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Committees & Groups

Disputes Committee

  • Status Live
  • Secretariat Support George Dawson
  • Summary Of Purpose

    The Panel have established the Disputes Committee for the purpose of facilitating the resolution of unresolved disputes between DNO/IDNO Parties and Customers or their appointed agents with respect to the provisions of Schedule 32 'Residual Charging Bands'.

This guidance may be of interest to:

  • DCUSA Parties
  • Members of the Disputes Committee
  • Non-Domestic Customers

What does this guidance cover?

The guidance provides an overview of the dispute process set out in Schedule 32 ‘Residual Charging Bands’ of the DCUSA. This includes details what should happen prior to a formal dispute being raised, how to raise a dispute if initial negotiations are not successful and the role of the Disputes Committee.

 

What is a Dispute?

For the purposes of Schedule 32, a dispute could include the following scenarios:

  • Where a Customer or their ‘appointed agent’ believes that their Final Demand Site is allocated to an incorrect residual charging band (i.e., not in accordance with Schedule 32);
  • Where a Customer or their ‘appointed agent’ believes that their site has been incorrectly identified as a Final Demand Site (as compared to a Non-Final Demand Site);
  • Where there has been a change of use or change of site configuration of a Final Demand Site, and this is reflected by a significant change to its: (i) Maximum Import Capacity; or (ii) forecast annual consumption; and

in all cases, is able to provide information to substantiate their belief and have contacted the relevant DNO/IDNO Party to try and resolve the issues but have been unable to reach a satisfactory resolution.

 

Dispute process stages

NEGOTIATION

RAISE DISPUTE

OBTAIN COUNTERPARTY INFORMATION

CONFIRMATION TO PROCEED TO DISPUTES COMMITTEE

DISPUTES COMMITTEE MEETING

NOTICE OF DISPUTE OUTCOME

 

Negotiation

Parties are expected to use reasonable attempts to resolve the matter before raising a formal Dispute, with the aim of reaching an amicable resolution without invoking a formal Dispute as defined under paragraph 7 of Schedule 32 of the DCUSA.

Where a DNO/IDNO Party receives contact from a Customer or their appointed agent, regarding a potential dispute they are required to investigate the issue and initiate good faith negotiations with any such Customer or its appointed agent to find a resolution to the issue. This will be carried out using the information provided by the Customer or its appointed agent and the information available to that DNO/IDNO Party.

 

Raise Dispute

If informal mechanisms have been exhausted, the Disputing Party must complete the Dispute Notification Form and submit it to the DCUSA Helpdesk.

Supporting evidence should be attached to the form and should include, for example, evidence of initial attempts to resolve the matter.

 

Pre-Dispute Committee process

Within two working days, the Secretariat will send the Dispute Notice to the relevant DNO/IDNO Party.

Upon receipt of a Dispute Notice from the Secretariat, the DNO/IDNO Party is to complete the relevant section of the Dispute Notice detailing its case for why the Final Demand Site should not be reallocated, and shall send this back to the Secretariat within 10 Working Days.

Following receipt of the updated Dispute Notice completed by the DNO/IDNO, the Secretariat will email the whole Dispute Notice to both the Customer or its appointed agent and the relevant DNO/IDNO. In doing so, the Secretariat will request that the Customer or its appointed agent confirm that it wishes to progress the dispute to the Disputes Committee.

The Customer or its appointed agent has 10 Working Days in which confirm that it wishes to progress the dispute to the Disputes Committee.

Branch 1: Where confirmation is not received within the 10 Working Day period, the dispute will not be progressed to the Disputes Committee and the dispute shall be considered closed.

Branch 2: Where confirmation from the Customer or its appointed agent is received within the 10 Working Day period then the Secretariat will initiate the necessary processes so that a meeting of the Disputes Committee can be convened in order to give due consideration to the Dispute Notice.

 

Dispute Committee meeting

Once all relevant information has been gathered, the Secretariat will convene a meeting of the Dispute Committees, in accordance with the terms of reference so that the Dispute Committee can consider the Dispute.

For a meeting of the Disputes Committee to be quorate, a minimum of three members must attend, at least one of whom must have been elected by the Supplier Parties and at least one of whom must have been elected by the DNO/IDNO Parties.

The Disputes Committee will independently assess the information put before them on the Dispute Notice and any supporting documentation provided.

The Parties to the Dispute do not attend the meeting at which the Disputes Committee is due to decide on the dispute.

The data on the Dispute Notice is confidential and can only be viewed by the Disputes Committee, the DNO/IDNO Party which the dispute is against, the Customer (and/or their appointed agent) who raised the dispute, the Secretariat, and the Authority.

 

Conflicts of Interest

Where a Dispute due to be considered by the Disputes Committee is against a DNO/IDNO Party or is from a Supplier/Registrant who have a sitting member on the Disputes Committee, then that member will not be allowed to attend the meeting at which the Disputes Committee is due to decide on the dispute.

This is in accordance with paragraph 7.14 of Schedule 32, which states that all members present at a meeting of the Disputes Committee “must be independent of the dispute (meaning that none of the parties to the dispute are a Related Person of the member)”

 

Decisions of the Disputes Committee & Final Steps

A decision to reallocate a Final Demand Site from one charging band to another requires a vote in favour by a simple majority of the Disputes Committee members who vote at the meeting. Such a decision shall be binding for the purposes of this Agreement but is without prejudice to any statutory rights that the Customer may have.

Where the decision of the Disputes Committee is that a Final Demand Site be reallocated from one charging band to another, the Registrant for the Final Demand Site will be eligible for a rebate. The rebate for that Final Demand Site will be backdated to the time when the analysis shows that the Customer was first charged the incorrect residual fixed charge, up to a maximum of six years (five years in Scotland). The revised charging band will be applied from the next billing period.

 

Other avenues for complaints

Please note that you can also refer a dispute which you are having with your network operator to the ‘Authority’ for determination. The circumstances in which you can refer such a complaint are set out in statute, specifically, the Electricity Act 1989 and in the licence obligations on network companies.

Associated Activities

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