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Nov
15

The consumer lived experience in energy and water

Guest Blog from Richard Hall, Chief Energy Economist, Citizens Advice To go alongside our recent Fair for the Future Project working note on 'Changes in the consumer lived experience in regard to fairness and the environment' , Rich has shared his perspective from Citizens Advice. We live in uncertain times.Some basic assumptions about how society ...
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65 Hits
Oct
22

How will Ofgem shape the future of electricity distribution in ED2?

​ Change comes fast but utility regulation risks slow motion. Since the RIIO2 process kicked off some two years back, government has legislated for a 2050 net zero green-house gas reduction target – and XR certainly knows how to focus minds. What's more, the wider politics of our utilities continues to pose a major challenge for economic regulation...
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  298 Hits
298 Hits
Oct
02

Time for a radical rethink

While there is near universal support for the move to net zero emissions, the elephant in the room remains the question of how this should be paid for.  The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) asked HM Treasury to undertake a review of how the transition will be funded and where the costs will fall, noting that a key policy challenge is to ensur...
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  454 Hits
454 Hits
Sep
30

Making best use of ‘capital’, competition and collaboration: are energy and water companies turning talk into action?

​ There has been a lot of talk over the summer, including in the pages of the Financial Times, on corporate purpose and how a focus on this may help 'reinvent capitalism'.  There has also been a clear pushback that discussion of purpose needs to lead to changes on the ground if they are to move beyond 'virtue signalling'. Sustainability First'...
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  375 Hits
375 Hits
Sep
26

‘Fairness’ in UK energy and water sectors: roles, responsibilities, and changing expectations

This summer, Sustainability First convened the third workshop in our Fair for the Future project, aimed at establishing a 'Sustainable Licence to Operate' for the energy and water sectors as set out in our proposed strawman .  The third pillar of the strawman focuses on the roles and responsibilities of key sectoral stakeholders in terms of de...
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  421 Hits
421 Hits
Sep
16

What should a UK citizens' assembly on climate change and net zero look like?

The decision in June by six parliamentary select committees to establish a citizens' assembly on combatting climate change and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is a hugely welcome one. Parliament's commitment to explore deliberative, democratic options for decision-making around decarbonisation is very much in keeping with Pillar 3 of Sustainab...
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  417 Hits
417 Hits
Jul
16

Smart meter energy data: delivering on a public interest purpose

Smart Meter Energy Data Public Interest Advisory Group The rollout of smart meters across the UK represents a major £11bn national investment paid for by customers – but there is a risk that the wider societal benefit of more granular customer-side energy data may not be delivered . Market actors with customer consent have access to granular smart ...
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  837 Hits
837 Hits
May
23

Making best use of ‘capital’: collaboration and competition in energy and water sectors

What different types of capital does the company have to deliver its public purpose and create systems value? On 26 March, Sustainability First hosted the second workshop of our Fair for the Future project into delivering a ' Sustainable Licence to Operate ' for the energy and water sectors . The workshop tested the second 'Pillar' of our Sustainab...
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  733 Hits
733 Hits
Apr
24

What does a 'fair' energy system look like?

It's widely understood that we are in the midst of an energy transition driven by the need to de-carbonise and the broader trends of digitalisation and decentralisation / democratisation. Sustainability First has been engaged in these debates from a consumer stand-point for a long time including running a major multi-party project from 2011-2014 wh...
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  719 Hits
719 Hits
Mar
12

Ofgem RIIO2 Sector Specific Methodology Consultation: How Ofgem could raise its game on low carbon in RIIO2

The RIIO2 price control process is set to shape customer and consumer service levels and investment plans by the GB energy networks for years to come. Over the past year Sustainability First has taken a strong interest in how Ofgem would frame its approach in the RIIO2 process towards low-carbon facilitation by the energy networks. Not least, an im...
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  766 Hits
766 Hits
Mar
11

Utility Regulation in a Disrupted World: Guest Blog from Cathryn Ross

​ On 7th March, Sustainability First and Frontier Economics held a joint event on 'Future thinking on utility regulation and fairness.' We had some great speakers including Cathryn Ross, Director of Regulatory Affairs at BT Group, Alistair Philips-Davies, CEO of SSE, and Adam Scorer, CEO of National Energy Action. Cathryn shared a personal perspect...
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  714 Hits
714 Hits
Feb
12

The nationalisation challenge: Understanding the possible drivers behind support for public ownership of utilities

With both Labour and Conservative parties set on a more interventionist course in relation to the utilities, and polling continuing to demonstrate steady and significant support for public ownership, energy and water companies are well aware that 'the nationalisation challenge' is one they need to meet head on.However, in order to do so, and in ord...
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  866 Hits
866 Hits
Feb
08

What do public purpose, philosophy and public service values mean for the energy and water sectors?

In the face of the nationalisation challenge, and concerns around social justice and democratic deficits, many energy and water companies have started to ask themselves fundamental questions about what they are there to do and the impact that they want to have as a business. Across a whole range of sectors, academics, politicians, and of course com...
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  602 Hits
602 Hits
Jan
21

Encouraging greater household consumer engagement in demand response

In December of last year, Energy Futures Lab published a briefing paper by Dr Richard Carmichael, Dr Rob Gross and Dr Aidan Knowles, Unlocking the potential of residential electricity consumer engagement with Demand Response . This paper represents an excellent contribution to the debate, assessing the evidence base so far and setting out some futu...
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  525 Hits
525 Hits
Jan
14

Letter from America

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Last year Sustainability First was invited to present to a delegation of commissioners and public advocacy groups from California on the consumer and public interest issues in energy in GB. On a recent trip out there I was able, among other things, to call on reciprocal hospitality and met with Wyatt Lundy of the California Foundation on the Enviro...
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  623 Hits
623 Hits
Jan
11

Our waste, our resources - let's not waste the opportunity for more radical change

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As we get back to work after the break, many of us will be reflecting on the fact that Christmas is often a time of excess.A time when much gets consumed – and much gets wasted: food, packaging and unwanted presents to name but a few. At the end of December the government published its eagerly anticipated Our waste, our resources: a strategy for En...
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  488 Hits
488 Hits
Nov
12

Walking the talk – what might a ‘Sustainable Licence to Operate’ look like for water and energy?

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With almost a quarter of the population living on incomes below the poverty line (after housing costs), and with nearly one in three children living in poverty and the rate rising, the issue of fairness is very much in the public spotlight. As providers of universally used essential services, energy and water companies are in the front line of thes...
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  795 Hits
795 Hits
Oct
26

Time for a new approach to political and regulatory uncertainty and risk in the energy and water sectors

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Uncertainty and risk relating to fairness and the environment are not new in the UK energy and water sectors.However, new challenges faced by the sectors demand a fundamental rethink of today's treatment and handling of both – be this by government, regulators, company managements and/or their investors.This is not simply about a nationalization ch...
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  673 Hits
673 Hits
Oct
15

Upping the ambition level for smart meter data

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The smart meter rollout has featured regularly in the news over recent months, with much debate about the wisdom of maintaining the 2020 deadline and with the distinction between SMETS1 and SMETS2 having made it into everyday parlance. Sustainability First has long supported the case for smart meters as key to delivering many of the changes needed ...
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  808 Hits
808 Hits
Jul
21

Policy, regulation and public interest outcomes in energy and water: navigating a disrupted world

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Climate change that may exceed 1.5° warming unless 'rapid and far-reaching measures are taken.'What Michael Gove has called 'the unfrozen moment'. What do these three disruptors – technological, climate and societal - mean for the UK energy and water sectors and what challenges do they pose for policy makers and re...
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  1129 Hits
1129 Hits