Labour’s energy demands (or they should be)

If I was in charge of Labour’s set of energy demands apparently to be issued this week, these are the 13 things I’d go for in short, mid and longer term. ps. I should be in charge of Labour’s energy demands.

Labour demand list

Immediate (0–2 months)

1/ Require Ofgem to keep current price cap in place (done)

2/ Require Ofgem to regulate suppliers so as to ‘poverty premium’ paid by prepayment meter users (done) pending 3/

3/ Require via Ofgem removal all prepayment meters and new offer of payment in arrears to all ‘vulnerable’ consumers within 2 months, in line with recommendations of House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee 3rd report (July 2022)

4/ In concert with 3/ emergency legislation coming into force within 2 months such that consumer credit scoring agencies must exclude energy (non) payments from scoring, to enhance take up of consumers shifting away from prepayment (see 3/)

Mid-term (3–5)

5/ Move towards public ownership of supplier firms that are unable to survive squeeze between price cap and wholesale prices, but ensure that they do not enter single ownership so as to avoid risk of wholesale prices rising further as big gas/oil firms seek to exploit public firm’s ‘must buy’ role

6/ Rapid review of wholesale auction process to remove most deleterious effects of marginal pricing i.e. the tying of all wholesale prices, passed on to retail firms, to gas as most expensive product needed to meet capacity

7/ Urgent collaboration with other key states on taking of ‘golden shares’ in big oil/gas producer, so that their strategic direction and wholesale pricing become matter of public policy.

8/ Commence rapid review of Contract for Difference system established under Energy Act 2013, with view to ending discrimination against green producers, who currently reimburse government when their income rises above initial ‘strike price’, while more expensive gas/oil suppliers do not

9/ Commence review of Contracts for Difference entry requirements so that smaller and community-owned green producers can enter revised market (see 8/)

10/ Urgent, short review of Capacity Markets T-4 and T-1 auction process, in light of geopolitical situation, with view to opening up auction (for supply and savings) to smaller industry units.

Longer term (6–9 months)

11/ Overall review of grid infrastructure to facilitate decentralized ownership and resilience in context of evolving battery technology for enhanced local storage etc.

12/ Launch of public inquiry into whether government failed to meet legal duty to report five year review of Energy Act 2013 in 2019, as required under the Act, and only in May 2022 but based on 2018/9 information

13/ Accountability report on why the coalition government failed to provide a Strategy & Policy statement in parliament as it was empowered to do under the energy Act 2013, especially in respect of strategy for price cap process (possibly part of 12/)

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Paul Cotterill

Secretary General, Habermasian Labour (UK). Indefatigably focused on the promotion of ethical discourse in the public sphere, except when there's cricket.