A year ago at Energy UK’s Annual Conference, the energy supply sector was awaiting the outcome of the CMA’s two year energy market investigation. Looking ahead to 2016 we hoped the CMA would provide much needed solutions to help restore trust in the industry. Industry also anticipated the 'go live' of the smart Data Communications Company (DCC), enabling the mass smart rollout to begin in earnest. So a year later, where are we now?
The CMA final report provided assurances on the structure and operation of the markets. Vertical integration is not harming consumers, and the wholesale market for energy is competitive. The CMA identified increased consumer engagement as key to a competitive energy market and recommended a package of over 30 measures with the aim of creating stronger competition to help disengaged customers get a better deal.
Many suppliers are already hard at work taking forward the CMA’s remedies. Implementing the CMA’s remedy package will of course take time. While the CMA remedies take hold, industry also remains committed to supporting its most vulnerable consumers through the delivery of programmes like Priority Service Registers, the Energy Companies Obligation and the Warm Home Discount.
Although smart hasn't exactly been plain sailing, industry is working hard to overcome the hurdles to achieve a successful rollout. Smart is the enduring solution to many of the prevailing issues across our sector, helping to improve engagement by giving customers greater control of their energy use and enabling faster switching and better, more innovative services and products.
So the big questions for suppliers going into 2017 are: a) will industry be given time to implement the CMA’s remedy package, and b) when will we get a stable DCC environment to facilitate smart rollout.