UK energy suppliers ask Rees-Mogg to reverse part of bill granting new powers | Energy industry

Major UK energy suppliers have urged the government to write off part of its energy bill, saying it is giving “broad” new powers to ministers and jeopardizing billions of pounds of investment.

The bill, which is making its way through parliament, was introduced as part of efforts to cut household spending and tackle the wider energy crisis.

But in a letter to Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, firms including EDF, Centrica and Octopus said they were “alarmed” that the bill grants “extensive new powers to ministers to regulate of the sector”.

This follows a Guardian report that energy companies had privately raised concerns with the Business Department that the bill contained proposals that would effectively allow the government to override the regulator, Ofgem.

Ofgem is responsible for overseeing every element of a supplier’s license, from ensuring vulnerable customers are properly treated to rules governing smart meters.

The letter says the energy sector has a ‘long-established principle of strong and independent regulation’ and that regulator decisions must take into account ‘what is best today and for the long term’. .

“It’s a challenging and demanding role that balances protecting the interests of customers with the need to ensure businesses can fund their businesses and be operationally resilient,” he said.

The letter adds that energy companies plan to invest up to £100bn in the UK by 2030, but that this investment will be underpinned by a “robust and stable regulatory environment”.

“Investors assess investment opportunities in different countries based on relative levels of stability and confidence – especially in a sector where long lead times are critical to business cases,” he said.

“If the UK is seen as less stable, either investment will go elsewhere or investment costs will rise.”

The letter also noted measures in the bill that would grant the business secretary the power to change energy company licenses and the terms under which they are granted, saying they have the “potential to impact on at pretty much everything energy companies do on an indefinite basis.” ”.

“We believe the bill now needs to be reviewed and amended so that it focuses solely on ensuring that crucial support can be provided to households, businesses and other non-domestic consumers this winter,” he said. -he declares.

It comes after another letter to the Business Secretary sent last week by Darren Jones, the Chairman of the Enterprise Select Committee, raising similar concerns and calling on the Government to set out the “justification for such sweeping powers” ​​and the circumstances in which it plans to use them.

The sales department has been approached for comments.

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