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  • Writer's picturePeers for the Planet

Government accepts case made by Peers for an Ofgem net zero duty

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

The Government has confirmed it will amend the Energy Bill to give Ofgem a legal duty to consider net zero when carrying out its functions. The announcement comes shortly after Peers passed an amendment to the Energy Bill in April to give Ofgem a statutory duty to assist in the delivery of net zero.

P4P Peers from across the parties have made a sustained case for the energy regulator to be given a net zero duty, joining forces with a wide range of voices in the energy sector and across both Houses of Parliament. The new duty will ensure Ofgem is given clarity of mission at a critical time when we need to rapidly remove the barriers slowing down the development of clean energy capacity and green grid infrastructure.

P4P Chair, Baroness Hayman and Energy UK CEO, Emma Pinchbeck, also made the case for Ofgem to be given this statutory underpinning in a Letter to the Editor of the FT , calling for an empowered regulator with a clear duty to secure the net zero energy system, in the interest of both present and future consumers.

This positive development has been widely welcomed by the sector and Ofgem itself, with its CEO Jonathan Brearley stating the new mandate “sends a clear message we must end our historic dependency on fossil fuels” and that “consumers are best protected by building a low-carbon, low-cost energy system”.

P4P Chair, Baroness Hayman said:

“It is extremely encouraging to see the Government change its stance and amend Ofgem’s remit. A responsibility for the energy regulator to implement net zero is far from revolutionary - it goes with the grain of government policy, and it responds to consistent calls from industry for parliamentarians to set clear and stable sectoral frameworks for delivering net zero”.

“I hope this positive change will be an important step in meeting the Government’s wider ambitions to update the responsibilities of our public bodies and sector regulators, so business and other stakeholders can secure the rapid changes we need to see on the ground and unlock the many economic and social benefits the net zero transition will bring to the UK”.

The new net zero duty is set to come into force after the Energy Bill receives Royal Assent. In April, Peers also passed amendments on energy efficiency, community energy, banning the opening of new coal mines and removing the hydrogen levy from household bills, which are currently receiving consideration as the Bill passes through the Commons, and will be further considered when the Bill returns to the Lords at Ping Pong.


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