Westminster Business Forum

The future regulatory framework for essential services - infrastructure investment, innovation and value for consumers

Morning, Tuesday, 12th November 2019

Central London

THIS EVENT IS CPD CERTIFIED



This seminar is timed to follow the publication - due in October - of the NIC review on regulated industries and will bring together key policymakers and stakeholders to examine the recommendations made - including their likely impact on competition and innovation in the regulated sectors.


The recommendations will affect a range of essential services sectors - particularly in the telecoms, water and energy markets - as well as their partners, suppliers and customers.


Delegates will discuss the next steps for reform at a time when the Government will be considering its formal response.


The agenda and keynote speakers


  • The findings and recommendations of the NIC’s Regulation Study - with Sarah Hayes, Senior Regulatory Advisor, National Infrastructure Commission
  • New entrants to the energy market and Ofgem’s new requirements - with Mary Starks, Executive Director, Consumers and Markets, Ofgem
  • Measuring the performance of regulators in balancing the needs of providers and protecting vulnerable consumers - with Rich Sullivan-Jones, Audit Manager, Regulation, Consumers and Competition, National Audit Office
  • Energy prepayment price cap review and the changing role of the CMA - with Gavin Knott, Director, Remedies, Business and Financial Analysis, CMA

Panel sessions to include


  • Regulatory systems that deliver greater innovation, investment in infrastructure and value for consumers - with Dr Xeni Dassiou, Reader, Economics and Director, Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy, City, University of London; Piers Thompson, Director, Policy and Research, Global Infrastructure Investor Association; Morgan Wild, Policy Lead, Consumer and Public Services, Citizens Advice Regulator; and David Rodman, Executive Director, Regulatory and Public Affairs, Virgin Media
  • The future shape of utilities regulation, digitalisation and the treatment of data - with Chris Pickard, Senior Consultant, Economic Insight; Harry Armstrong, Head, Technology Futures, Nesta; Chris Harris, Head of Regulation, NPower; and Clive Carter, Director of Strategy, Ofcom

As the government confirms it will consult on giving the CMA new powers to decide for itself whether consumer law has been broken and more powers to intervene earlier, delegates will hear about their changing role and the impact it may have on essential services providers.


With a rush of new entrants seeking to break the dominance of the big six energy firms but with resultant failures of many smaller suppliers, delegates will consider whether Ofgem’s new more stringent tests for smaller energy companies go far enough to protect customers from poor customer service and unsustainable pricing or should more checks be introduced on those suppliers already in the market, ensuring they remain fit for purpose.


With the utilities industries facing increasing challenges in infrastructure including the need to shift to a secure, low carbon energy system, deliver cutting-edge 5G and fibre-to-the-premises broadband - including connectivity for rural communities - and addressing long term resilience in the water sector, this seminar will provide an opportunity to discuss how regulators, government and utilities companies need to adapt in light of these challenges and foster innovation within industry.


Delegates will also consider the impact any proposed regulatory reform may have on the attractiveness of UK energy, telecoms or water markets for private investors as well as how the regulatory system can better incentivise long-term investment in key infrastructure improvements.


With a recent Citizens Advice report finding regulators over-estimated the cost of borrowing and investment resulting in customers being overcharged by £24.1bn, we expect discussion on possible redress for consumers and the practicalities involved. 


Following the recent NAO report on Regulating to protect consumers in utilities, communications and financial services markets, delegates will discuss the significant difficulties facing consumers from rising bills to the impact of services failure. There will be discussion around the duty of regulators and utilities companies towards consumers and how the regulators measure and report transparently their intentions in meeting their duties towards consumers.


With the Government’s recent announcement of a new independent consumer advocate for telecoms consumers, there will be an opportunity to discuss how this body will fit into the existing regulatory landscape and priorities for its role in protecting broadband and mobile customers from unfair practices.


Following the extension of the energy price cap earlier this year and with Ofwat’s 2019 pricing review expected to call for lower costs, attendees will also assess the impact of price controls in regulated markets, including the impact the energy cap has had on switching.


As the smart meter programme is providing energy companies with more accessible data there will also be a focus on how companies treat data and what more can be done to better use data to boost innovation and diversification, whilst not compromising personal data.


Those attending will examine the options for the future shape of the regulatory models - including the potential for a new single ‘super-regulator’ for essential services in order to deliver greater collaboration in areas such as data sharing, addressing cross-cutting policy issues and major infrastructure projects - and respective implications for the roles of Ofcom, Ofwat and Ofgem. 



Keynote Speakers

Sarah Hayes

Senior Regulatory Advisor, National Infrastructure Commission

Mary Starks

Executive Director, Consumers and Markets, Ofgem

Keynote Speakers

Mary Starks

Executive Director, Consumers and Markets, Ofgem

Gavin Knott

Director, Remedies, Business and Financial Analysis, CMA

Sarah Hayes

Senior Regulatory Advisor, National Infrastructure Commission

Chair

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering

Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Water Group

Speakers

Dr Xeni Dassiou

Reader, Economics and Director, Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy, City, University of London

Piers Thompson

Director, Policy and Research, Global Infrastructure Investor Association

Chris Harris

Head of Regulation, NPower

Rich Sullivan-Jones

Audit Manager, Regulation, Consumers and Competition, National Audit Office

Harry Armstrong

Head, Technology Futures, Nesta

Audrey Gallacher

Director of Policy, Energy UK

Morgan Wild

Policy Lead, Consumer and Public Services, Citizens Advice

John Russell

Senior Director, Strategy and Planning, Ofwat

David Rodman

Executive Director, Regulatory and Public Affairs, Virgin Media

Noel Beale

Director, Competition - Regulation, Burges Salmon

Clive Carter

Director of Strategy, Ofcom

Chris Pickard

Senior Consultant, Economic Insight