The chief executive of Gemserv has expressed opposition to ending the self-governance of the energy industry, saying industry codes and governance should instead be simplified, standardised and digitalised.

Alex Goody was responding to comments by Catherine Mitchell, professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, who recently called for code panels to be abolished and their role transferred to code administrators such as Gemserv.

The code change process has often been criticised for being overly-complex and resource-intensive, making it difficult for newer or smaller players to get involved.

Concerns have also been raised over the prevalence of the industry incumbents on the elected and appointed code panels which assess proposals and present recommendations to Ofgem for a final decision.

On this basis, the government and Ofgem launched a a major review of the codes earlier this year.

But Goody said abolishing the code panels is not the answer.

“I can’t imagine a situation where a code manager just sits in a room and makes the decisions, without some sort of involvement from others around it,” he told Utility Week.

“That entity will just get out of touch with where the industry’s at.”

Goody said a more effective solution would be for industry codes and governance to be digitalised, simplified and standardised to “reduce the burden” on signatories. For example, more meetings could be held online or over phone to avoid the need for costly and time-consuming travel.

He said the codes should also be shortened, reduced in number and made available through a single online portal that would allow signatories to view only the parts relevant to them.

Gemserv currently administers the Smart Energy Code, the Master Registration Agreement and the Independent Gas Transporter Uniform Network Code.

Click here to read Utility Week’s latest analysis on industry codes and governance.

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