“Crisis” at DECC as second official resigns?

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is in “crisis” it was claimed over the weekend as a second senior official in the space of two weeks allegedly resigned. The […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is in “crisis” it was claimed over the weekend as a second senior official in the space of two weeks allegedly resigned.

The Head of Strategy Ravi Gurumurthy is rumoured to be departing despite being in the midst of directing crucial legislation for electricity market reform. However DECC would not confirm whether the official is heading out or not.

His apparent resignation follows hot on the heels of Jonathan Brearley, DECC’s Head of Energy Markets and Networks two weeks ago.

The two events come at a “strange” time, according to Labour MP Barry Gardiner who sits Parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee.

The MP told ELN the younger brother of Channel 4’s Krishnan Gurumurthy could join former Labour MP David Miliband – who he was once a special advisor for at Defra – in New York at the International Rescue Committee.

Mr Gardiner further warned there is a “danger” the department could end up a laughing stock, adding: “It’s a mess.” He said a recent change in ministerial roles hasn’t helped: “We’ve just got a new part time minister, [Michael Fallon], who has been Mr Silence himself and didn’t speak at the [energy] debate before recess, Greg Barker did even though clearly it was [Michael Fallon]’s to cover.”

He blamed potential chaos squarely on the current political situation, saying: “It’s the Coalition. It’s the Coalition because you’ve got nobody getting anything they want and everybody getting everything they don’t want.”

The industry has no certainty right now, suggested: “There’s £7.6billion for renewables to 2020 and zip after. There’s nothing long-term.”
The Labour MP had some stern words for Ed Davey: “We have an Energy Secretary who privately believes he wants a decarbonisation target but says he can’t because of the Coalition. He’s willing to see an energy policy through which mortgages our energy system for 40 years and which he doesn’t believe in? It’s a nonsense.”

Although there’s no “silver bullet”, the solution is to put what’s best for the industry first, he suggested: “We could do with some leadership, for the Secretary of State to say ‘This is the deal. We’re going to put energy efficiency right at the heart of the deal.’ He should put a clear decarbonisation target for industry so they can get their supply chains in place and give investors confidence.”

The Labour MP added that without Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to keep down the emissions from coal power “we’re in deep trouble”, which is why the UK should be “pioneering” in the field.

The department couldn’t comment on whether DECC was in crisis or not when contacted by ELN. However a DECC spokesperson said: “Ravi Gurumurthy is Director of Strategy at DECC. We are unable to comment on speculation about personnel matters.

“DECC has a strong leadership team under a new Permanent Secretary and is successfully piloting through major programmes including the Green Deal and Electricity Market Reform.”