Independent energy suppliers
- Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Ofgem
- Part of:
- Household energy, Energy industry and infrastructure licensing and regulation, and UK energy security
- 13 January 2015
- Last updated:
- 7 March 2017, see all updates
Guidance for independent energy suppliers, key documents and events that impact on independent suppliers. Contact details for relevant policy leads.
This page has been developed to ensure independent suppliers can be updated on and provide input to policy initiatives at crucial points in the policy development process. It includes links to key documents and events that impact on independent suppliers and contact details for relevant policy leads.
Message from Permanent Secretary Alex Chisholm, August 2016
One of the most welcome developments in the GB retail energy market in recent years has been the increase in the number and variety of energy suppliers. Companies have entered the market in unprecedented numbers, driving innovation, creating more choice for consumers and providing a strong competitive challenge to the larger established suppliers. I am determined to continue the Department’s work to ensure a dynamic competitive market – a market where all suppliers from the largest companies to small new entrants compete on a level playing field to create better offers for consumers.
I have joined the Department at a time of great change in the energy markets. There are many opportunities and challenges in making sure consumers and businesses have secure, affordable and clean energy now and in the future. Many of these are collective challenges, so working effectively with suppliers both large and small is vital. I am always open to fresh perspectives and welcome suggestions and feedback on the Department’s engagement.
I hope to be able to attend the next meeting of the BEIS / Ofgem Independent Supplier Forum where I hope to meet many of you to discuss these issues further.
Alex Chisholm, Permanent Secretary
Roles of BEIS and OfGEM
The following sets out the roles of Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ofgem in relation to setting and implementing energy policy.
|sets strategic energy framework and policy||economic regulator of gas and electricity markets in Great Britain|
|develops legislation to deliver policy aims||protects the interests of consumers|
|develops legislation to set objectives and duties of the regulator||powers to take action under competition law|
|appoints members of the regulator||influences European energy policy for the benefit of GB consumers|
|decides upon licence exemptions||administers gas and electricity licences to energy businesses|
|manages industry codes which contain the detailed rules governing market operation|
For more information on engaging with Ofgem please see their webpage for independent suppliers
Other regulatory bodies
Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) - powers to take action under competition law.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - powers to investigate aspects of the energy market.
Supporting energy domestic and micro business consumers
Domestic and non domestic suppliers must establish relationships with the following organisations:
Citizens Advice Service
The Citizens Advice Service is the statutory watchdog for energy domestic and micro business energy consumers. It operates:
The Extra Help Unit, which exists to assist vulnerable consumers with energy and postal complaints and has duties under the CEAR Act to investigate complaints where the customer is disconnected or threatened with disconnection. It also has powers to request information from energy suppliers to investigate complex complaints. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 458 2245
The Data Unit, which is responsible for publishing the Supplier Performance League Table. Suppliers are required to provide direct complaint returns and details of new tariffs. The Unit can also provide suppliers with weekly or monthly reports on contacts made to the Consumer Service or Extra Help Unit. Contact them at email@example.com
Ombudsman Services Energy
Ombudsman Services Energy is the independent ombudsman scheme for domestic and micro business consumers. All active suppliers of domestic and micro business consumers must be a member of the scheme. OSE can deal with complaints that are over 8 weeks old or where the consumer has a deadlock letter.
Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01925 430 870
PDF, 236KB, 3 pages
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BEIS/Ofgem independent suppliers forum
BEIS and Ofgem host regular forums for independent suppliers to provide updates on key policy and regulatory issues. The forums also provide an opportunity for independent suppliers to raise concerns and issues with BEIS and Ofgem.
BEIS / Ofgem Independent Suppliers Forum: 16 February 2017 - Note of Meeting (PDF, 384KB, 9 pages)
BEIS / Ofgem Independent Suppliers Forum: 16 February 2017 - Policy update (PDF, 76.3KB, 3 pages)
BEIS / Ofgem Independent Suppliers Forum: 16 February 2017 – Presentations (PDF, 4.03MB, 104 pages)
The following table summarises key documents affecting independent energy suppliers, which have recently been published by BEIS. These include consultations for your attention to respond to, as well as policy papers and guidance on particular issues. Direct links to each publication are provided, explanations of why they are relevant, and any deadlines.
|Topic||Document Type||Why is it relevant?||Date|
|Energy supply company insolvency||Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)||Know the latest: The MoU sets out how the Government and Ofgem would work together to make sure households continue to receive an uninterrupted supply of energy in the unlikely event of a large energy supplier going into administration||Published 9 February 2017|
|Contracts for Difference Supplier Obligation: Improving efficiency & transparency||Consultation outcome||Know the latest: In September 2015 the government issued a consultation proposing a series of technical amendments to the CFD supplier obligation with the aim of reducing costs to consumers through improving efficiency and transparency. This is the government response to that consultation||Published 2 February 2017|
|Building our Industrial Strategy||Open consultation||Have your say: the government wants to build an industrial strategy that addresses long-term challenges to the UK economy. The aim is to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country.
This green paper sets out the government’s approach and some early actions they have committed to take. The Government wants to hear from every part of the country, every sector of industry and businesses of every size – and from the people who work in them and use them.
|Published 23 January, closes 17 April 2017|
We have highlighted key policy areas that have an implication for independent energy suppliers, which you need to be aware of. For each policy area, a link is provided to more detailed information.
Electricity Market Reform (EMR)
EMR aims to stimulate the UK economy, introducing two key mechanisms to provide incentives for the investment required in our energy infrastructure – Contracts for Difference, and the Capacity Market.
Energy suppliers are required to install smart meters – the new generation of gas and electricity meters – in all homes and small businesses by 2020. The main installation stage is due to start in late 2015.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
ECO is an energy efficiency programme introduced in early 2013 which runs until March 2017. Under the rules of ECO, energy suppliers that have more than 250,000 domestic customers, and provide more than 400 gigawatt hours of electricity or more than 2,000 gigawatt hours of gas to these customers, are obliged to help improve the energy efficiency of their domestic customers’ buildings, with a particular focus on vulnerable consumers and hard to treat homes.
Renewable Obligation (RO)
The RO places an obligation on UK electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of their electricity supplied from renewable sources. Suppliers must use RO certificates (ROCs), traded with accredited renewable generators, to demonstrate they have met their obligation.
Feed-in Tariffs (FITs)
FITs were introduced in April 2010 to encourage deployment of small scale low carbon electricity generation. An electricity supplier who is a FIT licensee is responsible for providing FIT services to consumers, including making FIT payments.
Electricity suppliers with more than 250,000 domestic customers on 31 December the year preceding the FIT year are obligated to be a Mandatory FIT licensee. Those suppliers with fewer customers can opt to be a Voluntary FIT licensee.
All licensed electricity suppliers (regardless of FIT participation status) are required to make payments to the Levelisation Fund, based on their market share and any FIT payments made.
Ofgem administers the FITS scheme and the following link gives information to both consumers and to suppliers about the scheme.
Warm Homes Discount (WHD)
A 4 year programme introduced in April 2011, administered by energy suppliers to provide rebates on electricity bills of households that need it most. An electricity supplier is currently obligated to be part of the WHD scheme if it had over 250,000 domestic customers on 31 December preceding that scheme year.
The midata project works with businesses to give consumers better access to the electronic personal data that companies hold about them. It also aims to give consumers greater control of their data. To begin with, Government has been seeking voluntary involvement from 3 major sectors – energy companies being one of these.
Who to contact
Independent Supplier Lead: Richard Davies
Independent Supplier Champion: Steph Hurst
Published: 13 January 2015
Updated: 7 March 2017
- Latest updates of interest to independent energy suppliers
- Links to latest smart metering publications and consultations
- Updated table.
- latest update for independent energy suppliers
- Latest updates published
- Updated table, plus latest Ofgem / BEIS Forum slidepack
- links to 2 consultations
- Updated table.
- Updated with links to recently published Smart Meters consultation
- Links to published consultations added
- Updated list of Key documents
- Added link to government response to Feed in Tariff consultation
- Key document table updated
- links to new consultations and docs
- Updated table of publications.
- New consultations added to key documents list
- removal of closed consultation
- Ofgem enforcement powers consultation published
- details of 2 more organisations added
- Updates on Smart Meter consultations
- Slight amendment to what this content is for
- New publications added
- Closed consultation removed
- Recently closed consultations removed
- Latest updates for independent energy suppliers
- New guidance on Insolvency published
- Latest consultation and policy paper links added to page
- Closed consultation on smart meters removed
- Links to recently published consultations added
- Update to independent energy suppliers guidance page.
- Updated with latest news on new consultations
- Documents from most recent Independent Suppliers Forum meeting published
- Table updated.
- Table updated.
- Table updated.
- Change to current table.
- Table updated.
- Table updated.
- Table of latest developments updated.
- Table updated.
- Table updated.
- Updated to cover week commencing 23 January 2015.
- First published.