Big energy saving week—what’s next for energy policies in 2019?

Big energy saving week—what’s next for energy policies in 2019?

Energy analysis: In light of Big energy saving week, Anna Sweeney, senior knowledge lawyer at Addleshaw Goddard LLP, weighs in on progress made concerning energy saving policies and a glimpse into the energy landscape in 2019.

What action has been taken so far on making it easier for customers to switch energy suppliers and access discounts? What more could be done in this area, and are there any consultations to note?

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) energy market investigation final report in 2016 identified that 56% of the people it surveyed had never switched supplier, did not know if it was possible, or did not know if they had done so—around 70% of customers were on the standard variable tariff. The CMA went on to make various recommendations that would make it easier for consumers to switch energy suppliers.

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) responded to this by drawing up a faster energy supplier switching programme (see the Outline Business Case and the June 2018 consultation on implementation) that will allow next-day switching, by introducing a new Retail Energy Code (REC) and replacing the existing switching services with a new Centralised Switching Service (CSS), which is being delivered by the Data and Communications Company, who are also responsible for the smart meter rollout. The first transitional version of the REC will take effect on 1 February 2019 and the final scheme, with the CSS, will begin in 2021.

So, progress on switching is being made, but slowly. There is an argument that the introduction of the cap on standard variable tariffs will make consumers less likely to switch, as there is less of a fear that they are being ‘ripped off’ by their energy supplier.

What other progress has there been in 2018 for energy saving (Eg smart metering and energy efficiency initiatives or incentives).

A recent BBC news article highlights the unsung contribution that energy efficiency measures are making. UK electricity generation peaked around 2005, but has now reduced back to 1984 levels, due to reduced energy demand. This is not what you might expect when we all seem to be using more electrical gadgets than ever before—even cars are going electric. Following

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