How can regulators promote innovation? Treasury asks for comment

The Treasury wants to know how to encourage innovation in regulated utilities – electricity, gas, water and telecoms – and it has launched a consultation to ask for ideas.

The consultation says, “When regulators were first set up, lowering costs was the overriding priority, and innovation was not always hard- wired into their objectives.When faced with the current pace of technological change, it is important to ask whether there is more government and regulators can do to build on existing best practice and further encourage innovation and investment in our core utilities.”

It wants highlights two actions on innovation: a £10 million Regulators’ Pioneer Fund, funding projects connected with the Industrial Strategy, including a ‘Future Services Lab’ led by Ofgem and theEnergy Systems Catapult; and a new Regulators’ Innovation Network, due to meet this autumn.

The consultation asks whether regulators should have a statutory duty. to promote innovation. It also asks what have been their most successful initiatives, what the barriers are, and what new tools regulators need to drive innovation further. It wants proposals for both sector-specific and cross-sector business models.

Responses, to innovationconsultation@hmtreasury.gov.uk, are due by 15 January.

See the full consultation here

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