Ofgem began the Faster and More Reliable Switching Programme back in 2013/14 as the Next Day Switching Programme. They issued a consultation in June 2014 to see if there were merits to fundamentally change the current switching framework. Their conclusions deemed that the potential benefits outweighed the associated costs.
By Q4 2015 the programme had been renamed to Reliable and Faster Switching (to account for customers who actively opt for a longer switching window) and released an outline business plan following the Treasury’s 5 step strategy.
A request for information was issued in January 2017 outlining the three reform packages being proposed against a counter factual of doing nothing.
Following the responses to the RFI, Ofgem returned with a fourth, alternative Reform Package which they called RP2a as it was a variation on RP2.
Unlike RP2, 2a accounted for an Objection Window and also changed the requirement of calendar day switching to working day switching.
Alongside their impact assessment of going forward with RP2a Ofgem also issued a consultation in late September. Responses were submitted on the 3 November and Ofgem have outlined Q1 2018 for when they expect to be able to provide their response.
Despite acknowledging the comment made on objections we feel that there’s still a strong argument for having separate obligations and processes for the domestic market and the non-domestic market. In relation to the very different nature the two consumer groups engage in their respective markets.
Ofgem is also proposing a three month transitional window but how this would work in practice is still not clear. There’s also been an operational go live set for 2020 as the target date so this programme can be expected to ‘ramp up’ as we enter 2018.