Energy—Lexis®PSL comments on key developments in 2018 and 2019

Energy—Lexis®PSL comments on key developments in 2018 and 2019

In this year’s end of year comment, our Lexis®PSL Energy team consider what their standout legal development was in Energy Law in 2018. Our Lexis®PSL Energy team also preview the anticipated talking points for Energy in 2019.

First published on Lexis®PSL on 12 December 2018.

What was the standout legal development in your area this year?

This year has been notable for significant developments across almost all aspects of the Great Britain energy arena, therefore picking just one is difficult. However, in terms of scope and impact, perhaps the most significant sea-change is being seen at the supply/retail end of the market. This change has been driven by technological advancement (such as smart metering, smart homes and remote communication more generally) combined with far greater scrutiny on the role of, and charges associated with, licensed energy suppliers.
 
As a result, the retail market has faced a plethora of new regulation and challenge across a range of areas, along with more existential questions about the purpose/value of energy suppliers in their present form. This has presented opportunities, particularly for well-run and sophisticated small/medium suppliers, but has also led to unprecedented numbers of smaller suppliers ceasing trading and headwinds for the large incumbent suppliers.
 

How has this impacted on practice in your area?

It has led to significant changes to energy regulation but also (like for many areas of legal practice) increasing encroachment of technology and data regulation. On the energy regulation side, 2018 has seen comprehensive price controls imposed on energy supply tariffs, continued challenges with smart metering roll-out and impending electricity settlement reform. Even more fundamentally, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) is looking at reform of the ‘energy supplier hub model’ and a spate of energy supplier insolvencies has led Ofgem to recently issue a wholesale supplier

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