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Decarbonisation an ‘absolute priority’ for Ofgem CEO designate Brearley

Image: Current.

Image: Current.

Ofgem chief executive designate Jonathan Brearley has said driving decarbonisation will be his “absolute priority” when he takes the hot seat next year.

In his first public speech since being named as Dermot Nolan’s successor last week, Brearley spoke at Current±’s EnTech conference today (8 October 2019) announced that Ofgem is to publish a ‘Decarbonisation Action Plan’ in the new year, with the regulator’s board clear that it must play a “key role” in the UK’s net zero ambition.

Decarbonisation, Brearley said, poses “one of the most historic changes in this sector across the world,” but stressed the need for companies driving change in power to engage with the regulator to better educate it as to the direction of travel.

Brearley’s comments echo those made by Ofgem chairman Martin Cave, who last week stressed that the regulator was committed to decarbonisation, but insisted there would be “no blank cheques”.

Pointing in particular to emerging business models in energy retail, also discussed at EnTech, Brearley said Ofgem needs the help of the sector to better understand emerging business models.

However Ofgem’s role will not just to be to embrace new supplier models, but to protect consumers from any potential abuses raised in those models. Energy as a service is one such model being discussed at great length, with a number of retailers examining charging consumers a set subscription fee rather than a per-unit price.

For that reason, Ofgem is to engage with the retail market more frequently, and Brearley also opened the door for the regulator’s role to change of evolve in tandem with the emergence of new models.

Brearley also said that an announcement on the Targeted Charging Review, which has proven contentious given its potential impact on clean energy projects, is to be published “reasonably soon”.

Current± EnTech conference is held between 8 – 9 October in London’s Shoreditch, at 99 City Road. A limited number of tickets for Day Two are still available, and can be purchased here.


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