Guest Blog: npower’s Wayne Mitchell on Office of Energy

It’s time to give the energy industry an impartial voice You may have read about calls for a new Office of Energy in the media in the past few weeks. […]

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By george marshall

It’s time to give the energy industry an impartial voice

You may have read about calls for a new Office of Energy in the media in the past few weeks. We’ve been working with Vivid Economics, a leading energy and economic consultancy, to look at the case for establishing an independent body to provide impartial analysis of the energy industry.

Trust and confidence are the key aims. Currently the energy sector features a complex relationship between consumers, markets, the state and third-parties. This results in competing priorities, most notably the ‘trilemma’ of affordability, security of supply and decarbonisation.

Rising costs alarming business

Many of our customers are only too well aware of this, alarmed by rising policy costs pushing energy prices ever higher, and the impact this is having on their bottom line and ability to compete internationally.

To balance these key priorities in a way that delivers much needed trust for consumers and confidence for investors, it is essential that discussions and decisions are grounded in accurate, reliable facts and analysis.

For some years now, energy has been a political football – with no one to keep the score. There have been big questions, such as what has really caused energy bills to rise? And what will the cost of going green be (which I discussed in a recent blog)?

Yet despite plenty of debate, we’ve never been able to reach firm, fact‐based conclusions.

Delivering trust and confidence

We believe an independent Office of Energy could provide the basis for these conclusions – real answers that consumers can trust and investors can have confidence in.

Of course, there are already existing UK energy institutions which have many good qualities. But their current scope of responsibilities means they have not been able, in the view of many stakeholders, to consistently deliver balanced and clear analysis of key issues across the whole of Britain’s energy sector.

Successive governments have a track record of establishing institutions in other fields that excel in similar roles, such as the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). This track record gives confidence that success could also be achieved in the energy sector, especially if the characteristics of these bodies are reflected in an updated or new institution.

Free from political pressure

An Office of Energy could provide a ‘balanced scorecard’ free from political pressure to help us all keep track of Britain’s energy performance. This could include analysing and evaluating the impact of decisions made by legislative and regulatory bodies, as currently there is no single body which is tasked with producing clear, unbiased and trusted data across all aspects of energy.

You can read more in the full report, The Case for an Office of Energy, which we can send to you if you email your details to us at [email protected]

I know many of our customers believe the energy industry deserves an impartial voice. If you have a view you’d like to share, we’d also welcome your comments.


Wayne Mitchell is Director of Markets & Innovation for npower Business Solutions

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