Policy & regulation

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

Editor's picks

Plans to interconnect clusters of offshore windfarms by strengthening legal clarity over the licensing of multi-purpose interconnectors have been confirmed by the government. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Offshore Transmission Network Review is exploring how to take a more strategic approach to windfarm development, including how best to facilitate MPIs.
News
Ofgem is considering introducing independent distribution system operators (IDSOs) as a way of meeting the needs of the future energy system. The proposal is one of four solutions the regulator is currently considering as part of its review into local energy system operation.
News
Support for the UK’s 2050 emissions eradication drive has increased since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, according to new polling, which also shows that working class Tory voters are more likely than average to back the net zero policy.
News

Featured

“Truly horrific” is how Scottish Power’s chief executive recently described the looming winter energy bill crisis. As such it’s time for a massive shift in policy and approach. Writing for Utility Week Keith Anderson says with the Queen’s Speech due in a few weeks’ time, the government must consider how to introduce a social tariff to protect those most in need.
Opinion
The government’s energy security strategy contained bold new targets on nuclear and offshore wind but critics argue it does little to address immediate concerns. Experts tell David Blackman there are question marks about how the headline targets will be achieved and dismay at opportunities wasted in areas such as onshore wind and energy efficiency.
News
Consumer research shows water companies are increasingly being seen as the primary culprits when it comes to river pollution, yet public awareness of the work they are doing to mitigate these impacts is actually dropping. Ruth Williams asks why the water sector has struggled to make its voice heard.
Comment

Latest in Policy & regulation

The inaugural UK Utilities Risk Report, from Utility Week and Marsh, highlights the key issues keeping sector leaders awake at night. From cybersecurity to policy and regulatory blockers, extreme weather and price volatility, this report presents a snapshot of the key concerns for utilities.
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A snap review should be carried out into whether the lives of the UK’s operating nuclear power stations can be extended, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has urged. The review is one of the key recommendations in a new report on the future of the UK’s advanced gas-cooled reactor fleet published on Friday (19 May).
News
Following Ofgem’s minded-to decision to introduce a quarterly price cap, Utility Week reporter Adam John believes it is time to start looking to a future that is not fixated on price and switching. From a relative cap to social tariffs, there are several options on the table to be considered. Failure to act is likely to result in more consumer woe.
Opinion
In her latest column for Utility Week, Maxine Frerk challenges the rationale for introducing competition in onshore networks. In a world where net zero and energy security are the top priorities, is it still the right direction?
Opinion
A windfall tax on energy company profits is not “off the table”, Rishi Sunak has stated. The chancellor of the exchequer has come under pressure from Ed Miliband to adopt Labour’s proposed windfall tax on oil and gas companies.
News
Locational electricity pricing could save £30 billion – or £1,000 per household – by 2035, according to a new study from Energy Systems Catapult and Octopus Energy. The report said the current market arrangements were designed for an energy system dominated by large, centralised generators and “no longer makes sense”, resulting in a “growing tension between the wholesale market and physical reality”.
News
Consumers' choices must be limited to a degree if the UK is to achieve its net zero ambitions, a senior industry figure has argued. Speaking during a panel session on the decarbonisation at Utility Week Live on Tuesday (17 May), Vattenfall head of partnerships Noah Nkonge sought to qualify suggestions that consumers should have free choice over the type of heating they use, warning: “If everybody gets to choose every little thing then things like heat networks are really difficult to deliver.”
News
Boris Johnson’s departure from 10 Downing Street would not derail the government’s net zero emissions drive because support for the policy is too deeply rooted amongst businesses and the UK’s international partners, a Conservative environmental campaigner has claimed. Jack Richardson, senior climate programmes manager at the Conservative Environment Network, said although there is “definitely” some risk of a new leader dropping support for net zero, this would mean going up against “all those companies that are now investing in transition plans”.
News
The government has declared its support for further investment in sewerage systems in England and Wales in its response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s damning report on water quality in rivers. However, the committee's recommendations to address pollution from agriculture and homebuilding, which both play a significant role in preventing rivers from achieving good ecological status, were not accepted.
News
Ofgem’s minded-to decision to introduce a quarterly price cap period from October has raised concerns that vulnerable customers could face large price hikes during the coldest months of the year. Peter Smith, director of policy and advocacy at the charity National Energy Action (NEA), said the move “opens the door to significant price rises” over the coming winter.
News
Ofgem has altered the parameters for its Market Stabilisation Charge – a temporary measure introduced in April to limit suppliers’ hedging losses if wholesale prices fall substantially – to make it stronger and more easily triggered. The regulator said the adjustments will make the charge “more robust” in the face of increased hedging risks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
News
Ofgem is pressing ahead with proposals to shorten the price cap period from six months to three to reduce the time lag between changes in wholesale energy prices and their reflection in the cap. The regulator said its minded-to decision, which is subject to consultation, would allow suppliers to more accurately predict how much energy they need to purchase, reducing the risk of further failures.
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