Flex Assure exists as a free service to energy users, who are involved or are interested in energy flexibility. Our goal is that all energy users know that the Flex Assure Code of Conduct exists, and understand that they can reasonably expect a flexibility services provider to abide by the rules and standards set out in it. This page provides a brief introduction to energy flexibility, the role of flexibility services providers and Flex Assure. Further information and tips for business energy users can be found in our Guidelines for Business Energy Users.  

What is Energy Flexibility? 

Ofgem defines energy flexibility as:

“modifying generation and/or consumption patterns in reaction to an external signal (such as a change in price) to provide a service within the energy system”.

By engaging in flexibility markets, energy users are paid to turn non-essential processes down or off at times of high demand and low generation – or conversely, to increase electricity use at times of excess generation – thereby helping the network operator to balance the electricity system. Thus, energy flexibility offers opportunities for businesses to earn revenue and reduce energy bills, while reducing their carbon footprint and helping to reduce the carbon intensity and improve resilience of the wider energy system.

Supermarkets, industrial manufacturers, universities, commercial and public buildings, and hospitals are just some examples of businesses which are providing energy flexibility.

Typical processes which are turned down or off include lighting, air conditioning, electric heating, pumps, and other non-essential equipment. Participating in energy flexibility services is voluntary and is designed not to impact on day to day business operations or comfort.

As the UK strives to meet the 2050 net-zero goal, the potential of energy flexibility is projected to grow, as is the value of flexibility markets. National Grid ESO forecasts an increasing need for energy flexibility under any future energy scenario. By 2050, it is estimated that industrial and commercial energy users, alone, could provide 13GW of demand side flexibility, up from around 1GW in 2020

How do business energy users benefit from being flexible?

Energy flexibility provides an ideal way for businesses to offset rising energy costs and potentially earn revenue. Additional benefits to those who use a flexibility services provider include improved asset reliability and efficiency.

What are flexibility services providers and why should I use them?

Many businesses who can participate in energy flexibility don’t have the time or the expertise to participate in the balancing market and this is where flexibility services providers can help. Flexibility services providers work with businesses to maximise the flexibility you can offer to the grid and manage your participation.

One of the advantages of working with a flexibility services provider is that they can aggregate capacity from many organisations to enable even small businesses / small assets to participate in flexibility markets. Flexibility services providers also have the technical expertise to improve asset reliability and efficiency.

Why should I look for a flexibility services provider that’s a Flex Assure member?

Choosing the right partner to work with on energy flexibility will maximise the benefits you receive but with many actors in the market, new technologies, diverse aggregation models and products, it can be challenging to identify who to work with and how to compare the offering of one provider over another.

Flex Assure helps make that decision easier. We define minimum standards around sales and marketing, proposals, contracts and complaints, helping you to understand what you should be able to expect from a flexibility services provider, and giving you the confidence to make an informed decision about the provider you work with. 

Flex Assure does not dictate contractual terms between a Flexibility Services Provider and their customers. However, energy flexibility customers may use the Flex Assure Code of Conduct as appropriate, in their dealings with Flexibility Services Providers. An energy flexibility customer may, for example, include in their contractual arrangements with a Flexibility Services Provider, requirements for compliance with the Flex Assure Code of Conduct. Flexibility Services Providers, who are signed up to the Flex Assure Scheme, are periodically audited by Flex Assure to monitor their compliance with the Code.

Does Flex Assure cover providers of domestic flexibility services?

Flex Assure currently applies only to flexibility services providers working with commercial, industrial and public sector energy users. However, Flex Assure is currently working with other stakeholders in the sector to look at the potential need for the development of a similar scheme for flexibility services providers working with domestic energy users. If you have any questions on these developments, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

Is my flexibility services provider a Flex Assure member?

Flex Assure members are permitted to use the Flex Assure mark to show their customers that they have made a commitment to abide by the requirements of the Flex Assure Code of Conduct. A list of members and their current status under the Scheme is available here.