Has utility regulation failed? National Infrastructure Commission calls for evidence

The National Infrastructure Commission has launched a Call for Evidence on regulation. In a consultation closing on 12 April it asks where economic regulation of energy, water or telecoms has systematically failed or succeeded in facilitating future investment needs; promoting competition and innovation; and meeting the needs of current and future consumers. It wants to know what improvements could be made to the UK’s system of economic regulation.
The NIC’s view is the next 30 years and it asks what structural changes, such as the ready availability of data, might affect regulation and how it is managed. But it signalled a root and branch review of the regulatory landscape, asking whether the basic principles of independent regulation are fit for purpose, whether they meet customers’ and investors’ need and whether their aims are clear.
Joint regulation?
Among the options to be addressed by NIC are structural changes in the UK’s sector regulators, asking where collaboration between regulators could be improved – specifically whether functions could be provided on a multi-utility basis without the need for wider organisational change (regulators already collaborate through the UK Regulators Network), and the case for or against a multi-utility regulator covering energy, digital and water.