Guidance

Independent energy suppliers

Guidance for independent energy suppliers, key documents and events that impact on independent suppliers. Contact details for relevant policy leads.

Introduction

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.

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.

BEIS Ofgem
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:

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 applications@ombudsman-services.org or 01925 430 870

Independent Energy Suppliers: Who do I go to for…..?

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If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email enquiries@beis.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

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.

Forum papers

Key documents

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
July 2017      
Upgrading our energy system: smart systems and flexibility plan Policy paper Know the next steps: We asked for views on what changes the government and Ofgem should make through our Call for Evidence last year. This Plan shows how government and Ofgem are taking action alongside industry to deliver a smarter, more flexible energy system by removing barriers to smart technologies, including storage; enabling smart homes and businesses; and making markets work for flexibility Published 24 July 2017

Key topics

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.

Smart Meters

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.

Midata

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

BEIS

Independent Supplier Lead: Richard Davies

Richard.davies1@beis.gov.uk

Independent Supplier Champion: Steph Hurst

steph.hurst@beis.gov.uk

OfGEM

Independent.Suppliers@ofgem.gov.uk

Published 13 January 2015
Last updated 14 August 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated with link to latest Upgrading energy system consultation
  2. Latest updates of interest to independent energy suppliers
  3. Links to latest smart metering publications and consultations
  4. Updated table.
  5. latest update for independent energy suppliers
  6. Latest updates published
  7. Updated table, plus latest Ofgem / BEIS Forum slidepack
  8. links to 2 consultations
  9. Updated table.
  10. Updated with links to recently published Smart Meters consultation
  11. Links to published consultations added
  12. Updated list of Key documents
  13. Added link to government response to Feed in Tariff consultation
  14. Key document table updated
  15. links to new consultations and docs
  16. Updated table of publications.
  17. New consultations added to key documents list
  18. removal of closed consultation
  19. Ofgem enforcement powers consultation published
  20. details of 2 more organisations added
  21. Updates on Smart Meter consultations
  22. Slight amendment to what this content is for
  23. New publications added
  24. Closed consultation removed
  25. Recently closed consultations removed
  26. Latest updates for independent energy suppliers
  27. New guidance on Insolvency published
  28. Latest consultation and policy paper links added to page
  29. Closed consultation on smart meters removed
  30. Links to recently published consultations added
  31. Update to independent energy suppliers guidance page.
  32. Updated with latest news on new consultations
  33. Documents from most recent Independent Suppliers Forum meeting published
  34. Table updated.
  35. Table updated.
  36. Table updated.
  37. Change to current table.
  38. Table updated.
  39. Table updated.
  40. Table of latest developments updated.
  41. Table updated.
  42. Table updated.
  43. Updated to cover week commencing 23 January 2015.
  44. First published.