Policy & regulation

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

Editor's picks

After a year-long investigation, the Environmental Audit Committee's report into river health in England has urged regulators to take a firmer position on pollution incidents, saying Ofwat should consider limiting bonuses to water company executives for failing to tackle the problem. The committee’s chair Philip Dunne spoke to Utility Week about the report, which also called for licence conditions to be revised to require year-on-year reductions in pollution towards a target of zero serious incidents by 2030.
News
Shadow secretary for climate change and net zero Ed Miliband has called for “root-and-branch reform” of energy regulation, saying failures over the last decade have left the UK more exposed to high energy costs than other countries in Western Europe. Speaking during a House of Commons debate on Labour’s motion to cut VAT on household energy bills, which was subsequently defeated, Miliband also accused the government of being “paralysed” in the face of a cost-of-living crisis.
News
Government legislation to establish a new financing mechanism for nuclear power has been approved by MPs despite Labour warnings that safeguards should be created to ensure it does not become a “milch cow” for consumers. The House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to back the legislation, which allows the Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model for financing infrastructure to be used to nuclear projects.
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Featured

Peter Simpson reflects on the year just passed and looks ahead to 2022. The water sector is facing unprecedented challenges that Simpson says will take new levels of cooperation to meet. He says it must reach out and work with other sectors if it hopes to make real improvements around rivers, pollution and climate adaptation.
Opinion
Given its perceived role in unlocking the true potential of the UK’s energy system as it transitions to net zero, the conversation around the Future System Operator no longer centres on if, but when and how. Utility Week gauged the views of smart grid and system operation leads across the energy sector on the roles and responsibilities of the new body and how a functional FSO can be achieved as quickly as possible.
Analysis
After distribution network operators (DNOs) published their final RIIO ED2 business plans last month, Grid Edge Policy director and former Ofgem partner, Maxine Frerk, tries (and struggles) to draw some comparisons. Given their various inconsistencies and sheer size – amounting to ten of thousands of pages when including the supporting documents - Frerk asks: who are they expecting to read them?
Analysis

Latest in Policy & regulation

Energy firms will again use today's Clean Energy Ministerial in London to announce a raft of new deals. The announcements, including EDF investing further into UK offshore wind and Eon awarding a cable contract for its £736m Humber Gateway wind farm, follow the Prime Minister's remarks about the need for renewable energy to become financially sustainable.
News
Duncan Thomas and Roger Ford dub the new £4 million water innovation competition woefully inadequate and say it will fail to spur change.
Denise Massey details the innovations power networks are crying out for as they deal with rising demand and intermittent generation .
News
An independent Scotland would jeopardise utility investment and renewables subsidies, predicts Nigel Hawkins.
News
Only a market-based mechanism like the EU ETS can deliver carbon cuts. Prescribing solutions is doomed to failure. By Enese Lieb-Doczy.
The emergence of EV hotspots could hit DNOs with unplanned grid restoration and reinforcement costs - or even network failure. David Taylor reports.
News
Nobody will know if carbon capture and storage (CCS), one of the key pillars of the UK's decarbonised energy policy, is actually viable until some full scale projects are up and running. That is the nub of a report published today by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).
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