UK energy regulator Ofgem has released its latest set of guidelines to drive greater competitiveness in the energy sector.
Following a review of the electricity connections market, Ofgem concluded that competition is developing too slowly.
It has outlined steps that local energy distribution companies must take within the next six months that will effectively “level the playing field” and allow customers who are not yet connected to the grid such as new housing developments to determine points of connection.
Energy distribution companies will have to commit to an enforceable Code of Practice, which aims to ensure a high standard performance in all areas of the connections market.
Changing role of network company
This follows Ofgem’s review findings that while progress has been made over the past five years to increase competition, the network company remains the sole provider for a number of key parts of the connections process.
The differences in how these services are provided across GB is another barrier identified.
Electricity distribution network companies are expected to confirm their commitment to the code by February 18, 2015.
Full responses to Ofgem’s consultation are requested by March 18, 2015.
The distribution network operators will then be responsible for developing the Code of Practice, which must be submitted to Ofgem no later than June 1, 2015.
Maxine Frerk, Ofgem’s senior partner, distribution, said: “We are requiring electricity network companies to work quickly to resolve the issues identified in the connections market, to reduce the hassle of getting connected to the grid and help lower costs for customers.
“We are determined to ensure this part of the energy market works in customers’ interest and will use the full range of our powers to do so.”
Probe into anti-competitiveness
In the course of the review, Ofgem said it found evidence of a possible breach of competition law by energy provider SSE.
The regulator is now investigating whether SSE put its competitors at a disadvantage in the electricity connections market.