Appointments, Policy & regulation

Energy market interventions “eroding” investor confidence

Eon UK chief executive Tony Cocker has criticised a decline in “evidence-based policy” for the energy sector.

Speaking exclusively to Utility Week, Cocker described the introduction of price regulation in the energy retail market as “a Sword of Damocles hanging over the sector”.

He said it is “concerning” and “adds to – big picture investor uncertainty in the UK energy sector”.

“We had a number of interventions early on [under the last] government on ROCs, LECs, which, to a certain extent, undermined confidence, eroded confidence in the UK as an attractive place to invest,” he said.

Cocker said such interventions were “not based on deep evidence and consultation, they were based on manifesto commitments.” They have resulted in fundamental questions about “does the UK still believes in competitive markets?”

He concluded “We should return to evidence-based policy and focus on support for institutions and get that continuity and stability back in energy policy – and rebuild confidence in investors.”

Despite Cocker’s concerns about the impact of government interventions in the energy market however, he was positive about Eon’s future investment in UK renewables and energy solutions.

He said its plans for innovation in local and municipal energy services, including solar PV, doemestic and grid-scale storage and heat networks, will be supported by government plans for regional devolution, industrial strategy, and investment in skills.

“There are negative and positives in the environment,” he said. 

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