Policy & regulation

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

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The government has confirmed key details of the fourth Contracts for Difference auction, to open in late 2021. The auction’s capacity will increase from 5.8GW in 2019 to 12GW, with offshore wind moved to its own pot. Floating offshore wind projects will be able to bid for contracts for the first time, while onshore wind and solar will be allowed to compete once again. The government has also launched a consultation on a Supply Chain Plan, aimed at “increasing the competitiveness of UK manufacturers”.
News
Yorkshire Water has accused Ofwat of resorting to "populist" tactics, with an "unrestrained attack" on foreign investors in the sector. The company warned that the regulator risks undermining trust in the system and driving away investors. The accusations are included in the latest submission to the PR19 appeals.
News

Featured

Utility Week’s policy correspondent David Blackman discusses the implications on the utilities sector of Boris Johnson’s plan for a “green industrial revolution”. He assesses the winners and losers from the speech, as well as the areas where question marks remain.
Analysis
Ofwat’s new £200 million fund for water sector innovation aims to trigger transformational change in the way the sector tackles it's grand challenges. But will it succeed? This was the question up for debate among industry leaders at a virtual round table, supported by CGI.
Market insight

Latest in Policy & regulation

Ofgem is to extend protections for prepayment meter (PPM) customers who have had their meter installed under warrant, reflecting the extended smart meter rollout deadline.
News
Utilita chief executive Bill Bullen has hit back after the energy regulator announced it was considering issuing the supplier with a final order over its failure to install SMETS2 smart meters. Ofgem said it was consulting on an order compelling Utilita to install 15,000 SMETS2 meters by 31 July next year.
News
Claire O’Neill will break her silence next week on the government’s handling of COP26, ten months after she was sacked from the presidency of the UN climate summit. The BEIS select committee will also hear from the EU’s ex-lead negotiator on climate issues. The committee’s chair, Darren Jones, has written to BEIS secretary Alok Sharma expressing concern that the government is not “sufficiently clear” about what it is seeking to achieve at COP26.
News
New licence conditions designed to improve customer service standards and decrease the likelihood of supplier failure will be introduced in the new year, Ofgem has revealed. In a decision document Ofgem outlined a series of measures as part of its ongoing supplier licence review.
News
The offshore wind sector is providing millions of pounds of funding to the Ministry of Defence to identify ways of allowing wind turbines to be deployed in areas where they have previously been blocked due their impact on air defence radar. The money will be used by the ministry to test a range of technologies and solutions, including more sophisticated radar systems that are better able to distinguish between aircraft and turbines.
News
Arguing over price controls is now almost a full-time activity, laments professor and former regulator Stephen Littlechild. Writing for Utility Week, he suggests that the CMA appeals in water may represent an opportunity to overhaul the price control process and move towards a more productive and less confrontational approach.
Opinion
The introduction of a three-pot structure for future Contracts for Difference auctions means they are effectively “no longer technologically neutral”, an analyst has told Utility Week. James Brabben, wholesale manager for Cornwall Insight, said the decision is nevertheless the right one given the government’s commitment to build 40GW of offshore wind by 2030.
News
Smart meter installations recovered in the third quarter of 2020 after a sluggish start to the year due to the pandemic, the latest government figures show. The release from BEIS shows that while performance has improved, installations in Q3 were still lower than the same period last year - especially in the domestic market.
News
The chair of the Environment Agency has called for turnover-related environmental fines to deter large companies from polluting and said the water sector needs to be as ambitious on pollution as it is on reaching net zero.
News
The proposed ban on fossil fuel heating in new homes is desperately needed to “kick start” the market for heat pumps and achieve the government’s new target of raising annual installations to 600,000 by 2028, the Environmental Audit Committee has been told. Jan Rosenow, director of European programmes at the Regulatory Assistance Project, said continuing to rely on subsidies “is not going to solve this problem quickly enough.”
News
The government has backed handing utility regulators a new net-zero duty and signalled moves to split off the Electricity System Operator from National Grid. Utility Week’s policy correspondent David Blackman delves into the government’s newly published National Infrastructure Strategy and assesses what it means for utilities.
News
More than 6 million SMETS2 smart meters have been installed onto the network, the Data Communications Company (DCC) has revealed. The company says October was the busiest month for SMETS2 installations ever, even before the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to all but emergency installations.
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