Policy & regulation

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

Editor's picks

Utility Week speaks to UK Power Networks chief executive Basil Scarsella, Electricity North West chief executive Peter Emery and Northern Powergrid policy and markets director Patrick Erwin about Ofgem’s sector-specific methodology decision for RIIO ED2.
News
Ofwat has rejected calls to change its charging rules to let appellant companies implement whatever ruling the CMA determines from April 2021. The updated charges will now not come into place until 2022.
News
The energy white paper is weak on the steps required to encourage members of the public to embrace decarbonised lifestyles, the chief executive of the Climate Change Committee has told MPs. The BEIS select committee also heard from the chief executive of Energy UK and the Decarbonised Gas Alliance.
News

Featured

The publication of the Energy White Paper this week capped a whirlwind of policy updates on how the UK will hit its 2050 net-zero goal. Among these, the Climate Change Committee’s substantial Sixth Carbon Budget stood out, setting a clear vision and hard deadlines for decarbonisation. David Blackman looks at how it is likely to influence the government’s evolving net-zero strategy.
Analysis
In her latest column exclusively for Utility Week members, former Ofgem executive Maxine Frerk gives her views on the RIIO2 final determinations for gas and transmission companies. She highlights signs that the regulator has listened to stakeholders but also areas that remain unresolved.
Opinion

Latest in Policy & regulation

Ovo Energy received more complaints per 100,000 customers than any other supplier in the energy sector's latest scorecard by the UK Regulators Networks (UKRN). Average customer satisfaction scores for the wider energy retail sector during the second half of 2020 rose two percentage points compared to the same period in 2019.
News
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has issued a call for evidence on greenhouse gas removal technologies, specifically direct air carbon capture and storage and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage which it considers to be the most developed options. It said natural solutions such as the use of forests as “carbon sinks” will play an important role in the UK’s climate change strategy and reducing emissions but will fall outside of the scope of the study.
News
Heat pumps will become the principal low-carbon heating technology in new homes, the government has said. The claim is included in the response to a consultation on the Future Homes Standard that will govern new residential development from 2025. It also confirms a ban on the installation of natural gas boilers in new homes from the middle of the decade. The government has come under fire for not pushing for a 2023 phase-out date.
News
Energy companies paid out almost £49 million in penalties and redress in 2019/20, more than the previous three years combined, Ofgem’s Enforcement Decision Panel (EDP) has revealed.
News
Kwasi Kwarteng has said the government will legislate this summer to adopt a target to cut emissions to nearly 80 per cent of their 1990 level within the next 15 years. The newly promoted energy secretary was also quizzed on whether the government’s target to decarbonise the power sector by 2050 is insufficiently ambitious.
News
The government should widen the utility regulators’ toolkit beyond price controls, the CBI has told Rishi Sunak. In its submission to the chancellor of the exchequer ahead of the Budget on 3 March, the business body says the use of price controls “can lead to underinvestment and may not deliver price stability for consumers in the longer term”.
News
As companies across the utilities sector anxiously await the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)’s final decision on the PR19 appeals, Maxine Frerk looks at how the watchdog operates and asks whether it is still fit for purpose.
Opinion
National Grid Electricity System Operator has published an open letter giving an update on its plans for implementing the Trans European Replacement Reserves Exchange (TERRE) within Great Britain. It comes after Ofgem ordered the ESO to create a new implementation plan and workgroup for the project in November following multiple derogations to the go-live date, which was originally scheduled for January 2020.
News
In our latest review of sector coverage across the national newspapers, EDF is said to be drawing up plans for a stock market flotation of EV charging infrastructure specialist, Pod Point. Meanwhile, scientists have hit back at claims carbon capture represents a risky approach to decarbonisation and the government is expected to crack down on oil and gas companies’ plans to cut emissions.
News
Octopus Renewables has raised concerns over Ofgem’s ongoing review of forward-looking network charges and the regulator’s apparent desire to expose more distributed generators to transmission fees. Investment director David Bird said ending the exemption for embedded generators would undermine the viability of onshore wind projects in Scotland and the north of England and slow progress towards reaching net zero emissions.
News
Boris Johnson has been pressed to further extend the Green Homes Grant by the chair of the House of Commons environment audit committee, who has claimed that delays issuing the scheme’s vouchers are leading energy efficiency installers to cut jobs. The prime minister responded that the government will “do its best” to address any failings in the scheme and also elaborated on his vision for a green recovery.
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