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Energy UK Annual Report 2023

This is a text-only HTML webpage for people with additional accessibility needs. Unless you require assisted reading we suggest you view the report as a PDF.

“I realise that I won’t win any prizes for originality if I point out that 2023 was  another hugely eventful and challenging year for the energy sector – although I don’t think anyone would disagree either. Reading this report, I am struck by another familiar thought – and one which I would hope there is also little dispute about – the sheer volume, scope and quality of work that the relatively small team at Energy UK has again delivered this year.

“If we are doing our job representing the sector positively and effectively, then much of the credit goes to the dedication and hard work of the team here, who are often juggling multiple tasks simultaneously – some of which have landed at very short notice. However, if we do punch above our weight – as we hope – then the other crucial contribution comes from our members. Being a voice for the industry means we’re only as good as our membership in terms of both broad representation and the quality of the interactions and relationship.

“Read through the following pages and you’ll see countless examples of where we’ve worked closely with our members to drive change and improvements; raised issues, highlighted concerns and pushed the Government and regulators to respond; shaped new policies, regulations and other changes to ensure that they can work and meet their intended aims; and where we’ve stood up for the industry to give an expert and informed perspective from a trusted and respected source.    

“To give a far from exhaustive sample, this work has included: advocating for and implementing bill support, often in partnership with consumer groups and charities; helping draw up new commitments and improvements around debt, prepayment meters and the non-domestic market – in addition to the ongoing work of the Vulnerability Commission; ensuring Ofgem methodology on the price cap and costs reflects the reality for suppliers; helping the Demand Flexibility Service get off to a flying start; bringing concerns around clean energy investment, grid infrastructure and planning to the top of the media and political agenda; publishing new analysis around trading costs and carbon pricing; supporting the rollout of heat pumps and Electric Vehicles (EVs); and closely tracking and influencing the passage of the Energy Act through Parliament – the first such piece of legislation for over a decade. Not forgetting our new manifesto, Energy Matters, which should stand us in good stead over the coming year.

“And last but far from least, our initiatives around Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and of course the continuing excellence of the Young Energy Professionals (YEP) Forum underline our conviction that all of this work and the future of our hugely important sector depends on attracting people from the widest possible talent pool. 

“Many thanks for taking the time to read this report and most of all, for your help and support during 2023.” 

Emma Pinchbeck

CEO, Energy UK

“2023 has been my first year as Chair of Energy UK, and I must start with some words of thanks. Firstly, our gratitude goes to (Lord) John Hutton, our former Chair, who served with distinction for a period of five years. One of the many good things John did was to recruit a truly outstanding CEO – Emma – and help her to build a really top class team. So, my second word of thanks goes to Emma, Dhara, and all of our colleagues at Energy UK, who have worked incredibly hard and very effectively during another challenging year. Finally, my thanks goes to our Board members, who have been a genuine pleasure to work with, and to all the members of Energy UK, who enable us to undertake the work recorded and summarised in these pages. 

“2023 has been a testing year for consumers, businesses and the energy sector. 2024 will also bring many challenges, but as the UK chooses a new government and debates future policy around energy issues, this will be a time of great opportunity and hope for the future. 2024 and 2025 will help shape the policy and industry environment for the next two vital decades. For Energy UK, this is likely to be one of the most important and exciting times in our existence. 

Rt. Hon David Laws

Chair, Energy UK

Energy is an essential service and our industry reaches almost every home and business in the country. Whilst wholesale prices have now started to reduce, energy bills have remained higher than pre-2022 levels. Amid broader economic challenges and soaring inflation, millions of people are still struggling to afford this fundamental, daily necessity.

Our team has worked tirelessly with our members to collaborate with the regulator, Government, parliamentarians, consumer groups and charities. We champion support for both residential and business customers, whilst advocating for policy and regulation that enables the industry to  be resilient, investable and innovative, and crucially to deliver the exciting products and services that are integral to our future energy system.

Additional financial support for customers from Government, such as the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) and Energy Bill Support Scheme (EBSS), were vital lifelines for many people over winter 2022/23, providing immediate assistance to ensure people could heat their homes as well as address the scale of mounting bad debt build-up across the industry.

With support mechanisms due to expire, or reduce, in April 2023, millions of homes would have faced a huge increase in their energy bills at a point that they were least able to afford it. Recognising the potential impact on people, Energy UK wrote to the Secretary of State and the Treasury (HMT) to advocate for increased support including extending keeping the EPG at £2,500. We also published analysis to show how much could be saved in each constituency, which we sent to all MPs, and collaborated with Money Saving Expert, Citizens Advice, National Energy Action and other charities to raise pressure on the Government to keep the EPG at £2,500 rather than it raising to £3,000 from April 2023.

In January, our CEO Emma Pinchbeck appeared before the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee alongside Citizens Advice and National Energy Action, where she discussed a number of issues on energy pricing and the retail market. Quotes from Emma were covered by the Press Association, the i and the Metro.

At a time when a big increase in prices would have been devastating for many, we were proud of our efforts that contributed to the EPG remaining unchanged until prices fell beneath it in July – resulting in a major impact on customers and market stability.

“The Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) is due to be raised in April. It should be fixed to £2,500 for the rest of the year. There is an underspend on that programme against what was budgeted because gas prices have fallen. We are also calling, like the consumer groups, for some kind of targeted support in addition to that. We are very up for conversations about things like social tariffs, and we have written to the Chancellor to call for the long-term picture on bills to be sorted by investing in green infrastructure but also in energy efficiency and doing some things in VAT to make that easier.”

Emma Pinchbeck, appearing in front of the BEIS Select Committee in January 2023

Ongoing support

  • Recognising that the winter of 2023/24 will remain difficult for many customers, in October 2023 we worked with Citizens Advice and National Energy Action to host a drop-in in Parliament to call on greater support from the Government.
  • We calculated the average change in bills between 22/23 and 23/24 at a constituency, regional and national level, showing how the removal of government support hits households hard.
  • As well as extensive media activity, Energy UK wrote to the Chancellor outlining our concerns and raised these with him personally. We briefed officials in HMT and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) about the costs of inaction and sent multiple briefings to MPs, resulting in a number of questions in Parliament about support for winter and the Scottish National Party raising the issue in the Scottish media.

Energy UK worked closely with energy suppliers, consumer groups and Ofgem to respond to the cost-of-living crisis, with the challenge of more customers than ever needing extra support from their energy company as a result of wider economic pressures.  With call volumes and inbound contact at record highs, often dealing with complex and emotional queries, customer services teams have been stretched.

In May, Ofgem launched a consultation on Consumer Standards proposing new rules to drive up standards across domestic services, specifically focusing on improving contact ease, supporting customers who are struggling with their bills, and making customer service information more visible.

Regulation that is too prescriptive can stifle innovation, so Energy UK advocated for principle-based regulation that focuses on achieving good outcomes for customers but allows different routes to achieving them. This approach stimulates competition and encourages innovation, ensuring that customers’ needs remain at the heart of decision-making. Linked to this is ensuring that robust impact assessments are undertaken by the regulator when considering a change in policy, including the use of a wide evidence base, to avoid outcomes that could inadvertently increase costs for customers.

We are pleased that Ofgem has taken a more principle-based regulatory approach post-consultation. Additionally, the outcome allowed extra time for industry engagement and the collection of further information on proposals, such as out-of-hours metering issues, recognising the importance of cost-effective and efficient solutions.

In line with our response to the consultation, Ofgem also improved its guidance document, resulting in a more comprehensive document that can adapt to the future retail market and therefore be used for a longer term. The guidance document was also improved by becoming less prescriptive, reducing regulatory risk for suppliers and increasing confidence in the market.  

Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment, now in its third year, is a voluntary set of principles and commitments from energy suppliers to support customers in vulnerable circumstances, over and above existing industry regulations. It is open to all energy suppliers and aims to drive continuous improvement based on three key principles: Accessibility, Collaboration and Innovation.

With two new energy suppliers joining in 2023, 12 companies are now signed up, covering over 90% of the domestic UK market.

The Commitment is independently chaired and scrutinised; each year an expert panel assesses each supplier’s performance against the Vulnerability Commitment.

In 2023, the Vulnerability Commitment looked at three new themes during the compliance panel hearings:

  • The role of the Vulnerability Champion
  • Data collected on vulnerable customers
  • Data collected via front-line staff

The expert panel made up of Steve Crabb (Independent Chair of the Vulnerability Commitment), Gillian Cooper (Head of Energy Policy, Citizens Advice) and Dhara Vyas (Deputy CEO, Energy UK), found all signatories to be compliant with the Commitment.

Each year, to showcase the good work signatories are presenting during these panel hearings, a Good Practice Guide is published, highlighting examples under the three themes to showcase the work they are doing in each area.

The market that suppliers are operating in now is very different from when the Vulnerability Commitment was created, and Energy UK is working with the advisory board and signatories to review the Commitment and ensure it is reflective of the current regulatory market and operating conditions. This will be published in 2024, ahead of the fourth year of hearings.

The Priority Services Register lets energy companies know when people have additional needs that may require additional services.

This includes temporary situations such as medical conditions, pregnancy and young children, as well as ongoing needs from disabilities or old age.

In 2023, Energy UK published PSR information per company – which has been useful for third-party advisors and charities.

Being able to share data across utilities will make the process much easier for customers to register as they should only have to sign up once.

Energy UK has been working with supplier members and Ofgem to drive forward improvements in PSR data sharing. At present, Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) and water companies are sharing PSR data. However for energy suppliers to join this data sharing, all suppliers must be operating under the same legal basis.

Energy UK has coordinated engagement between suppliers and Ofgem, to work through any challenges and bring the industry closer to being able to share data, as another layer of protection for vulnerable customers.

Now almost all suppliers have switched, or are committed to switching, to Substantial Public Interest (SPI), which is the legal basis to enable PSR data sharing.

The ongoing affordability crisis has left millions of customers struggling to make ends meet. With Ofgem estimating around £3 billion in energy debt nationwide, the energy sector is acutely aware of the financial pressures many people are facing.

Pressure on household finances has resulted in more people being unable to pay for the energy they need. Soaring levels of bad debt (money owed by customers that is unlikely to realistically be repaid) results in higher bills for everyone.

Addressing concerns that many customers would still struggle to pay energy bills during the winter of 2023/24, Energy UK worked with its members to agree additional actions they will take to support customers with payment difficulties.

Developed with the industry, Citizens Advice and Ofgem, The Winter 2023 Voluntary Debt Commitment is a combination of good practice and crisis measures. This means that energy suppliers are going further than existing regulatory obligations to provide better support to residential customers who are falling behind with their bills.

The commitments include substantial pledges of financial support, training for frontline staff talking to callers with debt problems, actively identifying customers struggling to pay bills, and continued close working with debt charities and consumer bodies, who can offer specialist advice and make referrals and provide suitable solutions for customers in debt, ensuring they are treated fairly at all times.

These commitments have been made by the following suppliers: British Gas, E, Ecotricity, EDF Energy, E.ON Next, Good Energy, Octopus, Ovo, Rebel Energy, Shell Energy Retail Limited, Scottish Power, So Energy, Utilita, Utility Warehouse.

Having a central voice was crucial to agreeing the commitments between industry and the regulator. Recognising ongoing scrutiny is important, in early 2024 Energy UK will be hosting a session where suppliers will be able to demonstrate to selected charities and consumer groups how they are meeting the commitments they agreed to.   

In collaboration with Citizens Advice, Energy UK developed the Speak, Seek, Save campaign messaging which provides advice to customers who are behind on their energy bills.

  • Speak – to your energy supplier, who will help you negotiate a payment plan that works for both customer and supplier.
  • Seek – advice on managing debt. Including advising speaking to a debt charity or organisation.
  • Save – energy by making sure their home is energy efficient. Provides advice on how to make simple changes to improve energy efficiency, as well as signposting potential schemes that may help towards the cost of bigger energy efficiency changes.

With thanks to support from retail suppliers, the campaign reached nearly three million people online, using both text and audio mediums which was important in order to ensure people receive the information in more than one way.

Similar to a pay-as you-go phone, prepayment meters (PPMs) allow customers to manage their energy bills by paying for energy as and when they use it. Suppliers also have a responsibility to try to prevent customers in debt from falling further into arrears – both to minimise the build-up of the individual debt and to limit additional costs for others; bad debt is ultimately recouped from all customer bills, disproportionately impacting low-income households.

Switching some customers to PPMs on an involuntary basis is a critical way of doing this. However it must only be used where it is safe and practicable for households and when all other options, such as repeated attempts to offer support and discuss repayment options with the customer, have been unsuccessful.   

Early in 2023, all suppliers voluntarily paused PPM installations carried out under warrant to in order to review their own practices.

Energy UK worked closely with its members, Citizens Advice and Ofgem to develop a new Code of Practice alongside Ofgem’s own review.

The new Code resulted in clarity and consistency to the process and assessments that all suppliers must carry out before, during and after an involuntary switch to PPM. This especially focused on identifying when an installation may not be safe for a vulnerable customer.

Before resuming any involuntary installations, suppliers will now need to be able to demonstrate they have processes in place to ensure adherence to the Code, as well as presenting a plan to Ofgem on redress for customers that may have wrongfully had prepayment meters installed.

The new Code of Practice has now been included in the suppliers’ licence conditions, confirming suppliers are committed to involuntary PPM installations only being done as a last resort.

“While involuntary PPM installations are sometimes necessary to prevent debt building up further and to minimise additional costs for all customers, the new Code of Practice should give reassurance that it will be done only as a last resort, with the proper consideration and support, and only in circumstances where it is safe to do so.”

Dhara Vyas, Energy UK’s Deputy Chief Executive

Geopolitical events and global market conditions have led to operating conditions that resulted in energy retail suppliers experiencing additional financial losses, over and above the unprofitable margins seen pre-Covid-19.

Even before the wholesale gas price started to rise, most energy suppliers were losing money on domestic accounts as a result of years of regulatory focus on cost reduction and increasing market entrants to improve competition, inadvertently creating a market vulnerable to any kind of price shock.

During 2023, Energy UK commissioned a number of independent reports to provide evidence on the actual financial implications of the costs experienced by retail suppliers.    

  • To better reflect the higher risk in the market, Energy UK commissioned an expert report on asset beta from First Economics. This resulted in an improved cost of capital allowance within the price cap.
  • Energy UK also commissioned expert insight from Charles River Associates on the capital employed calculation in the price cap, to encourage consistency in the choice of the notional supplier in the price cap.
  • Responding to Ofgem’s consultation on wholesale cost reviews, Energy UK commissioned an independent report from Frontier Economics to highlight potential inconsistencies at the policy consultation stage and help make the case for a robust and transparent process.

When energy prices started to rise, Energy UK worked with its members to ensure that the businesses and industrial customers that from a core part of our economy had support in place, and to ensure it could be delivered in the timescales required.

During 2023, we have increased engagement with business representative organisations from a range of sectors and business types, to better understand the challenges facing businesses, and to accurately communicate the importance of energy to our economy and the interdependencies in supply chain decarbonisation for low-carbon energy technologies.

We continue to engage with business groups such as the CBI, Make UK, the Federation of Small Businesses, UKHospitality, the British Retail Consortium and many more to help them and their members understand the energy market, including speaking at their webinars on available support and advice on how to lower energy use.  

Government support schemes were a vital lifeline for many businesses and Energy UK collaborated closely with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to help with the design of the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS), and its sub-schemes for Qualifying Heat Networks and Energy and Trade Intensive Industries.

Our involvement helped to ensure that these schemes were both workable and could also be delivered at pace to support non-domestic energy customers. With rapid timescales to work to, without an aligned industry view, it’s likely that support could have been delayed or not accessible for the businesses that needed it most. Energy UK continues to work with the Government to help facilitate the smooth and efficient running of the scheme.

Over 2023, Energy UK worked with Ofgem to produce guidance documents to help non-domestic customers better understand what to expect from their energy supplier such as how their energy costs are calculated, deemed rates and security deposits.

Energy UK has long advocated for regulatory oversight and higher standards for brokers to properly protect business customers.

…we have called for the regulation of third-party intermediaries, of which there are many in the non-domestic space. These are energy consultants, brokers and so on. Just to give you a flavour, there are 1,000‑ish third-party intermediaries in non-domestic sector. About three-quarters of small and micro businesses will get their energy contracts through TPIs rather than directly with suppliers. It is about a third of the volume of contracts. We have said for a long time that that bit of the industry needs regulating.

Emma Pinchbeck, BEIS Select Committee, January 2023

In 2023 this included supporting the development of RECCO’s Code of Practice for Third Party Intermediaries in the non-domestic energy market, arguing that these protections for customers should be given further strength through formal regulation.

During 2023 the smart meter rollout has progressed, with around 60% of meters now being smart.

However, the hard targets suppliers face to install smart meters in homes and businesses across the country did not fully consider levels of customer demand for smart meters and other factors impacting installs such as installer availability.

Smart meters for everyone—critical infrastructure—could save £16 billion on the cost of reaching Net Zero, could help reduce bills, could help energy infrastructure and could be really important for prepay customers. That is partly a supplier job but there is also a call for Government to really look at the smart meter rollout and help get that going.

Energy UK successfully campaigned for these factors to be more fully taken into account in the Government’s midpoint review of the targets framework. We have also long pointed to the need for common-sense links between smart metering and related policy areas to be made by the Government.

The Government has now committed to consulting on a new requirement for recipients of ECO 4 and the Great British Insulation Scheme (formerly ECO+) to request a smart meter installation. It’s also committed to new guidance within the Future Homes Standard building regulations to ensure that new homes are ‘smart meter ready from the outset’ and requiring a smart meter to be installed in cases of energy theft.

Energy UK fed into the development of smart standards for domestic devices, both through public positioning, with support from other associations in a report titled ‘The Future of Electric Vehicle Smart Charging’, and through our position on Smart Secure Energy Systems advisory groups.

In June 2023 Energy UK’s Head of Future Markets, Daisy Cross, appeared in front of the Public Accounts Committee to discuss the smart meter rollout.

“Even if you don’t use your smart meter, you have it installed but you don’t ever look at its display, if everyone has a smart meter – and the NAO report talks about the billions of benefits the networks are already seeing, they can detect outages quicker, they can know where to invest to upgrade the infrastructure sooner, all these things will reduce the cost overall of the energy system, and every customer will benefit from that.”

Daisy Cross, speaking at the Public Accounts Committee, June 2023

In May 2023 Energy UK held a roundtable with DESNZ to share plans and views ahead of DESNZ’s upcoming consultations on price protection, price support and their vision for a future market that works for customers and delivers the products and services needed to support a decarbonised energy system.

In September Energy UK published a report, Empowering people: industry’s vision for a customer-centric energy market, which explores the actions needed to achieve a future retail market which works for customers, the central role customers play in this future, and addresses the challenges and opportunities industry and Government will have to face together on this journey.  

The report argues that as we emerge from the crisis, the energy industry, Government and the regulator have an opportunity to rebuild an efficient and dynamic retail energy market focused on improving people’s lives, and sets out the policy actions needed to ensure customers are supported, and to attract the private investment needed to enable innovation under three themes: 

  1. Customers must be supported and protected as the market evolves  
  2. Regulation must balance supplier obligations with incentives for competition, investment and innovation 
  3. Customers must benefit from smart flexibility 

To represent the different views of how this could be achieved, the report also features thought-leadership essays from Centrica, E.on, EDF, Good Energy, Octopus Energy, Ovo Energy, Scottish Power and So Energy.

Energy UK’s work has helped to shape and deliver both the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate and the Clean Heat Market Mechanism, vital policy interventions to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport and heat.

The electrification of heating is a vital part of decarbonising our economy. With many homes likely to require some kind of upgrade or works, ensuring that customers, businesses and also politicians, can access the right information to make the right choices has been a crucial focus for Energy UK in 2023.

In January we held a Parliamentary drop-in on the role of energy efficiency, with the Local Government Association, National Housing Federation and Federation of Master Builders, to ensure MPs understand the role of energy efficiency measures and available schemes in delivering energy security, resolving fuel poverty, and reducing energy bills for all.

We issued a joint press release and wrote to Chancellor Hunt with key asks, including bringing forward the £6 billion funding and introducing new regulations and fiscal incentives to unlock additional demand.

In March 2023 we published our “Energising the heat pump market” report, setting out ten recommendations to support the development of an effective heat pump market.

Setting a clear strategy for heat decarbonisation is essential for the market to build up its supply chain, infrastructure and ensure there are enough skilled workers in the UK to support the changes required.

Energy UK represented the industry at roundtables at No. 10 Downing Street on energy efficiency and we also attended numerous roundtable discussions with Government ministers on various heat mechanisms, as well as sitting on the Electrification of Heat Task Group which enables effective coordination of the approach to enabling uptake of heat pumps.  

In June Energy UK responded to the DESNZ consultation on the Clean Heat Market Mechanism in support of the proposals and highlighting the need for stronger policies to boost demand for heat pumps. Our response was covered in the media, and we welcomed the introduction of the scheme which will be introduced in 2024, and will establish a carbon credits approach to support the manufacture of heat pumps in the UK.

Energy UK also sat on the Energy Efficiency Taskforce, supporting the development of recommendations before the taskforce was unfortunately retired by the Government prior to the publication of the final report. We continue to collaborate with the other members of the group to ensure that the Government is held accountable for the delivery of the recommendations, including those that require continued collaboration with industry in order to deliver them.

 In 2023 we successfully called for the removal of VAT on energy devices in homes, resulting in Government expanding the exemption for additional energy saving materials, heating, transport, and storage devices, enabling more customers to make the switch. We also published guidance for customers on our website on how to request that a gas meter is capped.

Energy UK has been advocating for a holistic approach to the decarbonisation of heat. In in November 2023 Dhara Vyas, Deputy CEO, gave oral evidence to the Energy Security and Net Zero (ESNZ) Select Committee on its inquiry on Heating our Homes.

Any national retrofit programme should do three things: energy efficiency, of course, but also decarbonising heat and an approach to a smart home that can respond to flexible pricing… Those are the three changes that we need to make to people’s homes. It is hugely disruptive if you just go and do one thing at a time, so how can we do that more holistically?

Dhara Vyas, giving evidence at the ESNZ Committee, 22 November 2023

Similar to lowering emissions from heat, decarbonising transport is going to require bold policies that set a clear direction for investors, and the market.

During 2023 Energy UK engaged Government bilaterally through working groups and formal channels including consultations, to ensure the delivery of the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate establishing clear timelines for the manufacture of low-carbon technologies for the demand side.  

The delivery of a strong and ambitious ZEV Mandate in particular is crucial to incentivising customers to move to an EV. We were pleased to see that our efforts resulted in the introduction of the mandate working across the energy and transport sectors in collaboration with a wide range of organisations to submit detailed evidence and enable an effective transition to EVs.

Building on the collaboration with BEAMA trade association during 2022, Energy UK continued to engage with the Smart Secure Energy Systems workstream, sitting on the Government’s advisory group and feeding in specific technical, regulatory, and business considerations as the programme moves ahead for domestic EV charging, and into heating and wider energy technologies.

Via the Future Freight Forum we engaged in Government plans to decarbonise HGVs, aviation and shipping, presenting and feeding in views to inform the Government’s future plans.

In response to the Prime Minister’s refreshed approach to Net Zero policies on the phase out dates for boilers and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, Energy UK rapidly produced a briefing which outlined the potential economic and social implications of the changes in policy that were announced. The briefing also considered impacts from policies that were expected to be announced, but weren’t – such as Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for landlords.

Our CEO and Deputy CEO represented industry on both ITV and BBC on the evening of the speech, as well as the Today programme and Times Radio the morning after.

There was already a sense that the UK might be slipping behind on its climate commitments and now all the Prime Minister’s speech has caused is unnecessary uncertainty at an already unstable time.

Emma Pinchbeck, Energy UK’s CEO, speaking on ITV News

What we need is stable, dependable, predictable policy and Government in this country.

We are in a global race for investment and countries like the USA, France, Germany, India and China are doing a lot to attract investment clean energy technology. It is about ensuring we are investing in energy security, getting off fossil fuels, not relying on imported gas and making sure our system is cleaner. We are not sending those signals.

Dhara Vyas, Energy UK’s Deputy CEO, speaking on Newsnight:

Energy UK’s members generate around 80% of the electricity required to power our country, from sources such as wind, solar, nuclear and natural gas, and these companies have delivered the incredible and rapid decarbonisation of the UK’s power system. In 2023 renewable energy provided the single largest source of power to the grid at a record 42% – with electricity generated by fossil fuels falling by 20% compared to the previous year.

As electricity demand increases and the use of fossil fuels continues to decline, the UK will need to maintain its ability to attract investment in clean energy sources, as well as ensure our system is able to cope with an increase in variable generation, through resilient infrastructure and a range of different technologies.

Most of the capital required to reach Net Zero will come from the private sector. The investment landscape has changed drastically over the last few years, and we are dealing with the dawn of a very different age for both energy and the global economy, with stronger competition from abroad as other countries ramp up their Net Zero ambitions. This, combined with inflation, rapid increases in interest rates, supply chain difficulties and political uncertainty in the UK is leading international investors to reconsider where they allocate capital.

These factors have also led to an increase in costs for existing energy infrastructure projects, presenting a real risk that developers may not be able to deliver what is already in the pipeline, potentially jeopardising the UK’s energy security targets. Indeed during 2023 one major offshore wind farm developer halted construction on a project, with others flagging concerns. These challenges are not just unique to wind or solar, indeed the challenges faced are across all low-carbon technologies including nuclear and biomass.

Communicating these challenges and highlighting the potential losses to the UK economy if action isn’t taken to stimulate future investment has been a large focus for Energy UK throughout 2023.

We are staring the US and the EU in the face when it comes to international competition. You look at the Inflation Reduction Act. It is 10 to 20-year tax credits that are very strong and legally binding. The only equivalent mechanism that we have at the moment is the CfD. We have nothing else that extends that time..

Deputy Director Adam Berman in front of the BEIS Select Committee in March to give evidence on the decarbonisation of the power sector.

Throughout the year we worked with trade bodies, business groups and the investment community to raise the issues and received significant coverage in high-profile media.

We held regular meetings with the Directors General across strategy, energy and tax departments, had a 1-2-1 with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Exchequer Secretary, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and multiple roundtables all focused on the asks to make the investment climate in the UK more favourable. Indeed, our panel at the Conservative Party Conference with the Secretary of State and Exchequer Secretary was focussed on investment in the UK.

Since the introduction of the Electricity Generator Levy, we have regularly engaged with HMT and DESNZ, promoting evidence on how the Electricity Generator Levy compared with the Energy Profits Levy for the oil and gas sector and the potential for these levies to incentivise fossil fuel investment over clean energy investment across renewables including biomass, and nuclear.

Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement we continued our calls for full expensing to be made permanent, including a joint letter to the Chancellor with CBI, Make UK and over 200 businesses and trade associations.

We were pleased to see our efforts recognised by name in the Autumn Statement, which included the permanent extension of full expensing, as well as the introduction of an investment allowance in the Electricity Generator Levy, which we had also included in our submission.

“This Spring I introduced full expensing for three years… The CBI, Make UK, the British Chambers of Commerce, Energy UK and 200 other business leaders from companies… have said that making this measure permanent would be the “single most transformational” thing I could do for business investment and growth…But because it costs £11 billion a year, I made it clear that I would only do so when it was affordable. Well, with inflation halved, borrowing down and debt falling, today I deliver on that promise: I will today make full expensing permanent…”

Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, November 2023

In February, we held “Investment Week”, in which we published a report outlining the challenges, the impact of lost investment and how to avoid an investment hiatus (Storms Approaching). We coordinated a joint letter to the Chancellor, receiving high profile media coverage – alongside a host of other media activity, held a Breakfast Briefing around the case for clean energy investments, and highlighted our members’ activity on social media.

We also worked with Oxford Economics to publish a series of reports (Clean Growth Gap) and held events which looked at how the UK can once again lead the way in attracting investment in clean energy and respond to the challenge posed by growing competition from the USA and Europe.

In 2023, Energy UK continued to lead the industry discussion on wholesale market reforms contemplated as part of the Review of the Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA).

Energy UK represented industry in the Market Participation and End User Forums and organised a series of roundtables with MPs and members on REMA, in order to raise awareness and discuss the changes required to effectively align the investment needed to meet our Net Zero and generation capacity targets.

We published our high-level views on REMA and two additional papers on  Locational Marginal Pricing (available here and here). While striving to provide a strong and unified industry voice, we were mindful of some diverging views on some of the aspects of REMA, which were reflected in our position papers and in conversations with stakeholders (DESNZ and Ofgem).

The GB wholesale energy market has been facing a drop in liquidity in recent years which has contributed to higher prices for Energy UK members across generation and retail supply and consumers.

Energy UK kickstarted a new workstream to address this issue and determine the main drivers of illiquidity as well as identify potential solutions.

As part of this work, we produced a briefing which outlined several developments in the GB wholesale electricity market that may have contributed to liquidity issues. The briefing also considered potential solutions which focussed on achieving better value for consumers and reducing the risks that suppliers and generators currently face.

The UK’s Contract for Difference Scheme (CfD) has been seen globally as a flagship model for bringing down the cost of renewables by providing more investor certainty. Amidst rising costs of up to 40% for developers, we identified initial concerns with Allocation Round 5 (AR5) early in 2023, publishing a paper on why it matters, and highlighting the potential risks for the auction including the failure to procure sufficient capacity to meet Government energy security targets.

We continued engagement and advocacy, collaborating with other trade bodies for a strong industry response, and as a result the budget was increased by £22 million. However, administrative strike prices were not adjusted to reflect market conditions, and the results of the auction confirmed our fears, with no offshore wind projects bidding in.

Whilst the results from AR5 were more than disappointing for offshore wind, we were pleased to see increases in capacity for other renewable technologies including solar and onshore wind, as well as a record number of tidal projects and the first geothermal projects to receive a CfD. However, while the support for solar and onshore was welcome, the absence of offshore wind in this round remains an ongoing concern.

As a result of continued efforts from Energy UK and others across industry, the administrative strike prices for AR6 have increased substantially. We will continue to advocate for careful consideration to be paid to the remaining parameters and  design of future auctions including the introduction and implementation of the Sustainable Industry Reward scheme, to ensure the CfD remains fit-for-purpose and encourages strategic investment in the UK.

Energy UK and members worked with the Health and Safety Executive to ensure the consequences of changes to gas quality on generators were well understood. Whilst some changes were implemented from April 2023, the reduction to the lower Wobbe Index limit was delayed by two years to give generators time to assess the impact and make modifications.

Through our engagement with Ofgem in its consultation around the risk of constraints at Milford Haven, Energy UK also helped to avoid potential market distortions by limiting  capacity release through summer 2023.

Natural gas will continue to play an important role in the energy mix for electricity generation, and Energy UK will continue to represent all forms of generation technology needed to achieve a decarbonised, secure and affordable power system.

Energy UK has responded to multiple consultations and engaged with DESNZ throughout the year on hydrogen.

We represented industry on the Hydrogen Development Council Transportation and Storage working group, and the developing business models seem consistent with Energy UK’s positions, as well as early engagement on the hydrogen levy to be applied to gas shippers, this will continue in 2024.

As a result, Energy UK’s views were included in the DESNZ hydrogen-related publications at the end of the year.

The low-carbon hydrogen agreement was amended to reflect better the industry’s position including the unavailability of carbon dioxide transport infrastructure, more appropriate termination provisions and potentially allowing contractual changes relating to REMA as a qualifying change in law.    

Energy UK also fed into the low-carbon hydrogen standard and revenue support regulations to ensure they included:

  • Limits to publication of strike price elements to protect commercial information
  • Clarification of version of standard applicable at time of application
  • Clarification of update process for the low carbon hydrogen standard

Throughout 2023 Energy UK supported calls for the decision on hydrogen for heating to be accelerated, given additional evidence and a need to focus policy and regulatory changes on developing the market for existing low-carbon technologies.

As part of the Spring Budget 2023, the Government confirmed it would provide £20 billion in funding for the UK’s CCUS programme, which would help unlock private investment and accelerate job creation across the UK. Energy UK welcomed the announcement and the much-needed certainty it provided to investors, demonstrating that the UK is serious about delivering this vital low-carbon technology.

As part of our work on the Energy Bill, Energy UK worked collaboratively with other trade associations to ensure the Bill addressed the specific requirements to enable the establishment of business models and a wider regulatory framework for CCUS.

The Government has outlined its ambitions to significantly increase the UK’s nuclear power capacity alongside the development of renewables and other low-carbon technologies.

In 2023, Energy UK has continued to advocate for the acceleration of policy frameworks that will enable a faster rollout of nuclear projects, as this will be critical to decarbonising the power sector by 2035. We have also had some early discussions with Great British Nuclear (GBN) and the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) on supporting the role of nuclear power. We will continue to build on this work throughout 2024 as our membership  expands to include companies working with Small Modular Reactors.

Earlier this year, Energy UK joined seven other trade associations to write a letter to Minister Graham Stuart to welcome the Biomass Strategy, which is another important tool for helping to deliver Net Zero across the economy. We look forward to working with our members and with Government to ensure the benefits of sustainable biomass are fully realised.

Energy UK hosted workshops with DESNZ to facilitate engagement between officials and industry for major consultations on the Capacity Market in Q1 and Q4, 2023.

We also held an event for members to speak directly with the Delivery Body about delays to the new EMR Portal, which provided greater transparency for market participants.

Part of ensuring continued investment in the UK is making sure that planning processes for critical national infrastructure are proportional and allow these projects to be built, whilst protecting the environment and working with communities. Throughout 2023, Energy UK briefed parliamentarians on the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act to raise concerns around a new Environmental Impact Assessment process and  the need to fast-track processes for national infrastructure.   

We worked closely with the National Infrastructure Commission on reforms to the planning system, and many of our key concerns were echoed in its final report.

We supported lifting the ban on onshore wind through briefings on the Energy Act, working closely with other stakeholders and energy trade associations on the changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, sharing member case studies and communications activities, and organising a breakfast briefing on onshore wind.

The changes made to onshore wind policy through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill did go some way to mitigating the risk for onshore wind developers, however it continues to be treated differently to many other low-carbon technologies and we therefore believe it is unlikely to result to in significant amounts of onshore wind still coming forward in England.  

However, Energy UK has long advocated for all low-carbon technology to be considered as critical national priority in the updated Energy National Policy Statements, and we were pleased this was included in 2023’s Autumn Statement. We were also pleased that the Government is enacting plans to fast track certain critical infrastructure projects through the planning system and are engaging with industry on the criteria.

Other work around planning included:

  • Engaging with the Biodiversity Net Gain requirements which came into force in January 2024, and impacted small-scale solar projects which are already within its remit.
  • Continuing to advocate for updating and reforming the National Planning Policy Framework to deliver more onshore wind and solar where there is public support.
  • Organising workshops with Defra and Renewable UK on developing a contributions-based approach to Marine Net Gain. The final briefing was taken on board by Defra as it develops the policy area, and our contributions were mentioned in the Government’s response to the consultation.
  • Engaging with Defra as it develops the policy areas to reduce consenting timelines through the programmes under the Offshore Wind Environmental Improvement Package.    
  • Successfully advocating to ensure that there is no change to policy on ground-mounted solar farms and solar isn’t seen as a threat to agriculture.   

During 2023 we also:

  • Hosted an in-person workshop with the Environment Agency and DESNZ on barriers to access to water for the energy sector, which was attended by over 50 participants from regulators, the Government and the industry.
  • Continued our advocacy around ensuring a stable regulatory environment for power generation and development of regulations for hydrogen and CCUS.
  • Briefed parliamentarians on the EU Retained Law Act and supported wider efforts around the removal of the sunset clause from the final Act.   

Energy UK led industry engagement in the early development and co-design of the ESO’s Demand Flexibility Service (DFS). DFS is a demand response service that enables suppliers and aggregators to pay smart meter customers for shifting demand at peak periods. Last winter, with a number of global factors leading to tighter margins on the system, the ESO took the decision to contract a coal reserve and develop DFS to identify additional capacity in case it was needed.

Energy UK set up an industry workgroup (members, non-members and three other energy trade bodies) to support the ESO to go from concept to approval in five months. This involved collaborating on the early design, building cross-industry agreement on challenging aspects and brokering service terms that worked for most relevant parties It resulted in a six-fold increase in the price for shifting demand for providers and their customers; the recommissioning of an improved service for winter 2023/4 (with six tests at the same guaranteed price) and a commitment that DFS (or an alternative) would be used to grow domestic flexibility and help it to transition to a fully commercial, in-market tool.

During winter 2022/23, the service shifted more than 3,300MWh of energy during peak periods and market volumes grew to 350MW. Volumes for winter 2023/24 are forecast to exceed 1.25GW. The key success however, is in the learnings that it has provided. DFS demonstrated that aggregated domestic flexibility (even where largely manual rather than automated) is ‘firm’ enough to balance a national grid. DFS provides a template for how early industry collaboration can build broad support for and accelerate change.

Grid connections remain a challenge for those want to connect new infrastructure to the Grid, from small-scale EV chargers to larger energy assets.

To ensure the issues and consequences are understood politically and to drive the required policy changes needed, Energy UK has produced briefings, briefed the media and responded to the GB Connections Reform consultation.

Energy UK focused this year to ensure grid connections are a Government priority and these issues are now being mentioned by the Secretary of State, the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister and the King.

Working through our Networks Subcommittee, we engaged MPs and Peers on the challenges facing the energy system, briefing groups and individuals on the state of the energy network and the need for a Connections Action Plan – which was announced by Government in the Autumn Statement in November.

With Energy UK Deputy Director Charles Wood representing industry on the Electricity Networks Commissioner Advisory Group, we supported the development of the Electricity Networks Commissioner report and recommendations. Following this, we helped produce the Government’s response – the Transmission Acceleration Action Plan – through engaging on behalf of members through Steering and working groups, and feeding into the Connections Action Plan and Transmission Acceleration Action Plan recommendations and implementation.

EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

The EU’s new Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) remains a key concern for Energy UK as it has wide-ranging implications for the GB energy sector.   We have worked closely with members to identify the key concerns and impacts, and where uncertainty remains.

Energy UK engaged extensively with DESNZ over the course of 2023 to ensure the Department is aware of the issues and the specific concerns of the power sector, and to help support and inform the dialogue between DESNZ and the European Commission on the CBAM.

We continued to call for the UK Government to begin negotiations with the EU to link the UK Emission Trading System (ETS) with the EU Emissions Trading System, which would also negate the need for CBAMs between the two jurisdictions.

Energy UK will continue to call for positive, proactive UK-EU cooperation as the EU phases in its CBAM over the course of the coming years, and especially as the UK designs and develops its own domestic CBAM.

UK-EU Energy and Climate Cooperation

As part of Energy UK’s advocacy in ensuring the EU continues to understand the concerns and priorities of the UK energy sector, we produced a report in March which highlights the need for both parties to heighten their cooperation on energy and climate in order to fulfil their legally binding ambition to meet Net Zero emissions by 2050.

In October we produced a briefing which was sent to key political stakeholders outlining how UK companies would be at a disadvantage if the UK and EU emissions trading systems aren’t linked.

As part of our wider EU-UK engagement, our Chair David Laws also joined governments and leading companies in the UK at the North Sea Energy Summit. At the summit David made the point that greater EU-UK cooperation on energy benefits all customers.

UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) Domestic Advisory Group and Civil Society Forum

Energy UK has continued to engage with the UK Government and European Commission via the UK-EU TCA Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) and Civil Society Forum (CSF). Throughout the course of 2023, our work with these two cross-sector bodies has ensured that the interests of members continue to be heard and understood with regards to the implementation of the Energy Title of the TCA, and that our relationship with Europe is positively maintained.

  • Energy UK continued engagement to ensure the passage of the Energy Act, directly engaging with parliamentarians, special advisors, ministers, shadow cabinet, and other trade associations to ensure delivery of a wide range of critical measures, including a Net Zero duty for Ofgem, enabling the establishment of business models for hydrogen and CCUS, as well as the establishment of the Future System Operator.
  • We attended around 30 ministerial roundtables and directly engaged with the Department for Business and Trade, Better Regulation Unit and the House of Lords’ Industry and Regulatory Committee to inform regulatory reform workstreams defining the future of utility regulation, regulatory duties, and economic regulation. Achieving Net Zero will be a major regulatory challenge and it’s vital that all decision-making bodies involved are adequately prepared for, and set up, the years ahead. A major focus will continue to be the regulatory barriers to achieving our climate targets.
  • Through working with our members we developed the industry position on what needs to change within the current energy retail market structure and regulatory framework for it to be consistent with a resilient, flexible, affordable system centred on customers, which can deliver Net Zero. This was published in September 2023.
  • We fed into work from Ofgem, National Grid ESO, and DESNZ on the role of Spatial Energy Planning and local area energy plans, and the developing responsibilities of the Future System Operator (FSO).

As the voice of the industry during a year when energy has dominated the media and political agenda, Energy UK’s spokespeople have once again been much in demand during 2023.

Energy UK’s broad remit means we are often called upon to give the industry’s perspective or provide expert comment on a wide range of issues including energy bills and customer support, grid, planning and connections; investment; flexibility; Government policy and announcements; and wider global and geopolitical energy issues – to name but a few.      

With regular appearances on the likes of Today programme, Newsnight and all the national news bulletins – on both TV and radio – interviews with Energy UK have featured in the broadcast media at least once a week on average. In addition, we’ve had hundreds of conversations with journalists from the print and online media to inform their coverage as well as numerous stories resulting from our own news releases and publications and many others featuring our responses, quotes and statements.              

As an advocacy organisation, public affairs runs through the heart of all of our work. Whilst 2022 was one of the most turbulent years seen in UK politics, 2023 has been no less busy seeing the introduction of the Energy Act, a new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, a new Secretary of State and energy remaining high on the agenda for all parties as they begin their election campaigning.

Senior political engagement

Throughout the year we have continued to engage at the highest political level; multiple bilateral meetings with the Secretary of State, DESNZ Ministers and advisors, as well as No.10 teams.

Our engagement with the Treasury has also been key; meeting multiple times with the Exchequer Secretary as well as a bilateral meeting with the Chancellor, prior to the Autumn Statement.

Opposition engagement has included bilateral meetings with the Shadow Chancellor, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate and the Shadow Business Secretary.

The team was not just focused on the two main political parties but also engaged at a detailed level with the SNP group in Westminster on energy costs, the Liberal Democrats on the Energy Act as well as speaking at their conference and Climate Cluster, and engaging the DUP on the benefits of CfDs.

Working across the economy

We have continued joint working with other energy trade associations, as well as increasing our engagement with wider economic groups including CBI, Make UK, BCC, IOD and FSB, and other business representative organisations such as UKHospitality, National Builders Federation, SMMT, GIIA, and more.

In July, Energy UK coordinated a letter to the Prime Minister signed by over 100 organisations with concerns that without a renewed focus and commitment to the delivery of Net Zero from the Government, the UK will be left behind. Signatories included FTSE100 companies ranging from retail, insurance, energy and manufacturing.

We continue to support the development of an effective approach to the development of robust supply chains, with Deputy Director Charles Wood sitting on the Electricity Products Supply Chain Council for Energy UK, which will lead the formulation of a strategic approach to network infrastructure supply chains.

A just transition for both our current and future workforce, and the energy transition will bring hundreds of opportunities both for those working in, and those wishing to join industry. In 2023 we met with Paul Nowak, General Secretary of the TUC, and Andy Prendergast, National Secretary of GMB. We also continued the work of the Green Jobs Taskforce through our seat on the Power and Networks Workforce Working Group.  

Supporting parliamentarians

Energy is a complex and dynamic industry, and as the voice of the industry part of our role is to ensure that complicated issues are understood within politics, and that those serving our country know how to access support and advice. During 2023 we held multiple virtual parliamentary briefings for researchers, updating them on state of the energy market and forthcoming issues as well as answering constituency-specific questions.

We also held multiple briefing sessions with the advisors on the ESNZ Select Committee to ensure they had an informed view in preparing for inquiries, and have appeared in front of six Select Committees throughout the year to give evidence.  

Recognising the increased pressure on MPs in supporting their constituents with energy-related queries we held two parliamentary drop-ins focussed mainly on affordability for constituents and energy efficiency. We continue to work with Ofgem, Citizens Advice and DESNZ to keep comprehensive information guides for third party advisors up to date.

Net Zero Review

Energy UK engaged with Chris Skidmore MP throughout 2022 and 2023, feeding into the development of the Net Zero Review published in January.

“The message from the review is clear and is one we fully endorse. The wide-ranging benefits of investment in low-carbon technologies have been set out again and the Government must seize this golden opportunity to drive a broad economic recovery and become a global leader in new technologies for years to come. Based on the evidence set out in today’s report, further delay would both be inexplicable and hand that economic opportunity to other countries.”

Energy UK Deputy Director of Policy, Charles Wood

Energy Act 2023

Energy UK played an instrumental role in developing, drafting, and informing the debate on the Energy Bill throughout the course of 2022 and 2023. Having called for an Energy Bill for years prior, Energy UK set out recommendations for inclusion in a Bill and engaged the Government and opposition parties in on these recommendations to ensure the passage of an effective bill that delivered for the needs of customers, the industry, investors, and the UK as a whole.

We worked with other trade associations across the energy sector to ensure the Bill addressed all aspects of the market, from heat network customer protections to measures enabling the establishment of frameworks for CCUS and Hydrogen production, storage, and transportation. Through written briefings, parliamentary roundtables, and direct engagement with relevant parliamentary groups and civil service colleagues, Energy UK engaged throughout every stage of the Bill’s passage through the houses.

We continued to add to its initial recommendations as circumstances changed, including briefing Peers and MPs on possible wording to apply a Net Zero Duty on Ofgem, which was later adopted. The legislation passed through all stages and has now been enshrined in law as the Energy Act of 2023, containing measures on all areas recommended by Energy UK.

What’s in a name?

In February, a new Department was created focussing solely on Energy Security and Net Zero, something Energy UK had called for.

“Energy UK called for a dedicated Energy Department, because of the pivotal importance of energy for every home and every business in the country – and the UK economy – and because of the scale of work needed to achieve a secure low carbon energy system and to deliver affordable bills for customers.”

Emma Pinchbeck, CEO, Energy UK, 7 February

Party Conferences

Energy UK attended the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Party Conferences speaking on 22 panels and roundtables alongside a number of Ministers/Shadow Ministers, MPs, the Institute for Government (IfG), New Statesman, the Spectator, think tanks and campaign groups including Labour Together, Labour Climate and Environment Forum, Conservative Environment Network, Bright Blue and others.

Our panel event at the Conservative Party Conference focussed on ensuring investment in the UK and included speakers from Bloomberg, the Green Finance Institute and Policy Exchange, as well as the Exchequer Secretary, Gareth Davies MP, and the Secretary of State, Claire Coutinho MP.  

Our panel event at Labour Party Conference, in conjunction with IfG, focused on the “machinery of Government” changes that would be needed for any future Labour Government and speakers included Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Net Zero, Dr Alan Whitehead MP, and the Chief Executive of ScottishPower Keith Anderson.

Alongside speaking opportunities, we met more than 100 key stakeholders including senior ministers and shadow ministers, Downing Street advisors, SpAds, opposition advisors, MPs, candidates and the broader business and energy community.

To receive Energy UK’s comprehensive round up of energy-related political news, dates and media coverage – email – this is a member-only benefit.

At our 2023 Annual Conference, we launched our manifesto Energy Matters: People, Power, Prosperity, a vision document and proposal for partnership between the sector and next Government ahead of a vital rest of the decade.

To demonstrate the importance of energy to the economy, we produced a collection of essays which comprises thought leadership from the country’s largest business groups, NGOs, leaders in innovation, customer charities and parliamentarians. The collection highlights the fundamental role of energy across the economy, and why reaching Net Zero in a fair and practical way is so important.

With a broad membership base covering all aspects of the sector, Energy UK’s events provide an opportunity to network and meet others, improve knowledge and challenge industry thinking across a truly diverse range of topics.

This year we have held more events than ever, with record attendance including senior industry figures, as well as introducing a new series of networking events focussing on data. We’ve continued our Young Energy Professionals programme which includes Awards, networking events and site visits, as well as holding two industry-wide conferences. Energy UK also hosted its first “Barriers to water for the energy sector workshop” with over 50 attendees and 8 speakers.

Our Annual Conference is our most high-profile event of the year, attended by top figures across the energy industry and politics. In 2023, there was standing room only with over 290 people in attendance.

Speakers included Secretary of State Claire Coutinho MP, Shadow Secretary of State Ed Miliband MP, CEOs and senior executives from Ofgem, National Grid, energy companies, Citizens Advice, NESTA, investors and more.

New for 2023, we introduced Lightning Bolt talks bringing together people from the worlds of energy, policy, and beyond to share innovative ways of using data to understand, explain and improve energy in the UK. To spread those ideas, we invite a range of speakers to give short, sharp five-minute talks from across different policy areas.

Our Breakfast Briefings are online webinars with expert speakers held throughout the year and lead the conversation on areas of interest to our members and stakeholders.

2023 topics have included making the case for clean energy investments, technology focus such as Long Duration Energy Storage or onshore wind, political angles such as reflections from the fiscal statement, or local elections and community consent, and industry-wide innovation such as digitisation or demand flexibility.

This year, we held a series of additional webinars to support our Clean Growth Gap reports as well as an in-person event, with Chris Skidmore MP, author of the Net Zero Review speaking.  

As well as receiving discounted prices to all our ticketed events, we organise private member-only roundtables with senior political leaders, and regularly arrange for external speakers to our committee meetings –including the regulator, industry bodies such as the Climate Change Committee and National Infrastructure Commission, as well as political researchers, pollsters and journalists to give their take on the sector.

Our Parliamentary Reception was well attended this year, sponsored by John Penrose MP and keynote speech from Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance.

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Many thanks to our 2023 event sponsors; E.On, Engage, National Grid, Policy By Murray, RWE and Sense. 

Our sponsors are valued partners whom we work closely with to ensure we maximise engagement opportunities and goals at our events – to find out more and enquire about opportunities, please email

Energy UK’s CIPD Accredited training courses continue to grow. During 2023, we rebranded, revised the content and delivered more courses than ever before, with 17 open courses alongside 22 exclusive group sessions.

Companies that have organised exclusive group sessions include RWE, InterGen, SSE, Honda, Uniper Energy, Lloyds Banking Group, DESNZ and Drax.

To enquire about training or company group sessions email for more details.

The breadth and depth of Energy UK’s coverage of the energy sector has continued to grow with 17 new Members and Associates joining across the year.

We’ve introduced new processes internally including around onboarding to ensure that new Members can access the benefits and connections available through Energy UK membership at the earliest opportunity, and implemented a new engagement strategy to understand and identify where our existing Members are connecting and benefitting across the scope of our work, and how we can best work with them to create the strongest and most valuable partnership for both parties.

As part of our engagement strategy, we’ve continued to improve our Associate Member offering, holding three associate member briefings across the year, to share political insight, anticipated challenges and discuss how Energy UK can support their organisations.

100% of respondents agreed Energy UK has been an effective, professional and important representative body of the energy industry this year

96% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that Energy UK has demonstrated an effective level of influence within energy regulation and policy,

94% of respondents agreed Energy UK has contributed to promoting a positive industry image.

Anonymous testimonials from Energy UK’s 2023 survey of members

“I think Energy UK has done an incredible job of marshalling key industry messages and making sure that they are heard – which was never so important. The combination of an energy crisis, cost of living crisis and climate change mean that it would be easy for energy companies to be portrayed entirely as the problem rather than the solution, and Energy UK has been a fantastic voice of the industry, against the background of those very serious challenges – which in turn makes it easier for the industry to respond effectively to those issues.”

“Energy UK remains a high-profile, professional, and respected organisation that presents a positive and credible face for industry..”

“Every single individual I’ve spoken with at Energy UK in any capacity has been inclusive, kind, helpful and professional. Because there is such a dedicated, informed and coordinated team, it appears like things work seamlessly and to an incredibly high standard. The recent publication on the Energy UK manifesto, launched at the conference, is so well thought out and timed well. The messaging is great at all levels and keeps Energy UK out of the drudgery of populist issues and focused on the issues that are actually going to achieve positive progress for everyone.”

“Overall, I think that Energy UK is a well thought of professional organisation which punches above its weight. The senior leadership team are effective communicators and engaging, which helps to build influence.”

“I think it has been a really tough year for the energy industry and Energy UK have managed to navigate that well, ensuring presence at crucial moments, even if short notice.”

“Energy UK has been a powerful advocate for our industry. We are very pleased with our membership and the briefings we receive from Energy UK activities and issues.”

“It has been really great to have access to the vast knowledge and understanding of the Energy UK resource. As an SME, it’s hard to keep on top of everything going on that will ultimately impact us, so it’s great to have our membership to help keep on top of what we need to know for our business.”

In 2023, Energy UK is proud to have received Gold Accreditation from Investors In People, recognising efforts from the whole organisation to ensure an inclusive culture.

“Everyone described an organisation that is culturally excellent with high levels of trust and engagement between people and leaders. Your people stated during the interviews with the Assessor how proud they are that Energy UK is a successful organisation, confirming that it’s a team effort and there was a strong sense of belonging and cohesion to Energy UK, people are highly invested in the organisation and its mission.”

“The passion from people towards Energy UK was evident throughout when they talk about the work and recommending the organisation as a place to work…a culture which incorporates openness, real support from the leadership team, trust, and a willingness to communicate and involve all people at all levels within the organisation.”

In helping to make Energy UK an even better place to work, in line with our mission to meet Net Zero, in 2023 we introduced a climate perks policy allowing employees to receive up to an extra two days’ leave for travelling on holiday in a more carbon neutral way than flying. 

We also introduced wellbeing benefits such as fruit in the office, claiming back for flu jabs and are introducing a Sabbatical Leave Policy and extra leave for length of service in 2024.

Our staff have a generous training allowance and we continue to improve our internal learning and development opportunities offering 17 lunch and learns, with a range of external and internal speakers and topics from across the industry. We also organised trips for our staff to energy related sites giving our employees an inside knowledge of the work of our members. 

In 2023, we appointed Rich Smith as a new Chief Operating Officer to help drive operational excellence even further.

As one of our key values, we are committed to ensuring Energy UK remains an inclusive place to work. Our staff engagement survey, scored highly with 4.29/5 (average) score for whether staff believe Energy UK is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion, and there has been a significant upward trend in whether staff believe they have the opportunity to have their voice heard and will be listened to, now at 4.24/5. 

We continue with mandatory training to improve team knowledge of EDI on all levels, and run all staff sessions on key EDI areas, from informal “Tea and Ted Talks” to accessibility training run by Scope.

We have committed to publishing our first EDI strategy in 2024 which will set out how we will seek to improve further. 

Our Young Energy Professionals (YEP) Forum is a network to connect, develop and inspire people as they start their career in the energy industry. It is free to join, and open to anyone working in the sector with up to ten years’ experience, as well as students looking to join the industry.

Over 2000 people are part of the Forum, from 350 organisations, departments and Government bodies working right across the energy sector.

Thank you to SSE Thermal for sponsoring the YEP Forum throughout 2023 and into 2024.

2023 highlights

  • 65% increase in mailing list subscribers
  • Doubling of LinkedIn Followers
  • 40% increase in followers on Instagram
  • 20 events across the year with almost 900 people attending altogether. This ranged from the YEP Forum’s  first ever Parliamentary Reception, site visits to see exciting energy infrastructure in action including Rampion Offshore Wind and National Grid ESO Control Room, to joint events with PwC, BAME Climate Professionals, FTI and more.

During 2023 we celebrated the 10th year of the YEP Forum, with a networking event in July, including the opportunity to meet and hear from multiple former Young Energy Professionals – now holding senior jobs across the sector, as well as members of Energy UK’s Board and senior leadership team.

In 2023, the YEP Forum published its ‘Guide to Jobs in Energy’ highlighting the variety of jobs within the energy sector.  The guide aims to inspire people to join the sector, through driving awareness about the diversity of careers available and the different pathways to entry. It covers technical roles in engineering and STEM fields, as well as innovation, policy influencing, and organisations that provide a service to the sector.  

The YEP Awards, held in December, continued to grow in 2023, with the largest number of nominations and attendees since they began, and a new award introduced for innovation. Chris Stark, CEO of the Climate Change Committee gave an inspiring keynote speech, and award sponsors included Drax, EDF, Murray McIntosh, National Gas and SSE Thermal.

Energy UK is a founding member of TIDE, an industry-wide initiative that aims to take a cross-sector approach to improving Equity, Diversity and Inclusion across the energy sector.

With the support of our founding partners – the Energy Institute, Energy Networks Association and Ofgem – the group of volunteers has grown to over 40 individuals representing over 30 organisations across the sector. Each quarter the group reports its progress to the CEOs of the four partner organisations, who challenge and steer the group to ensure it is effective.

Since the first full TIDE meeting in November 2023, TIDE has:

  • Signed up 13 energy company CEOs to its Leaders Commitment
  • Grown Linked In followers to over 800
  • Launched an EDI Hub to host information about TIDE, industry-wide EDI resources as well as a tool for companies to submit best practice case studies, sign up to the Leaders’ Commitment and register interest for the Health Index.
  • Held five webinars covering a range of different topics and to share best practice
  • Supported Energy and Utility Skills in promoting uptake of its Inclusion Measurement Framework which aims to collect data on the workforce demographics of the energy industry. Around a third more energy companies took part in 2023 and it’s hoped that with further support from TIDE even more companies will take part in 2024.

In 2023, to contribute towards data-collection on the energy industry’s demographics Energy UK participated in the Energy & Utilities Skills Inclusion Measurement Framework for the first time, and we have also signed up to TIDE’s Leaders Commitment. Our newsletter mailing list has grown to over 750 engaged professionals in energy, interested in EDI.

In 2024, a large focus for TIDE will be on further data collection.

  • In addition to encouraging companies to take part in the Inclusion Measurement Framework, TIDE will officially launch its Health Index in 2024, which will complement the measurement of workforce characteristics with a tool that companies can use to benchmark the processes and tools they have in place against other energy companies.

TIDE is also scoping dedicated, paid positions in order to really push forward the group’s impact, as well as recruiting for a new chair in 2024.

This is the fourth year Energy UK has hosted its EDI Conference, this year once again in conjunction with ENA and Ofgem.

Over 170 people from across the industry gathered in person, and a further 160 people joined online, to challenge each other, share best practices and hear from CEOs of major energy companies and EDI professionals, as well as those working within the industry with lived experience.

The one-day event was sponsored by Policy by Murray, and included a mixture of panels, presentations, personal stories and pitches, as well as excellent networking opportunities with others keen to improve EDI in energy. This is the only dedicated EDI conference in the energy industry, and the level of seniority of the attendees demonstrated the value people place on being able to come together, challenge senior leaders, discuss and share ideas and meet others working in EDI.

Celia Anderson, Chair of TIDE 2023 and Offshore Wind Skills Strategy Lead at RWE said:

“Energy UK has played a driving role in pushing forward initiatives across the energy industry that have enabled companies to improve their own Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) practices over the last 12 months. As a founding member of TIDE and an active member of the secretariat, TIDE would not be what it is, without the work of Energy UK.  

“I know Energy UK has been on its own journey, improving EDI practices within its organisation – the additional work it has done to support improvements in industry is noticeable and whilst these kinds of cultural changes inevitably take time, I’m confident it will continue to drive forwards positive change in our current and future workforce.”