The UK’s large vitality suppliers have urged the federal government to reverse a part of its vitality costs invoice, saying it grants “intensive” new powers to ministers and places billions of kilos value of funding in jeopardy.
The invoice, which is making its means by parliament, was launched as a part of efforts to cut back family prices and deal with the broader vitality disaster.
However in a letter to the enterprise secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, firms together with EDF, Centrica and Octopus mentioned that they had been “alarmed” to search out that the invoice grants “intensive new powers for ministers in relation to the regulation of the sector”.
It follows a report by the Guardian that vitality firms had privately raised issues with the enterprise division that the invoice contained proposals that might successfully enable the federal government to overrule the regulator, Ofgem.
Ofgem is answerable for overseeing each aspect of a provider’s licence, from guaranteeing weak clients are appropriately dealt with to guidelines governing sensible meters.
The letter says the vitality sector has a “long-established precept of sturdy, impartial regulation” and that choices by the regulator have to keep in mind “what’s greatest each right now and over the long run”.
“It’s a difficult and demanding position balancing defending the pursuits of consumers with the necessity to make sure that firms can finance their actions and be operationally resilient,” it mentioned.
The letter added that vitality firms plan to take a position as much as £100bn within the UK by 2030, however that that funding will depend on a “sturdy, secure regulatory setting”.
“Traders assess alternatives to spend money on totally different nations primarily based on relative ranges of stability and confidence – particularly in an trade the place lengthy timelines are important to enterprise circumstances,” it mentioned.
“If the UK is considered as much less secure, funding will both go elsewhere or the prices of funding will rise.”
The letter additionally famous measures within the invoice that might grant the enterprise secretary the ability to switch the licences of vitality firms and the circumstances below which they’re granted, saying they’ve the “potential to impression nearly all the pieces vitality firms do on an indefinite foundation”.
“It’s our view that the invoice should now be reconsidered and amended in order that it’s solely targeted on guaranteeing that essential help could be delivered for households, companies and different non-domestic shoppers this winter,” it mentioned.
It comes after one other letter to the enterprise secretary despatched final week by Darren Jones, the chair of the enterprise choose committee, elevating comparable issues and calling on the federal government to set out the “rationale for such broad ranging powers” and the circumstances through which it expects to make use of them.
The enterprise division has been approached for remark.