Several constituents have recently contacted me to voice their support for a number of amendments to the Energy Bill. I will explain what action has been taken by the Government regarding the subject of these proposed amendments and highlight why I believe support for such amendments are unnecessary.
As you may be aware, the aim of the Bill is to help increase the resilience and reliability of energy systems across the UK, support the delivery of the UK’s climate change commitments and reform the UK’s energy system while minimising costs to consumers and protecting them from unfair pricing. To enable this, the Bill is structured around three key pillars: liberating investment in clean technologies, reforming the UK’s energy system so it is fit for the future, and maintain the safety, security and resilience of the UK’s energy system.
More specifically, the Bill includes provisions to ensure market frameworks and governance arrangements are geared towards strengthening energy security and becoming a net zero energy system while minimising costs to consumers. This includes reforming the current energy code governance framework including granting Ofgem new functions to provide strategic direction and oversight on codes and creating a new class of more independent code managers to deliver an improved system for consumers and competition.
Regarding the hydrogen levy, its precise impact on energy bills will depend on future policy design choices and market conditions. This means there is currently uncertainty regarding possible consumer bill impacts. The Government will consult on the detailed levy design before laying regulations that introduce the levy. The Government intends to publish an Impact Assessment alongside the first set of regulations that is expected to provide information on the potential impacts of the levy on consumers’ energy bills.
Moreover, campaigners will be reassured to know that the Government has recently published a five-point plan to tackle bad behaviour by energy suppliers. The Government is calling for suppliers to voluntarily stop the practice of forced prepayment switching as the answer to households struggling to pay bills and make greater effort to help the most vulnerable. Further, it is requesting the release of supplier data on the number of warrant applications they have made to forcibly enter homes to install meters.
Finally, the Bill includes new clauses which will give the Secretary of State the power to make changes to the existing Energy Performance of Buildings regime to ensure that it is fit for purpose and reflects the UK’s ambitions on climate change, including to support achieving the UK’s target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The future Energy Performance of Premises framework will need to play an increasingly important role if the UK is to achieve this goal. Energy certificates provide consumers, building owners and occupiers, and third parties with information on the energy performance of the premises stock and support effective decision-making on improving the energy efficiency of premises.