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.
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

The costs of administering the Green Homes Grant (GHG) voucher scheme amounted to more than £1,000 per home upgraded by the short-lived heating decarbonisation scheme, a damning new report from the National Audit Office has found.
News
Transmission cables should be buried rather than carried on unsightly pylons through national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the government has said in its new draft energy national policy statement (NPS). 
News
The COP26 president has insisted the event will go ahead in Glasgow in November despite accusations it will exclude many of the countries set to be most affected by climate change. The Climate Action Network (CAN), which represents more than 1,500 civil society organisations in over 130 countries, has called for the UN climate conference to be postponed.
News
Ofgem has set out its priorities for maximising the benefits to consumers, the environment and the wider energy system from the rollout of electric vehicles (EVs). These include ensuring there is sufficient network capacity to the support the rollout of EVs, making it easier to connect to the grid and supporting the development and uptake of smart and vehicle-to-grid charging
News
The publication of the Hydrogen Strategy provided some glimpses of the government’s approach towards decarbonisation of heat but, as David Blackman discovers, its key proposals seem to have provided more questions than answers.
Analysis
The upcoming increase in the energy price cap will hit households in the north west more than in any other English region, exacerbating regional fuel poverty inequalities, according to new analysis. The region also saw the largest share of applications for the recently cancelled Green Homes Grant voucher schemes, according to new government figures.
News
A move by British Gas to offer its standard variable tariff (SVT) customers a price freeze over winter could lead to affordability issues surfacing at a later period, an industry expert has warned. Rik Smith was speaking to Utility Week following the announcement that the supplier’s SVT customers would be given the option to freeze their direct debits at the current rate, despite the forthcoming price cap increase.
News
Public concern about climate change spiked in August, with the proportion of people listing it as one of the most important issues facing the country doubling when compared to the previous month, according to a new survey from Ipsos Mori. Nearly a third of respondents (32 per cent) identified climate change, pollution and the environment as a major issue for Britain - up from 16 per cent in July - putting it second only to the coronavirus pandemic in the polling company’s monthly index.
News
The number of energy efficiency measures installed under the industry-funded Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme has hit its highest quarterly level since 2015, according to new government statistics.
News
Almost 4.6 million smart and advanced meters in Great Britain, representing just under 18 per cent of those installed, do not have smart functionality. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has published the latest quarterly statistics showing the number of installations made by the 14 largest energy suppliers. In total 46 per cent of all meters in Britain were smart or advanced meters at the end of Q2, an increase of two percentage points from the last quarter.
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