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

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
Building out the current pipeline of 14GW of new combined-cycle gas turbines risks stranding £9 billion of assets, Carbon Tracker has claimed in a new report. The climate change think tank said the 15GW of coal and nuclear plants that are due to close by 2025 could already be replaced more cheaply with a portfolio of clean energy technologies and the savings are set to grow substantially over the coming years as costs continue to fall.
News
The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has once again extended its deadline to deliver the final redeterminations for the four water companies that appealed Ofwat’s PR19 decisions. It means that gas and transmission networks mulling their own response to Ofgem’s final determinations will not be able to take account of the CMA’s stance on cost of capital.
News
As part of our Countdown to COP campaign, Utility Week speaks to Iain McGuffog, director of strategy & regulation at Bristol Water. He discusses the importance of a community-led approach to reaching net zero, opportunities under Brexit and why some failures will be inevitable if ambition and innovation are truly stretching.
Interviews
Can the massive network infrastructure investment needed for net zero be delivered without creating adverse impacts on public engagement or the environment? In a new report, Utility Week and Hitachi ABB Powergrids, explore the challenge.
Analysis
Almost 70 per cent of people are in support of a carbon tax that protects lower income households from price increases, research from the Zero Carbon Campaign has found. Alongside the results of an Opinium survey of 2,000 UK adults, the campaign is launching a petition calling on the government to introduce charges on carbon emissions.
News
Research by the The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has identified 27.7 million UK adults as having characteristics of vulnerability such as poor health, experiencing negative life events, low financial resilience or low capability. It has set out its view of best practice for firms in dealing with vulnerable customers, which have been supported by trade bodies representing utilities.
News
The “volatility and unpredictability” of Transmission Network Use of System charges are inflating renewable costs and undermining the viability of some projects. Andrew Urquhart, head of whole system at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Transmission, tells Utility Week some developers in the north of Scotland have reported having to factor a risk premium of as much as £10/MWh into their business case to reflect the uncertainty. 
News
Portsmouth and Southern will publicly sign their bulk supply agreement today, marking an historic milestone for both companies. Chief executive Bob Taylor talks to Utility Week about how Havant Thicket exemplifies the water-only company's growing role in regional water resource planning.
Interviews
In our latest review of sector coverage across the national newspapers, Centrica’s chief executive Chris O’Shea gives a rare interview ahead of the group’s annual results this week. Meanwhile, there are further pleas for the government to save its beleaguered Green Homes Grants scheme and Drax’s wood pellet production facility in the US has been fined $2.5 million over air pollution breaches.
News
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