Reader question: What aspects of governance or regulation could be devolved to other organisations closer to users? To whom and how?

We asked five questions addressing how the public and private sector, and regional and national bodies, can work together to help the energy sector become more distributed, greener, smarter and more flexible. Why? Because utilities and utility regulation are facing dramatic change. The Labour Party wants to bring public ownership back. Local government is seizing the initiative, using utility services to leverage development. Meanwhile, new consultations  could see the shape of the regulatory landscape change for the first time in decades. With the help of market research company Accent, New Power sought views on these issues from our expert forum.

This week we present some of those comments and we’d like to add yours.

Q3 What aspects of energy governance or regulation could be devolved to other organisations closer to users? To whom and how?

“You need a central body at arm’s length to government for proper and transparent regulation.” 

“Energy and water companies should be regulated independently and nationally (to enable comparisons)”. 

“The switch to distribution system operators (DSOs) or decentralised operation of micro-grids could lead to greater devolution of ownership and responsibility … but will require clarity on regulation”

“Without decisions from UK government on the future of heat, including potential for conversion of the gas grid in some areas to hydrogen, devolved authorities are cautious about autonomous planning.”   

But “With effective resources, local authorities would in principle be well-placed to play a significant part … they are unavoidably committed to the area for the long term.” It said initiatives in a number of cities and regions “need to be built on”. 

“There is unlikely to be a single model for localised energy planning, development and management which works everywhere.”

 “Although local authorities are often identified as playing a potential role in governance or regulation, they probably do not operate at the optimum geographic scale for energy governance or regulation.”

What’s your view? Use the comment box below to add your voice

See earlier questions:

Q1: Where do you think the opportunity for public ownership exists in energy, and where might it be beneficial?

Q2 What lessons should we learn about public or social ownership from previous experience?

Subscribers can login to read the full report in the April issue.

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