Expert viewpoints

All the electricity distribution networks have now published drafts of their RIIO2 Business Plans (with the exception of UK Power Networks who have produced a 20-page summary). It is clear that the net zero agenda has had a major influence on these plans although there are areas in which the companies need to up their game before they submit their final plans to Ofgem in December 2021.  This Viewpoint draws out some common themes and includes proposals for where Ofgem should look to strengthen or update the Guidance it gives to companies on environmental issues. It is based on a Sustainability First  working paper which looks in more detail at the individual plans and how they compare on the “green” agenda.


With major changes ahead in energy and water there is a growing need to look across sectors. There have always been inter-dependencies but the focus on net zero creates new opportunities and risks. There needs to be more dialogue and joint planning. With Strategic Policy Statements being developed for water and energy the time is right to think afresh about these interactions and for the regulatory framework to evolve to support a cross sector approach

One of the mantras in regulatory circles at the minute is the need to focus on “whole systems”. Over recent years Ofgem has been expanding its thinking from simply “whole electricity system” to “whole energy system” to a position now where transport and heat are being brought into the picture. However, looking more widely still the strategic cross-sector issues between energy and water rarely get discussed. This Viewpoint aims to highlight where some of the important overlaps lie as a basis for encouraging more truly whole systems thinking.


One of the challenges in tackling a long-term fundamental issue like climate change is to ensure that the approach taken is “fair” between current and future generations. To help us think about this we commissioned Frontier Economics on a pro bono basis to provide a framework for analysing the issue of intergenerational equity.

This Viewpoint summarises the key messages from that work as we see them, provides some of our own reflections building on the Frontier report and highlights where further work is required.


The last year has seen a significant amount of CMA activity in the water and energy sectors.  This Viewpoint explores the differences in the appeals regime in these sectors, the basis for the recent appeals and their implications for purposeful regulation.  To address the challenges of net-zero and to facilitate the purposeful agenda, the appeals regime needs reform. 

To help reduce the focus on legal processes, and increase transparency and trust, this paper makes three suggestions for how the regime could be improved in terms of: cost of capital; social and environmental initiatives; and major investments and efficiency.


Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) is a man-made greenhouse gas with a warming potential 23,000 times that of carbon-dioxide. Long-lived and potent, it is widely used as an effective insulator in electricity substation switch-gear and circuit breakers. Equipment containing SF6 is found at every network voltage. Also in wind-turbine circuit breakers.