DECC proposals for Ofgem: a bit flash?
Drivers don’t like speed cameras. When a new one pops up without warning in a 30mph zone, on a long straight road with very few houses, it feels like they’re out to get you. But if you asked drivers if they would like to see the policing of these restrictions removed, most would recognise the danger this could create. Drivers want speed cameras, because they want to drive on safe roads.
Energy suppliers want good regulation. It is in the interests of your supplier that Ofgem has the means to keep an eye on all suppliers, and that it is able to act quickly and with appropriate force if a company breaks one of its rules. The action Ofgem takes should be based on good evidence and be tough enough to put other companies off doing the same.
DECC recently consulted on a range of new tools it proposes to give Ofgem which it believes will make it quicker and more efficient to take such action. One of these proposals is to allow Ofgem to make suppliers pay for in-depth audits of their business as part of an investigation. Although this seems reasonable, Ofgem already has the powers and the means to gather this information itself, an activity which is already paid for by suppliers - and ultimately customers. And it is not clear what problem DECC is trying to solve.
So, in my slightly flawed analogy, it would be a bit like getting flashed by a camera and then having to pay £100 for the photos to be printed for the police (which you already pay for through road tax and council tax - and of course speeding fines).
Energy UK is supportive of proportionate regulation, but believes that DECC should be clear on why the existing monitoring and enforcement framework is not working before making significant changes to primary legislation.