Dieter Helm to lead independent review into energy costs

Dieter Helm is to lead an independent review looking at how the energy industry, government and regulators can keep the cost of electricity as low as possible, while ensuring the UK meets its domestic and international climate targets.

The review will consider generation, transmission, distribution and supply, business and energy secretary Greg Clark said. It will look for opportunities to reduce costs in each element and consider the implications of the changing demand for electricity, including the role of innovative technologies such as electric vehicles, storage, robotics and artificial intelligence.


Greg Clark said: “The review will consider how we can take advantage of changes to our power system and new technologies to ensure clean, secure and affordable supplies over the coming decades. Professor Helm will bring invaluable expertise to the review, and I look forward to seeing his recommendations.”

Professor Helm is a professor of economic Policy at the University of Oxford and a Fellow in Economics at New College Oxford, and a former member of the Council of Science and Technology, advising the UK Prime Minister from 2004 to 2007.

Helm said: “Digitalisation, electric transport and smart and decentralised systems offer great opportunities. It is imperative to do all this efficiently, to minimise the burdens. Making people and companies pay excessively for policy and market inefficiencies risks undermining the objectives themselves.

“My review will be independent and sort out the facts from the myths about the cost of energy, and make recommendations about how to more effectively achieve the overall objectives,” he added

An advisory panel will support the review by providing expert insights in a personal capacity. The advisory panel will be:

  • Terry Scuoler CBE, Chief Executive of EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation
  • Nick Winser CBE, Chairman of the Energy Systems Catapult
  • Laura Sandys, Chief Executive of Challenging Ideas
  • Isobel Sheldon, Engineering & Technology Director of Johnson Matthey Battery Systems
  • Richard Nourse, Managing Partner of Greencoat Capital LLP

Neil Carberry, CBI’s managing director for people and infrastructure, said: “Competitive energy prices are an important part of a meaningful industrial strategy. The CBI looks forward to working with the review to ensure any recommendations support continued business investment and innovation in a secure, flexible and low-carbon energy supply, together with efforts to improve energy efficiency.”

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “It is right to look at how to keep costs down, but yet another review is going to be cold comfort to the millions overpaying on their energy bills right now. Consumers need to see urgent action from the Government and regulator to tackle the lack of competition in the market and to ensure they are getting a good deal.”

Related content:

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E.On blames policy costs for April tariff increase

Energy switchers hit six-year high amid spring price hikes

Energy suppliers: do they need more oversight?

Energy retailers: How are they changing?

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