In a committee hearing yesterday, the secretary of state for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was asked if he endorsed the ambitions set out by former energy secretary Amber Rudd in 2015 which became known as her policy “reset”.
In particular, Clark was asked if he endorsed Rudd’s commitment to “see a competitive electricity market, with government out of the way as much as possible, by 2025.”
Clark confirmed that he supports Rudd’s “vision” but was reluctant to commit to the timetable. He said it was too early in his tenure to do so.
Pressed by committee members on the policies he intends to use in order to achieve diminished government intervention in the energy market, Clark said: “Those that believe in markets have typically believed in anti-trust policy and competition policy and have not regarded it as possible to completely take ones eye off this.”
He added that “the state of competition and the development of the market is in flux and one needs to be advised as to whether the market is, as a matter of fact, competitive enough for the role of the state to diminish.”
Looking to the future, Clark said that his department would be looking closely at the role of Ofgem and its oversight of the “economic aspect” of the energy market as it explores the scope for withdrawing government intervention. He also said that the capacity market is proving a successful “pro-market” mechanism for addressing market security of supply concerns.