Commission seeks views on future improvements to regulating essential services

Published: 18 Feb 2019

By: NIC

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The National Infrastructure Commission today launched a call for evidence on what future changes may be required to ensure regulation of the energy, telecoms and water industries both supports investment and innovation while at the same time keeping costs down for consumers.

Chairman Sir John Armitt said the Commission wants to hear how the current system of regulation is working, and how it could be improved, “to deliver both good quality services and world-class infrastructure.”

The regulation study is expected to examine the future changes that may affect the regulated sectors; whether the current regulatory model encourages sufficient competition and innovation; whether there is regulatory consistency between the sectors, and the relationship between regulators and the Government.

Today’s call for evidence forms part of this latest study, announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

It asks questions including:

  • Whether fundamental change to the current model is required;
  • Whether consumer interests could be better represented in the future and how;
  • How regulators can act in future to win and maintain consumer trust in the sectors;
  • What impact competition has had on investment in the sectors;
  • Whether regulation has been slow to adapt to changing market circumstances, and if so, where; and
  • Whether greater levels of transparency and accountability could be achieved and how

Chancellor Philip Hammond said:

“Our regulators play a key role in ensuring the framework underpinning our vital telecoms, energy and water services remains agile and innovative, delivering for consumers and giving the UK a competitive edge.

“Technological change is having a transformative effect across the economy and regulators must be able to respond to keep the UK at the forefront of these advances.

“That’s why I’ve asked the National Infrastructure Commission to look at how our regulators can prepare for and adapt to this change. Their findings will be key in helping ensure we rise to these challenges and remain fit for the future.”

Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said:

“From turning on a TV to turning on a tap, all of us rely on our energy, telecoms and water industries for basic everyday activities.

“Regulators are therefore a vital part of ensuring we are treated fairly by these essential service providers, and that vulnerable customers get the support they need.  But their work should also encourage investment and innovation which will benefit households and businesses alike for the long term.

“Whether it’s companies or regulators, consumers or investors, we want to hear how the current system of regulation is working, and what a future framework may look like to deliver both good quality services, and world-class infrastructure.”

 Notes to Editors:

The Regulation Study call for evidence is available here.  The deadline for responses is Friday 12 April.

The Regulation Study has been announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.  Details can be found here 

Terms of reference for the new Regulation Study can be found here.

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