Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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Next steps for retail energy markets in the UK - sector modernisation, decarbonisation, regulation, and delivering value and new services for customers

Morning, Thursday, 15th July 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference is examining the future of energy retail markets in the UK.

Discussion will focus on priorities for improving the quality of consumer services, market competition, sector-wide decarbonisation and smart-led technological innovation.

It will be an opportunity to assess the impact of the Energy White Paper, with proposals on creating an affordable and competitive retail market in the context of the drive towards a UK energy system with net-zero emissions - including priorities for support for smart and flexible tariffs, and supplier-led energy efficiency improvements.

We are very pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with Neil Barnes, Deputy Director, Consumers & Markets, Ofgem; Ian Cameron, Head of Customer Service and Innovation, UK Power Networks; and Jon Harley, Executive Director, Gemserv - as well as contributions from Citizens Advice; Eaton; EDF Energy; Electron; the Energy Saving Trust; the Energy Systems Catapult; Energy UK; Good Energy; Regen; and Smart Energy GB.

Areas for discussion include:

  • reform to the market framework - including plans for expanding market engagement, consumer protection, and further integrating smart technologies across the sector
  • modernisation and decarbonisation - priorities including increasing grid flexibility, optimising the system for low-carbon energy, and connecting non-generation technologies
  • sector development - new business models for retailers and wider stakeholders, new services, and best practice for achieving greater value for consumers

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from BEIS; the CMA; the Crown Commercial Serice; the DIT; the Department for the Economy, NI; the DfT; the HSE; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government; as well as parliamentary pass-holders from both Houses of Parliament.

The agenda

  • Retail energy markets in the UK - policy developments and key issues for competition, consumer services, and innovation
  • Energy White Paper implementation and affordability, resilience, and sustainability in the retail energy market
    • Supplier responsibilities and delivering modern and reliable services - flexible tariffs, smart household options, and meeting changing needs of consumers
    • A market that works for both consumers and retailers - business models, commercial sustainability, and operational stability into the future
    • Priorities for consumer services - widening competition, affordable bills, and support for switching
    • Policy and industry priorities for implementing energy efficiency measures in the UK, and the future of government and supplier-led schemes
    • Next steps for renewable power integration into retail energy markets, and accelerating supply-side decarbonisation
  • Ensuring electricity networks are fit for a changing market and net-zero ambitions - decarbonisation, whole-system change, and flexibility
  • Priorities and practicalities for reforming energy code systems and governance
  • Optimising the energy system for innovative and disruptive technology - smart energy platforms, connecting clean and distributed assets, and readying the grid for household non-generation technologies
  • Modernising regulation for UK energy markets that support emissions targets and consumer priorities

Key areas for discussion:

  • meeting a range of key policy goals - the optimal policy approach to supporting:
    • business confidence, service innovation, and network modernisation
    • consumer protection and decarbonisation 
  • priorities for code and regulatory reform:
    • delivering modernisation - enabling the grid to integrate low-carbon sources of supply, and to more effectively balance supply and demand
    • consumer benefits - translating flexibility and operational gains to lower customer bills
    • regulatory reform:
      • joint working - fostering increased cooperation between policymakers and industry
      • industry codes - giving administrators powers to resolve supplier issues more quickly
      • bureaucracy - reducing the administrative costs passed to energy users
  • improving consumer services:
    • responding to user behavioural change - developments in tariff design and smart cost-reduction solutions
    • COVID-19 - latest thinking on policy support, establishing stable and resilient business models, and mitigating risks to services for consumers
    • retail market reform - including options for:
      • reducing entry barriers and increasing competitiveness
      • utilising more low-carbon sources of supply, and increasing reliability, cost effectiveness, and decarbonisation
    • household bills - addressing barriers to their reduction, and looking at the future of both supplier responsibilities and driving forward energy efficiency improvements 
  • energy system optimisation:
    • smart energy modernisation - facilitating the introduction of innovative technology, and looking at where development should be focused to maximise benefit for the market, retailers and consumers
    • a smart market platform - further digitising retail, connecting generation assets to the digital grid, and pairing together generators, suppliers, and consumers for trading
    • household and demand-side energy management - including options for:
      • smart meter rollout - including increasing supplier commitments
      • demand-side response - enabling network operators to scale up capabilities
    • distributed energy resources:
      • grid connections - supporting energy storage and generation and non-generation integration, and reducing regulatory burdens
      • small-scale generators - latest thinking on design of attractive export tariffs
      • integration - priorities for implementing systems capable of managing distributed and diverse energy flows

Relevant developments:

  • government policy and overall objectives:
    • working towards a holistic framework for developing the UK energy system up to 2050, with retail energy markets a core part of the transition process
    • commercialising smart energy technology, and the rollout of benefits in increasing household energy management, cost reduction, and decarbonisation
  • the Energy White Paper:
    • the Government’s comprehensive plan for scaling the UK energy system to net-zero emissions, commercialising energy technologies, and creating an affordable and competitive retail market
    • with priorities including support for smart and flexible tariffs, direct and supplier-led energy efficiency improvements, and commitments to hold a range of consultations in 2021, such as:
      • calls for evidence on increasing retail affordability and fairness
      • potential design for automatic tariff switching arrangements for consumers
      • reform to tariff auto-renewal frameworks to help foster competition
      • the gathering of views on how third party players like energy brokers can be regulated more effectively
  • Budget 2021 - with new policy and funding initiatives outlined for the energy sector and the net-zero transition, including an increase on the climate change levy, accelerating the use and scope of green finance, and postponing the update on the carbon floor price to the Autumn Budget
  • further policy initiatives - impacting consumers and energy users directly and aiming to increase energy efficiency rollout and improvements, including:
    • the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution - and its specific objectives for efficiency gains across homes, schools and hospitals
    • the £2bn Green Homes Grant and supplier-led Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) scheme, both delivering energy efficiency improvements in England to vulnerable households
  • the Domestic Gas and Electricity Tariff Cap - continuing into 2021, aimed at savings for typical households on default energy tariffs, as well as encouraging more customers to switch for better deals
  • RIIO-2 Draft Determinations for Transmission, Gas Distribution and Electricity System Operator - final details for the next price control period by Ofgem, in place up to 2026, including:
    • provisions on energy system and network modernisation, as well as green energy projects
    • tougher targets for customer services and quality, with savings from lower network return rates being used to lower consumer bills
    • Decision on Ofgem's RIIO-2 Final Determination and Dividend update - with the National Grid launching an appeal on parts of the RIOO-2 Final Determination, including the cost of equity
  • the Energy network codes review - being conducted by the Government and Ofgem as well the regulator’s Retail Code Consolidation Significant Code Review - both looking to:
    • reform code frameworks, increase simplification for suppliers and market stakeholders, and reduce the number of codes
    • support innovation and enable more flexible decision-making among code administrators
  • Government sets out plans to drive up smart meter installations - for the next four years, starting in 2021, aimed at increasing the ability of UK households to use energy more intelligently
  • Ofgem raises the energy price cap - with customer bills expected to rise by up to £96 as a result, Ofgem attributes this rise to an increase in wholesale energy prices

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentarians from both Houses of Parliament, and officials from BEIS; the Competition and Markets Authority; the Crown Commercial Service; the Department for International Trade; the Department for Transport; the Department for the Economy, NI; the Health and Safety Executive; The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

Press passes have been reserved by representatives from the Bloomberg and Faversham House.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Neil Barnes

Deputy Director, Consumers & Markets, Ofgem

Keynote Speakers

Neil Barnes

Deputy Director, Consumers & Markets, Ofgem

Jon Harley

Executive Director, Gemserv


Lord Oates

Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change

The Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Energy Security


Alex Belsham-Harris

Principal Policy Manager, Energy Retail Markets Policy, Citizens Advice

Ian Cameron

Head of Customer Service and Innovation, UK Power Networks

Joanna Hubbard

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Electron

Sarah Keay-Bright

Practice Manager, Policy & Regulation, Energy Systems Catapult

Rebecca Beresford

Head of Customers Policy and Regulation, EDF Energy

Cyrille Brisson

Vice President, EMEA Region, Eaton

Daniella Weduwer

Policy Manager, Energy UK

Juliet Davenport

Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Good Energy

Iagan MacNeil

Head of Policy, Smart Energy GB

Tamar Bourne

Smart Energy Lead, Regen

Stew Horne

Head of Policy, Energy Saving Trust