Virtual Lead Party (VLP)

What is a VLP?

VLPs are aggregators of Supplier Volume Allocation (SVA) registered units for the sole purpose of the provision of balancing services in the UK Balancing Mechanism (BM). VLPs only participate in settlement by offering balancing energy, they are not be subject to the same level of charges and obligations as existing BSC Parties and the sBMU is ineligible on the wholesale trading markets. A VLP registers Secondary BMUs (sBMU) which can be a single asset or constituted by an aggregation of assets (generation or flexibility) within a distribution zone.


Each point of entry or exit in a distribution zone is termed a site Metering Point (or site Boundary Point) whose administration number is deemed the Metering Point Administration Number (MPAN) alongside a Metering System Identifier (MSID). The Metering Point must be half-hourly. A metering point identified by an MPAN Core (the final 13 digits of an MPAN) is equivalent to a metering system identified by an MSID. The VLP associates one or more MSID Pairs (representing import and export meters) with the sBMU.


VLPs submit Bid/Offer data to National Grid ESO (NGESO) through EDT and are responsible for the delivery of the resulting Bid/Offer Acceptances (BOA) received via EDL. A VLP is entitled to take advantage of the Wider Access API protocol for the exchange of EDT and EDL messages with NGESO within the boundaries of specific thresholds.

The VLP must register the association of MSID Pairs with sBMUs with Elexon and must submit delivered volume data (energy resulting from a balancing action) to Elexon, specifically the Supplier Volume Allocation Agent (SVAA). The SVAA will then apportion the total energy recorded at the Boundary Point between the VLP and the incumbent supplier for the purposes of Settlement.


As delivered volumes are calculated at the MSID Pair rather than SBMU level, a VLP needs to know the forecast of energy flow for the asset (i.e. the PN at the MSID Pair level) in order to calculate delivered volumes. There are 3 options that apply:

  • Baseline – a baselining methodology where the PN for an asset (MSID Pair level) is determined from historical consumption data by the SVAA. The PN at SBMU level must still be submitted to NGESO.
  • Included in Party Submission – Parties calculate and submit PNs at the sBMU level (i.e. the behaviour of the asset cannot be accurately baselined). The MSID Pair level PN is still required for delivered volume calculations.
  • Inactive – The MSID Pair is not used in balancing services. This could be because there is currently insufficient metering data to apply the baselining methodology.

Baselining can also apply to Supplier registered Additional BMUs.

Market Entry

In order to participate in the Balancing Mechanism under the VLP or AMVLP roles, an applicant must complete a qualification process, conducted by KPMG on behalf of Elexon. This is similar to the requirements for supplier accreditation under the SVA process.

It takes the form of an evidence oriented self-assessment process where the applicant’s business processes, systems and infrastructure are examined by KPMG. Once KPMG are satisfied with the applicant’s responses, they will recommend to the Performance Assessment Board (PAB) that the applicant is awarded the VLP role.

The applicant must complete the relevant sections of the self-assessment document (SAD). The topics under examination and the objectives of each response are:

  • Information about the applicant
  • Project Management
  • Testing
  • Operational Security and Controls
  • Change Management and Risk Assessment Process
  • Management, Resource Planning and Local Working Procedures
  • Virtual Lead Party

Additional Information

The VLP role is closely associated with that of an Asset Metering Virtual Lead Party (AMVLP).

Enegen provide a comprehensive consultancy service to guide an applicant through the VLP self-assessment process.

Genstar4 provides full support for a VLPs obligations for exchanging data with NGESO and Elexon with the Genstar4 VLP module.


Market Change P415 is currently at the Reporting stage of assessment by the BSC Panel prior to final approval by OFGEM. Should P415 be approved, a VLP will be allowed to trade SBMUs on the wholesale electricity markets. This change is forecast to go-live in November 2024.

Under this change, the VLP will be responsible for the submission of Deviation Volumes (the deviation from the Baseline representing the VLP’s trading activities) under the ECVN process.

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