Policy & regulation

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

Editor's picks

Plans have been unveiled by the government detailing how it intends to test automatic switching arrangements for disengaged customers, as well as for extending the price cap. The energy retail strategy confirms that BEIS intends to incrementally introduce opt-in switching, while also trialling an opt-out scheme. Meanwhile, legislation will be introduced to allow for future extensions of the cap beyond 2023.
News
Meeting environmental targets and cutting the use of combined sewer overflows have been outlined as key priorities for Ofwat to incentivise in the next price review. Defra has instructed the regulator to make environmental planning and pollution reduction top objectives, in its draft strategic policy statement (SPS) for PR24 and beyond.
News

Featured

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) is due to deliver its preliminary judgement on the appeals against Ofgem’s RIIO2 price controls next month. In her latest column exclusively for Utility Week members, Maxine Frerk examines what we can learn from the arguments put forward so far.
Opinion
As well as presenting a confusing message to the public, the division between the proponents of electrification and green gas risks giving government a licence to delay on decarbonisation of heat. This is the view of Madeleine Gabriel, of innovation agency, Nesta, who highlights some of the more positive steps that could be taken to address the home heating conundrum.
Opinion
Biodiversity net gain is a concept enshrined in the Environment Bill 2019-2021, which establishes how the UK's environmental law will function and develop post-Brexit. Experts from Osborne Clarke set out what the bill means for utilities.
Opinion

Latest in Policy & regulation

The government says separate auctions for low-carbon generation may need to be introduced to the Capacity Market to balance security of supply and the need to decarbonise. A call for evidence on changes to the mechanism also considers agreement lengths and how to incentive low-carbon, long-build-time technologies.
News
Ofwat has confirmed its decision to temporarily increase the maximum prices business retailers are permitted to charge as a result of increased levels of bad debt. Under the regulator's plans, where bad costs across the market exceed 2 per cent of revenue, retailers will bear 25 per cent of the costs, with the rest passed on to customers.
News
In our latest review of sector coverage in the national newspapers, SSE calls for support to extend the lifetime of windfarms, while a coalition of energy firms urges the government to increase the scale and frequency of Contracts for Difference auctions. Meanwhile, Southern Water’s latest financial results show profits down by a third.
News
The government's approach to the energy retail sector in its new strategy have been branded “disappointing” by the sector’s trade body. Energy UK said the multiple proposals presented a confused picture and that the blueprint overall was "looking to address a problem of the past, not looking to the future". Bulb also criticised the approach but consumer bodies welcomed the extension of the price cap.
News
The Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into the Electric Highway charging network over concerns that its exclusivity agreements with motorway service operators are hindering competition. Gridserve recently relaunched the network after acquiring it from energy supplier Ecotricity and beginning a programme to replace chargers with more modern and powerful units.
News
The Environment Agency has proposed allowing water companies up to 25 years to deliver on environmental programmes and extending the timeframe for the Water Industry National Environmental Programme (WINEP) from five to ten years.
News
Professor Sir Dieter Helm has branded the government’s decision to opt out of the EU’s internal energy market (IEM) while increasing its reliance on interconnectors a “mistake”, which threatens the UK’s security of supply during cold snaps.
News
The government has outlined plans to tackle a market distortion from the energy company obligation (ECO), with a view to eventually removing supplier thresholds. In a new consultation, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy set out how it intends to expand the ECO scheme so more small suppliers would be obligated.
News
Utility Week explores the wide range of new roles and responsibilities an independent energy system operator may be asked to take on. These include a possible statutory duty to advise government, Ofgem, code managers, councils and other bodies, as well as taking on some secretary of state functions with regard to the Capacity Market and playing an active part in the rollout of hydrogen and CCUS.
Analysis
The Cap & Floor regime, which was developed by Ofgem to encourage investment in interconnectors, could be extended to long-duration storage projects. In a new call for evidence on facilitating the deployment of large-scale and long-term electricity storage storage technologies, such as pumped hydro and hydrogen, the government says these projects are not being built at the scale needed to support the transition to a lower carbon.
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