Policy & regulation

Latest updates and analysis on how government and regulators' decisions will impact the sector 

Editor's picks

The debate over the imbalance of policy costs and taxation between electricity and gas bills is ramping up as the Treasury investigates how net zero should be paid for. As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, David Blackman looks at the arguments for change alongside concerns that targeting gas bills would hit the fuel poor hardest.
Analysis
One of the next Holyrood government’s first acts of the following May’s Scottish Parliament elections should be to make energy and net zero a Cabinet level portfolio, a trade body has urged.
News
Pollution incidents caused by water and sewerage companies plateaued in 2019/20 against an overall drop in the number of incidents a report from the Environment Agency shows. Introducing the report, chief executive James Bevan warned that environmental protection and enhancement will come at a cost.
News

Featured

The principle of no customer being left behind in the shift to a smarter, more flexible energy system is hard to argue with. However, some experts believe that in the short-term a just transition is just impossible. As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, James Wallin examines different pathways to fairness – from ensuring the most vulnerable benefit first to the introduction of non-participant tariffs.
Analysis
The publication of John Penrose’s review into the effectiveness of UK regulation could be dismissed as simply another Whitehall shelf-filler. However, David Blackman argues that Penrose’s proximity to the centre of power mean his views are more likely than most to be acted upon. So, what could this mean for utilities?
Comment
It is crucial that the water sector is not excluded from decarbonisation incentives so it can play a full role in the path to 2050, says Dr Keith Colquhoun, Climate Change & ESG Manager at Thames Water. As part of our Countdown to COP coverage, he also discusses the water sector’s ambitious target to reduce operational emissions to net zero by 2030.
Interviews

Latest in Policy & regulation

The director general (DG) for energy transformation and clean growth at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has stepped down, with his role split into two, one of which will be based in Manchester, Utility Week has learnt.
News
Three electricity transmission companies have so far indicated their intention to appeal elements of Ofgem's RIIO2 final determinations. Meanwhile, Cadent Gas is also understood to be referring part of its settlement to the Competition & Markets Authority. With all gas and transmission networks required to respond today (3 March), Utility Week brings you all the latest updates in this live blog.
News
National Grid has said it will accept most of RIIO2 final determinations for its electricity and gas transmission businesses but will submit a technical appeal on the cost of equity and the outperformance wedge to the Competition and Markets Authority. It said the final determination for the Electricity System Operator will be accepted in full.
News
Ovo Energy, Shell Energy Retail and Scottish Power are among 18 suppliers which failed to correctly protect customers’ tariff prices when they decided to switch, Ofgem has announced. After several suppliers self-reported the issue every provider on the market was requested to self-assess their practices, revealing that 18 suppliers were not compliant between 2013-2020.
News
The energy sector must learn lessons from the smart meter rollout when implementing technical standards for future smart home energy technologies, industry observers have warned. A recent roundtable hosted by DevicePilot, a service monitoring platform for connected devices, discussed the future of the home energy market, which innovations are set to have the biggest impact and what effect this will have on the UK’s net zero goals. Several attendees reflected on how the smart meter rollout has panned out and offered their thoughts on what can be learned as homes adopt smart technologies.
News
In our latest review of sector coverage across the national newspapers, there is continued speculation of appeals to Ofgem’s RIIO2 final determinations by gas and transmission companies. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund is reported to be considering selling its stake in Thames Water. There is also coverage of government plans to force energy retailers to switch customers on to lower tariffs.
News
The Green Homes Grant (GHG) should have been the first step on the green recovery. But, six months on from its launch, the project is in disarray and there are reports it could be scrapped altogether. David Blackman examines what went wrong and what lessons there are for the next wave of decarbonisation policy.
Analysis
Analysts at Barclays have predicted each of the gas and transmission networks will appeal their final determinations from Ofgem for the RIIO-2 price control. The companies have until 3 March to accept or reject the regulator's decision on their business plans.
News
Eon UK chief executive Michael Lewis outlines his thoughts on the progress of the Green Homes Grant scheme. Lewis believes more funding for the scheme's Local Authority Delivery (LAD) element could help with delivering further demand. Elsewhere Lewis discusses Eon's own response to the scheme, revealing that the company is creating more jobs to manage the thousands of LAD projects it has secured.
Opinion
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