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.
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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

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

Incentives to decarbonise housing should be tailored to local property prices in order to ensure that poorer areas, like many in so called northern “red wall”, are not left behind, a new report has argued. The study by local government thinktank Localis highlighted dramatic variations in the ratio between home retrofit costs and property prices across England.
News
Cutting VAT across the board on electricity bills in next week’s budget would be a “disastrous decision” by Rishi Sunak, ex-Npower chief executive Paul Massara has warned. Pressure has built up on chancellor of the exchequer over recent weeks to relieve pressure on households, while providing a Brexit dividend, by axing VAT from electricity bills.
News
The government has provisionally chosen the first net-zero industrial clusters to receive funding for the construction of carbon capture and storage infrastructure. In a statement to parliament, energy and climate change minister Greg Hands revealed that the East Coast and HyNet North West clusters have been selected as the two “track 1” clusters it is aiming to get up and running by the mid-2020s.
News
Boiler manufacturers will be issued with mandatory targets to ensure that a proportion of the home heating devices they sell are heat pumps, the government has proposed. In one of the suite of documents released on Tuesday (19 October) alongside its Net Zero Strategy, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the mechanism is intended to kickstart the development of the UK's heat pump supply chain.
News
Utility Week rounds up responses to this week's slew of green policy announcements, including contributions from EDF, SSE, Western Power Distribution and the Climate Change Committee, among others. While there is praise for the ambition shown, concern is expressed about the lack of concrete timescales and the tendency to “re-announce the same promises”.
News
The Treasury has predicted that the extra investment required to achieve net zero emissions will peak at more than £60 billion in 2033. In its final report for its Net Zero Review the department also argued for targeted measures to support low-income households through the transition rather than “universal and untargeted” changes to taxes and benefits.
News
Three possible pathways towards the decarbonisation of the economy have been set out in the Net Zero Strategy. The strategy noted that the three scenarios – high electrification, high resource and high innovation – are only intended to be illustrative, representing a range of practical ways in which net zero could be delivered rather than the mostly likely or preferred solutions.
News
The government has pledged in its Net Zero Strategy to look at options, including carbon pricing, to shift green levy costs from electricity to gas, while announcing £620 million of additional funding to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). Utility Week examines the key proposals contained within this long-awaited roadmap to 2050.
News
John Murray, head of EVs at Delta-EE, discuses the importance of getting the right mix of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and highlights some of the approaches taken in other European countries.
Opinion
The government has confirmed that households will be offered £5,000 grants to install low carbon-heating through a new £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme in its much-anticipated Heat & Buildings Strategy. The strategy also commits to a new target that by 2035 no new gas boilers will be installed for home heating.
News
Ofgem has appointed Shell Energy Retail to take on the more than 252,000 customers of Pure Planet, Colorado Energy and Daligas following their recent failures. Speaking to Utility Week Pure Planet’s co-founder Steven Day has said he feels like his company was “caught in the crossfire” of a volatile global market and “dysfunctional domestic policy”.
News
An energy supplier highly rated for its customer service has become the 16th retailer to enter the supplier of last resort (SoLR) process so far this year. GoTo Energy, which served 22,000 domestic customers, was recently ranked number one in the latest Citizens Advice star ratings table, receiving a total rating of 4.25 out of 5.
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