Policy

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
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

Featured

Utility Week launches a new campaign aimed at ensuring the current focus on the energy retail market results in real reform, not more tinkering at the edges. Energy Reset seeks meaningful protection for consumers, an end to the damaging obsession with auto-switching and steps towards long-term relationships between retailers and their customers to drive forward the energy transition.
Analysis
The collapse of Avro Energy, affecting 580,000 customers, presents a significant test for Ofgem’s Supplier of Last Resort mechanism. Experts tell David Blackman that it’s a "flip of a coin” as to whether the process will cope.
Opinion
The need to adopt methane strategies is an under-explored area of net-zero policy but there are still important steps that can be taken by the government and Ofgem. Maxine Frerk delves into the issue in her latest column for Utility Week.
Opinion

Latest in Policy

Plant and machinery used to generate and store renewable energy onsite will be exempt from business rates, the government announced in the Budget on Wednesday (27 October). As part of a wider review of business rates, the Budget also contained a move to offer 100% relief for heat networks.
News
Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak has earmarked £1.7 billion of new funding to help get one major new nuclear power plant off the ground before the next election. The Treasury’s spending review, published on Wednesday (27 October) alongside the Budget, contained few new energy investment commitments beyond confirming those announced last week in the government’s Net Zero Strategy.
News
The government has introduced a new bill to parliament to implement the regulated asset base (RAB) funding model for new nuclear power stations. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the “tried and tested” model has already been successfully used to finance major infrastructure projects such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel and will save consumers more than £30 billion on each new large-scale nuclear plant.
News
Energy UK has called for the introduction of a new Energy Bill as part of a commitment by the sector to deliver a net-zero power system in the 2030s. The pledge, outlined in a new report out today (27 October), follows on from the government’s commitment to a decarbonised system by 2035 which was confirmed in its Net Zero Strategy.
News
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has praised the government’s Net Zero Strategy as “ambitious and comprehensive,” marking a “significant step forward for UK climate policy”. However, the climate watchdog said “further steps will need to follow quickly” to implement the policies and proposals mapped out in the strategy.
News
The government's target to reduce the costs of heat pumps by 25-50% by 2025 is unlikely to be met, Delta-EE has predicted. Responding to the recently published Heat and Buildings Strategy, the consultancy projected that the total costs of installation could be reduced by up 40% over a ten-year period in an optimistic scenario.
News
A more than £1 billion tax windfall should be used to help fuel poor households in the forthcoming budget, the head of the charity National Energy Action has argued. Adam Scorer warned that without emergency support, millions of households will sink further into debt or be forced to turn off their heating, becoming at risk of serious ill-health.
News
The government must complete this year its analysis into the botched Green Homes Grant (GHG) scheme to ensure similar mistakes are not repeated in future home energy retrofit programmes, a House of Commons committee has recommended. Despite being designed to stimulate creation of jobs, the Environmental Audit Committee said the scheme may have “perversely” put people out of work.
News
MPs have blocked moves to force water companies to reduce raw sewage discharges into rivers. On Wednesday (20 October), the House of Commons voted by 268 votes to 204 to back a watered-down version of a House of Lords amendment to the Environment Bill, which would have required firms to take immediate action to stem sewage outflows.
News
Ellen Fraser, energy retail partner at Baringa Partners, sets out her main observations about the ongoing crisis in energy retail and discusses some of the changes that are needed to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Opinion
Ofgem has been threatened with legal action by a number of small suppliers which said they no longer have confidence in the regulator and have demanded redress for what they deem as its failings. In a letter written by Jo Gilbert, the former chief operating officer of the recently failed PFP Energy, Ofgem was accused of helping to bring the energy market “to its knees”.
News
People spending thousands of pounds on green home technologies have fewer protections than those taking out a mobile phone contract, according to new research from Citizens Advice. Highlighting a “worrying gap” in consumer protections for the installation of technologies like heat pumps and solar panels, the charity said they are also “far better” for financial products such as loans, pensions and insurance.
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