Policy

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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.
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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.
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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

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The Heat & Buildings Strategy included encouraging signs for advocates of both electrification and hydrogen but experts have warned that the ‘buildings’ element of the blueprint remains alarmingly vague. David Blackman looks at the role of energy efficiency in decarbonisation of heat and where further support is needed.
Analysis
The government should consider picking up the tab for Last Resort Supply Payment claims to spread out the costs of the industry levy and protect consumers from a sharp increase in energy bills next year, Energy UK’s deputy chief has stated. Audrey Gallacher, who also serves as the trade body’s director of policy, made the suggestion after Bulb became the first supplier to enter the special administration regime earlier this week.
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Customers' understanding of the role they can play in lowering carbon emissions must be addressed if utility companies want to get them on-board for the net zero journey. A panel of experts at the Utility Week Adapting for net zero conference said utilities must be assertive and take the time to explain the benefits to consumers of changing their behaviour to lower emissions.
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The government's apparant inability to find a counterparty to guarantee the contracts for difference (CFD) element of its proposals to reform the electricity market could lead to the Renewables Obligation (RO) being extended three years until 2020. That's the view of one of the MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.
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The UK should take a more directed approach to reaching its 2050 goals to reduce carbon emissions, said Sir David King, who was chief scientific advisor to the Blair government.
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