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

“Truly horrific” is how Scottish Power’s chief executive recently described the looming winter energy bill crisis. As such it’s time for a massive shift in policy and approach. Writing for Utility Week Keith Anderson says with the Queen’s Speech due in a few weeks’ time, the government must consider how to introduce a social tariff to protect those most in need.
Opinion
The government’s energy security strategy contained bold new targets on nuclear and offshore wind but critics argue it does little to address immediate concerns. Experts tell David Blackman there are question marks about how the headline targets will be achieved and dismay at opportunities wasted in areas such as onshore wind and energy efficiency.
News
Consumer research shows water companies are increasingly being seen as the primary culprits when it comes to river pollution, yet public awareness of the work they are doing to mitigate these impacts is actually dropping. Ruth Williams asks why the water sector has struggled to make its voice heard.
Comment

Latest in Policy

Schools are being forced to choose between paying heating bills and keeping classroom teachers, the chair of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has warned. Dame Meg Hillier was one of a number of MPs who queued up to raise concerns about energy costs during the debate on the Queen's speech on Tuesday, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer describing the new Energy Security Bill announced in the speech as "the latest chapter in a pathetic response to the cost of living crisis.”
News
The price cap on default tariffs is expected to remain above £2,200 for at least the next three periods up to and including the winter of 2023/24, according to Cornwall Insight. The consultancy predicted that the cap would rise to £2,595 for the next period beginning in October, split between £1,086 for electricity and £1,509 for gas.
News
The government has confirmed that the retail price cap will be extended beyond 2023 in the first energy bill for nearly a decade, which also contains emergency powers to ensure resilience and continuity of fuel supplies. The Energy Security Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech in Tuesday (10 May), will contain powers to enable the extension of the price cap , which the government described as the "best safety net for millions".
News
More than 50GW of demand-side flexibility from energy storage, electrolysers and interconnectors will needed by 2030 to soak up surplus renewable and nuclear power, LCP has forecast. The figure was derived from modelling of the government’s energy security strategy, which contained new targets for 24GW of new nuclear and 50GW of offshore wind generation by the end of the current decade.
News
Energy UK has called for the inclusion of a new legislation in the Queen’s speech on Tuesday (10 May) to set the foundations for the energy system over the next decade. The organisation said there has been no major energy legislation since 2013, during which time the sector has changed dramatically. It said a new Energy Bill is now needed to put in place the necessary framework and powers to deliver on the government’s climate commitments.
News
Maria Connolly, head of clean energy at law firm TLT, gives her thoughts on the government’s new energy security strategy released in response in response to soaring energy prices and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She says although the strategy provides some important signals to industry, there are still significant uncertainties, particularly when it comes to technologies like onshore wind, solar and hydrogen.
Opinion
Allowing existing renewable and nuclear generators to participate in Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions could save households more than £300 per year on energy bills, UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has suggested. A discussion paper published by UKERC said while the energy security strategy promised more nuclear and renewables, this will take time to build and as such it will take longer for the potential savings to be passed onto consumers.
News
As the government rushes to secure the UK's energy supplies whilst weaning the country off Russian gas, there are reports that EDF's Hinkley Point B nuclear power station could be spared from imminent closure and that ministers are in talks with South Korea to help build the series of new nuclear plants promised by the prime minister. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have released figures showing raw sewage was discharged into English bathing waters more than 25,000 times in 2021. This and more in Utility Week's latest round up of the weekend papers. 
News
Plans to extend the Energy Intensive Industries Compensation Scheme to 2025 and more than double its budget have been confirmed the government. The scheme, which is designed to prevent the offshoring of emissions to other countries with lower carbon costs, helps businesses with high energy usage such as steel and paper manufacturers to cover indirect costs from the UK Emissions Trading Scheme and the Carbon Price Support mechanism.  
News
Ofgem has redistributed more than £384,000 of Renewables Obligation payments recovered from business energy supplier Delta Gas and Power after the late payment deadline for 2020/21. The money has been returned to suppliers in proportion the mutualisation payments they made to fill the shortfall that remained following the deadline.
News
Rebecca Teasdale, senior manager at Baringa, discusses the need to simplify the process for consumers to upgrade their homes for net zero, which she says will require a disparate industry to come together to provide with a “one-stop shop” experience.
Opinion
The chair of Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee has expressed a lack of confidence that the government will meet its target for the roll out greenhouse gas removal technologies. Based on the current rate of progress, Philip Dunne MP said it requires a “leap of faith” to see how the government will achieve its goal to suck five megatonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year by 2030.
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