Energy Spectrum Overview


In this week’s Energy Perspective, we discuss the findings of an insight paper by Cornwall Insight’s local specialist sister company Pixie Energy. Published in response to the upcoming Feed-in Tariff (FiT) closure, the UnFiT for Purpose paper makes a case for securing a continuing route to market for small-scale renewable generation. It explores the idea of a Transitional Offtake Tariff to enable continued support of deployment of small generators from April 2019 until new local markets can be shown to work and also proposes retention of guaranteed market access for community energy schemes at a higher threshold, given their reliance on certain export payments.


In this week’s Policy section, we examine the latest tranche of guidance notices from the government on implications and planned actions on a range of different issues in the event of a no deal Brexit scenario. This third wave included notes on the implications for generating low-carbon electricity, the impact on certification of installers of certain microgeneration technologies and another addressing European Territorial Cooperation funding, which covers common challenges including sustainable energy provision.

We then provide an overview of key outcomes of the Labour Party conference. The party raised ambition on decarbonisation and also unveiled comprehensive plans to move towards renationalisation of utilities in the event of Labour taking power.

The section also covers a report by Energy UK calling for clarity on roles and responsibilities as the energy system becomes increasingly flexible, and analysis from the Committee on Climate Change on Scotland’s emissions reduction efforts in 2017, which highlighted progress but concluded that the country needs to concentrate on sectors outside of power generation to achieve its objectives.


In a busy week in the Regulation section, we cover the news that Ofgem has imposed a provisional order on npower, compelling it to participate in its latest collective switch trial, after the supplier initially refused to fully comply with the regulator’s request. We highlight how while the regulator is imposing price caps that will deter customers from switching, it is also forcing suppliers to cede customers in a market that has already seen 3mn switches this year.

The section goes on to discuss the findings of Ofgem’s latest Complaints Handling Survey, which concluded that although the level of satisfaction with customer complaint handling has increased over the past two years, the regulator still considers it to be “unacceptably low”.

We also provide an overview of proposals set out by Ofgem in a statutory consultation on its final package of proposals for reforms to the domestic supplier-customer communications rulebook, and cover a consultation issued by the European regulators’ group on its proposals for a guide to help better protect consumers who choose bundled products.


In our Industry Structure section this week, we unveil the findings of the latest Cornwall Insight Index of Domestic Energy Supply Costs, which showed that wholesale cost pressure in August pushed both indices to multi-year highs. We review the figures in detail and probe the implications for suppliers.


In this week’s Nutwood section, Cornwall Insight’s wholesale team analyst Lee Drummee discusses the continued spikes in the wholesale markets as 2018 has seen GB wholesale gas and power prices, as well as international commodity prices, climb to highs not experienced for several years. With no sign of this trend abating imminently, Drummee dissects the data and discusses underlying trends.

Also in the section, Editor of Energy Spectrum Tom Crisp reviews the key messages of a compendium of essays published by IPPR, which consider how an energy system can be designed that is more resilient, more engaging of citizens and more appropriate to the challenges of the next century, while making the most of the local energy assets that the UK deploys to secure its energy future.