly meter readings. Expected to save consumers up to £4.5BN over the next 20 years, MHHS is being vaunted as the first step in defining the ‘blueprint’ for future large change programmes within the energy industry.
Elexon is a not-for-profit entity responsible for managing the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) for Great Britain’s electricity market and is funded by its participants. Simply put, it compares the amount of electricity that suppliers expect to be consumed with the amount actually consumed then calculates the monetary cost of resolving any shortfall (or over-supply). Elexon then transfers funds between the relevant parties.
Today, Elexon handles more than 1.5M meter readings daily and manages billions of pounds of supplier money each year. Post-MHHS, the organisation expects the number of readings it handles to increase to 1.5BN. Accordingly, it is always looking for ways to evolve and innovate.
“Elexon is investing in redeveloping BSC systems to receive and process the exponential increase in data that will be required to process once MHHS is implemented. This will be key to unlocking the benefits that electricity suppliers expect of Elexon, including faster, more accurate settlement.”
Victoria Moxham, Director of Customer Operations at Elexon
The MHHS programme is an industry first in that Ofgem has placed responsibility on the industry for its delivery, with Elexon appointed as the programme’s Senior Responsible Owner (SRO).
For Elexon, more is at stake than mere reputation. A successfully delivered MHHS will pave the way for greater national energy efficiency, added agility for suppliers, and the creation of cheaper, more bespoke customer tariffs.
To ensure they get it right, Elexon initiated its Helix Programme, a major digital transformation project based on a multi-vendor delivery model consisting of multiple Scrum teams with varied levels of agile maturity. Helix aims to re-develop the BSC Central Systems that support MHHS and re-engineer the processes and procedures capable of unlocking the benefits of MHHS for suppliers.
A highly sensitive and complex undertaking, Elexon brought in BJSS to provide expert consultancy and guidance for running the Helix programme, using the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®). BJSS was also responsible for implementing a core component of the solution, the Data Acquisition Hub, and supporting the programme’s overall leadership.
The Scaled Agile Framework®: To start, BJSS developed the participating teams’ knowledge of Scrum and Lean Agile Mindset, both essential for working effectively within agile environments.
As a mature understanding of Scrum and Lean Agile thinking is crucial for operating at scale, BJSS was tasked with bringing all participating vendors to a base-level understanding of Scrum and helping them harness a Lean Agile Mindset.
The Data Acquisition Hub: The Data Acquisition Hub is the central data management component for the Helix system. It manages the ingestion of around 1.5 billion rows of data each day, validating them, storing them, and making them available to other elements of the solution.
As well as dealing with the technical challenges of managing data at this scale, the BJSS team needed to develop a data governance strategy capable of absorbing significant changes to the baseline specifications as the MHHS programme evolved.
BJSS began by conducting a Discovery & Design Program Increment (PI) to help participating vendors achieve a base-level understanding of Scrum and harness a Lean Agile Mindset. From here, we then introduced the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) with some light training and coaching.
Coaching included 1-2-1 sessions with Scrum Masters and introducing SAFe events - Scrum of Scrums (SoS), Product Owner Sync, and ART Sync - to shape mindset and approach and gradually bring theory into practice.
The Data Hub - crucial to the success of Helix as it underpins the other components of the programme – was implemented using ETL pipelines built on top of the Databricks distributed data management platform and deployed into Microsoft Azure. BJSS also provided an extensive automated regression test capability to allow for changes without impacting existing functionality.
Throughout the delivery, BJSS worked closely with Microsoft, leveraging our Microsoft Gold Partner status to ensure best practice and maximise the value of Azure cloud technologies to support the Helix programme.
BJSS is proud to support Elexon's Helix programme, a multi-year programme representing the most extensive transformation of Elexon's central systems and infrastructure for over twenty years.
Of the many ways BJSS can help suppliers adopt MHHS, a key one is the provision of specialist support when manually testing MHHS's multiple elements with existing infrastructures to ensure they conform with the new systems.
With MHHS testing complete and adoption achieved, suppliers will be able to offer new products and services to their customers based on a half-hourly market, such as optimal charging times for EVs, bonuses for concentrating energy usage during off-peak periods, and the development of apps for creating more engaging user experiences.
Perhaps most importantly, the efficiencies promised by MHSS mean suppliers can take a giant stride toward the attribute gaining increasing prominence across the sector – Net Zero.
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