Industry reaction to government’s cost of energy review

The government has announced its will undertake a review on the cost of energy, which will consider the implications of the changing demand for electricity, including the role of technologies such as electric vehicles, storage, robotics and artificial intelligence. The review was promised in the Conservative party manifesto.

Professor Dieter Helm has been appointed to lead the review, which will report back in October. He has been asked to review the entire electricity supply chain of generation, transmission, distribution and supply, in light of the government’s ambition to have the lowest energy costs in Europe.

Here’s how the industry reacted to the announcement of the review:

David Smith, chief executive, Energy Networks Association

This review can bring transparency and clarity to the debate on energy costs and we look forward to contributing to that effort. Networks are already one of the most transparent parts of industry and deliver exceptional value for customers. Network costs have fallen 17 per cent since privatisation and are projected to remain flat into the next decade.

“Over the same time, we will have seen £80 billion of investment in energy infrastructure by 2020 whilst network performance and customer satisfaction scores have never been higher.”

Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services, Which?

“It is right to look at how to keep costs down, but yet another review is going to be cold comfort to the millions overpaying on their energy bills right now. Consumers need to see urgent action from the government and regulator to tackle the lack of competition in the market and to ensure they are getting a good deal.”

SSE spokesperson

“Our energy system is changing dramatically and SSE welcomes any move from government which could make energy smarter, fairer, and more competitive for customers. The cost of energy is critical to customers and the UK’s industrial strategy and a review to better understand those costs is welcomed.

“SSE will engage with the review team to make the case for cost-effective decarbonisation and make a positive case for key policies such as the carbon price floor which is a crucial to meeting the UK’s energy ambitions and attract low-carbon investment whilst maintaining security of supply.”

Hayden Wood, co-founder, Bulb

“It’s disappointing that after several years of households complaining about sky high bills, it’s taken until now for the government to hold a review into energy prices.

“This review should include investigating the feasibility of a price cap, which is something Bulb, and the public, have been calling for. Why should both major political parties promise one in their manifestos at the last election then not deliver?”

Lawrence Slade, chief executive, Energy UK

“We welcome greater transparency over the cost of energy as we transition to a smarter, more flexible, digital and decarbonised energy system which puts consumers and industry in greater control of their energy.

“We must ensure we deliver an Industrial Strategy based on a low carbon economy and where the billions of investment needed can be delivered competitively via a range of technologies at the lowest cost to consumers. Using our energy as smartly as possible is critical so energy efficiency must be a national infrastructure priority.”

Neil Carberry, managing director for people and infrastructure, CBI

“Competitive energy prices are an important part of a meaningful industrial strategy. The CBI looks forward to working with the review to ensure any recommendations support continued business investment and innovation in a secure, flexible and low-carbon energy supply, together with efforts to improve energy efficiency.”

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