Policy & regulation

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

Editor's picks

Ofgem’s proposal to make energy suppliers repay surplus credit balances has received mixed reactions. Is the regulator cracking down on unsustainable business models or choosing short-term wins over a permanent fix for a broken market? Adam John asks what this latest crackdown says about the nature of regulation in energy retail.
Analysis
The “significant premium” National Grid has agreed to pay for Western Power Distribution could undermine the former’s argument that the cost of equity being offered by Ofgem in RIIO2 is too low, according to Investec senior analyst Martin Young. He shares his thoughts on the deal with Utility Week as well as his predictions for the sale of National Grid’s gas transmission arm.
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

Local authorities are facing the dual pressures of boosting investment and decreasing emissions. However, these goals are not mutually exclusive. As part of our Countdown to COP series, SSE’s Stephen Stead looks at how forward-thinking councils are seeking to use the post-Covid economic recovery to modernise their energy infrastructure.
Opinion
The ability to navigate the peaks and troughs of an increasingly intermittent energy system requires long-term thinking about storage and flexibility. But, as experts tell David Blackman for the latest feature in our Countdown to COP series, substantial work is still needed to introduce the right market structures.
Analysis
Bulb chief executive Hayden Wood and REA boss Nina Skorupska are among 32 industry figures who have written to Boris Johnson urging him to scrap VAT on green products. While the letter states the sector was “encouraged” with the chancellor pledging investment in green infrastructure projects in the recent budget, it said there was disappointment at the “lack of policies to help people play a part in reaching net zero”.
News
As part of Utility Week's Countdown to COP campaign, former Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan highlights three things the government should consider in balancing the need for a rapid transformation of the energy system alongside the responsibility to keep costs down for consumers.
Opinion
The Easter weekend was the greenest bank holiday on record as far as power generation is concerned, but there is still a lot of work to do before net zero can become a reality. Ed Reid, head of strategy at Centrica Business Solutions, writes as part of Utility Week's Countdown to COP campaign about the importance of real progress on local flexibility markets.
Opinion
National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has agreed to make a £1.5 million redress payment after an investigation by Ofgem found it had breached its licence conditions by failing to provide accurate and unbiased demand forecasts. The regulator said it does not believe the ESO deliberately set out to breach its licence conditions but “did not put in place adequate senior oversight and compliance controls to identify and mitigate this behaviour.”
News
Local elections have meant a further delay to the publication of the keenly anticipated Heat and Buildings Strategy. Energy UK’s Charles Wood discusses what could, and should, be included when the strategy is finally revealed.
Opinion
Ofwat’s freshly departed chief executive Rachel Fletcher talks to Utility Week about her highs and lows in the water sector - from price reviews, social contracts, CMA appeals and how the sector rebounded from what she described as its darkest point.
Interviews
Debt and collections leaders in utilities remain braced for the wave of debt and affordability woes they know will come with the end of government’s coronavirus support measures. Are they armed with the right products, resources and data to service the new scale and profile of customers in arrears?
Downloads
The past month has seen announcements on the three sets of appeals that should be on a Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)-watcher’s radar – the granting of permission on the RIIO2 appeals, the final decision on PR19 in water and the decision on the rather obscure SSE code modification appeal. Maxine Frerk picks through the pertinent points and discusses the next steps.
Analysis
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