Embedding an understanding of sustainable energy in Ofgem
Energy regulator calls on CSE’s know-how to explore increased focus on sustainability
Project duration: October 2009 to February 2010
The energy regulator Ofgem is rarely out of the news. The challenges of ‘keeping the lights on’, delivering affordable fuel bills, and making the transition to a low carbon society – three of the key objectives of sustainable energy – all touch on Ofgem’s primary remit to protect the interests of existing and future consumers in the gas and electricity markets.
So when Ofgem restructured in late 2009 to create a power new Sustainable Development Division, CSE was pleased to be invited to help it explore the implications of an increased focus on sustainability in the way it approaches consumer protection and regulation.
Ofgem and CSE were both particularly interested in developing thinking beyond the traditional regulatory approach to consumer interests as focused on energy prices, ease of switching supplier and redress in the event of poor service. A key consideration was also how the interests of future consumers can best be represented and considered in Ofgem’s work.
The project, which ran from October 2009 – February 2010, involved internal staff workshops, stakeholder interviews and a review of existing practices, was led by CSE’s Chief Executive, Simon Roberts.
“We were delighted to work with Ofgem on this critical initiative. We found an impressive level of engagement right across Ofgem and a strong commitment both to tackling the challenges and to realising the opportunities which emerge. And we hope that the organisation now has a more rounded conception of the interests of consumers – existing and future – which reflect a fuller understanding of sustainable energy and which, as regulator of the energy markets, it is seeking to protect.”
Sarah Harrison, Ofgem’s Senior Partner for Sustainable Development, welcomed CSE’s involvement. “In establishing this new division in Ofgem, it was important to spend some time developing our understanding of sustainable energy, thinking about how that relates to our statutory duties, and considering how to ensure it is consistently embedded in all of our work and communications.
“CSE’s knowledge in this area and its ability to design and run an effective and involving review process were invaluable.”