Open consultation

Renewables Obligation (RO): addressing electricity supplier payment default under the RO scheme

Applies to England and Wales

Summary

We're seeking views on the options for addressing electricity supplier payment default under the Renewables Obligation (RO) support scheme in England and Wales.

This consultation closes at

Consultation description

The Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme in England and Wales supports the generation of renewable electricity. It operates as a market-based mechanism through a system of tradable green certificates called Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). ROCs are issued to generators free of charge by the scheme administrator, Ofgem, in relation to the amount of renewable electricity they generate. Generators sell the ROCs to suppliers or traders, which gives generators a premium in addition to the wholesale price of their electricity. Electricity suppliers are under an obligation to obtain and present a certain number of ROCs to Ofgem, or instead make a fixed payment into a cash payment fund in lieu of each ROC. Cash payments are recycled back to suppliers who met their obligation with ROCs, so giving ROCs additional value. The cost of the RO to suppliers is passed on to consumers through their electricity bills.

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of electricity suppliers exiting the retail market and defaulting on their obligation under the RO. Defaults manifest as shortfalls in the cash payment fund. The scheme features a mutualisation mechanism which seeks to recover unpaid bills from other electricity suppliers once they exceed a threshold. Government recently increased the level of the mutualisation threshold in England and Wales to make it harder for mutualisation to be triggered, but this did not address the underlying causes of payment default.

This consultation, which has been prepared jointly with Ofgem, focuses on supplier payment default under the RO. It seeks views on:

  • the main options available for addressing it, through both legislation and the electricity supply licence. It qualitatively assesses the likely impacts of each
  • the introduction of a fixed price certificate based scheme as a way of addressing supplier payment default

See the BEIS consultation privacy notice.

Please do not send responses by post to the department at the moment as we may not be able to access them.

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Email to:

RO@beis.gov.uk

Published 10 August 2021