January 1, 2017 9:00 AM

SSEN and Open Utility partner to trial revolutionary smart grid platform

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Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has entered into a partnership with leadingsoftware company, Open Utility, to learn from and participate in its revolutionary smart grid platform.

One of the biggest changes in the energy system is the flexibility revolution. Distributedgeneration, electric vehicles, demand side response and energy storage are transforming thesector, giving customers access to new products and services from a new range of providers. Tofacilitate the shift to a smarter, flexible energy system, SSEN is transitioning from a DistributionNetwork Operator (DNO) to a Distribution System Operator (DSO).

The transition to a DSO will create the potential for exciting new opportunities for energy usersthrough peer-to-peer and flexibility trading, creating new markets where supply and demandcan be balanced and traded at a local level. SSEN’s collaboration with Open Utility will see ittrial Open Utility’s new ‘Piclo’ platform, which will provide key learnings to help inform SSEN’s ongoing research.

Piclo helps Distribution System Operators (DSOs) procure flexible capacity from technologiessuch as batteries and demand-response aggregators to meet the needs of local electricity users.It is a matchmaking and trading platform for local energy which provides opportunities forcustomers, generators and other flexibility providers to register their availability andpreferences, which the Piclo platform then matches with opportunities from the DSO.

The platform will unlock new revenue streams for homes, businesses and communities, whilstsupporting the continued journey to a low carbon, decarbonised energy system.

Commenting on the partnership with Open Utility, Steve Atkins, DSO Transition Manager for SSEN, said:

“We are delighted to partner with Open Utility in support of their innovative Piclo platformwhich will provide invaluable insight to help inform our transition to a DSO and the newopportunities this will create for our customers through peer-to-peer and flexibility trading.
“As we continue the transition to a DSO, working in collaboration with key partners such asOpen Utility will be crucial to learn the lessons required to support the shift to a smarter, flexibleenergy system that importantly, delivers for all customers.”

James Johnston, CEO and cofounder of Open Utility, added:

“Unlike other industries like short-term rentals and taxi services, the energy sector cannot betransformed by an online marketplace acting alone, but through meaningful partnerships withincumbents working towards a common goal.
“We are uniquely positioned to understand the disruptive forces of digital technology and theevolving needs of the highly complex energy system. Our partnership with SSEN reflects thisunderstanding.”

Open Utility will be trialling its local flexibility marketplace, Piclo, throughout 2018 as part of aDepartment of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy funded project. The platform will beopening up for a limited number of battery operators and demand-response aggregators toregister their assets in late Spring via the Open Utility website:


For further information please contact:

SSEN: Greg Clarke 0345 0760 530

Open Utility: James Johnston

Notes to editor:

1. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN)

SSEN are responsible for maintaining the electricity networks supplying over 3.7 million homesand businesses across central southern England and north of the Central Belt of Scotland. SSENown one electricity transmission network and two electricity distribution networks, comprising106,000 substations and 130,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables across one thirdof the UK. SSEN’s first priority is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to thecommunities they serve in Scotland and England.

2. Open Utility

Open Utility is an ambitious software company based in London with a mission to makeelectricity cheap, clean and abundant. Open Utility has secured £2 million of funding, includinggrants from DECC and BEIS and private investment from Ian Marchant, former CEO of SSE. OpenUtility has been named by Bloomberg as one of the UK’s top 50 Business Innovators and wonStartup of the Year at European Utility Week. More information is available

About Piclo 

Piclo develops software to make electricity grids smart, flexible and sustainable. Chaired by Volker Beckers, the London-based company has been building solutions for the energy industry since 2013, having secured investment from the Green Angel Syndicate, Mott MacDonald Ventures and the Clean Growth Fund. Piclo Flex is the leading independent marketplace for flexibility services. 

Piclo Flex simplifies the end-to-end process for System Operators (SO) to source energy flexibility from Flexibility Service Providers (FSP), with over 12GW of flexible capacity registered. Since 2018, Piclo has supported the business-as-usual flexibility procurement of six of the UK DNOs and is commercially contracted with UK Power Networks, SP Energy Networks and Electricity North West. 


Piclo Communications Team

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