Introducing the Open Energy Data Maturity Framework

In 2019 the Energy Data Taskforce released a report outlining five key recommendations for how the energy sector as a whole can work together to modernise the UK energy ecosystem, and through this help work towards a net-zero carbon future.

At the heart of this was the recommendation that the energy sector should improve data visibility, making it easier to understand what data exists and is held by companies, as well as making it easier to access and understand the data itself.

The report recognised that there is opportunity for innovation to take place outside of the existing large energy companies, and that by making data more accessible and, where possible, openly available, other organisations in the energy ecosystem could develop new products and services. This could be services that respond to changing customer expectations or those that can help the UK meet its net-zero targets.

The EDTF report prompted Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator, to propose and subsequently introduce new license conditions for energy companies. These require energy companies to adhere to a number of best practice data principles, as well as operate under the principle of 'Presumed Open.'

To help UK Power Networks (UKPN) understand how it could meet these obligations, and how the organisation may monitor its baseline and progression, Matt Webb (Head of Enterprise Data Management) began to consider a key research question: Can an organisation’s Open Energy Data readiness be empirically assessed, taking into account a range of individual factors,so as to develop an understanding of baseline maturity and inform decisions about next steps and organisational advancement.

While there are a number of frameworks that exist to assess the Open Data readiness of an organisation, those do not consider all factors that might be considered relevant to the Energy sector.

The energy sector is undergoing a process of digital transformation in light of a number of social, economic and environmental factors, and for many organisations this work is still in its infancy. The DNOs in the UK are often large and complex organisations, working with legacy data and technology systems that cannot be overhauled overnight, and there are often significant skills gaps and cultural issues to address.

The Open Energy Data Maturity Assessment Framework

Through desk based research, significant consultation with internal and external stakeholders, including Ofgem, other DNOs and the wider energy sector, and alongside review from Open Innovations, Matt created the Open Energy Data Maturity Assessment Framework [Zip file] to answer his initial research question.

In developing the framework, Matt has defined seven 'Themes' and 38 associated 'Dimensions' of openness, along with associated maturity criteria. Recognising that these dimensions and themes might not all be equal, Matt has also developed a statistical model which applies relative weightings to Dimensions to provide meaningful assessment of OED maturity.

This tool has a number of possible applications; helping organisations carry out baseline assessments, informing action planning, and comparative benchmarking between organisations across the sector. It also allows for ongoing evaluation of work, and if the exercise is repeated, can act as a tool to allow yearly reporting on (hopefully) advancing maturity.UKPN has committed to a yearly review using this framework, and during 2021 Open Innovations carried out an initial baseline assessment. This has been used to inform UKPNs strategic planning for 2022, a summary of which we’ll share soon.In the meantime, however, Open Innovations and UK Power Networks would love your thoughts on the framework itself. 

The framework can be freely used and applied by any organisation, and we’d love to hear how it has been utillised, and whether it is useful for other sectors. We’ve set up a google doc to have a conversation about it. Alternatively, you can get in touch directly with Matt and the team on opendata@ukpowernetworks.co.uk.