Ofgem publish update to Targeted Charging Review proposals

In the meantime, the regulator has released a letter detailing guidelines on residual charging proposals and renewables modelling.

Residual charging proposals

In the ‘minded-to’ consultation, published in November 2018, Ofgem proposed two leading options for reform for residual electricity network charges. The options were; a fixed charge, or an agreed capacity charge. Ofgem indicated that they preferred a fixed residual charge.

Most respondents to the consultation also expressed support for the fixed charge. However, there was some disagreement with the structure of the proposal, predominantly with user segments associated with this pricing option.

Some respondents expressed that the fixed charges should take more account of the diversity of non-domestic users, pointing out that individual bands could contain a wide range of different user sizes. It was also highlighted that Ofgem’s proposed basis for segments could be seen as arbitrary.

In light of this feedback, Ofgem’s refined proposal for non-domestic customer segmentation is that:

  • total allowed residual revenue would first be apportioned between voltage levels, on the basis of net volumes, as set out in the November 2018 minded-to consultation;
  • non-domestic segment boundaries would be set in terms of agreed capacity levels for users at higher voltages where this data is widely available, and net volume levels at Low Voltage (LV). This is in place of segmenting these users on the basis of the line-loss factor classes (as set out in the November minded-to consultation).

Ofgem has identified five national level charging bands for Low Voltage non-domestic users and five each for High Voltage (HV) / Extra High Voltage (EHV) non-domestic users. The banding is the same for HV and EHV customers, but their share of the residual charges is calculated at voltage level resulting in fifteen charges in total.

The refined band thresholds would be applied on a consistent basis across the country. Users would be allocated on a historic basis and updated in line with price controls. Incentives are expected to be reduced in a bid to change behaviour in response to residual changes.

The option for agreed capacity has been left open by Ofgem. The regulator has stated that where more users collect agreed capacity data there could be the opportunity to transition charges to an agreed capacity or more appropriate basis.

The Targeted Charging Review

EIC has a more detailed breakdown of the Targeted Charging Review that can be read here.

Winter energy price cap level to see bills fall

The impact on customers

The new level will see the default price cap fall from £1,254 to £1,179 (over a 6% drop). The pre-payment meter cap will fall from £1,242 to £1,217 per year (around a 2% drop).

Ofgem expect energy bills to fall this winter for around 15 million households. Exact savings for each household will depend on; the cost of their current deal, how much energy they use and whether they use both gas and electricity.

The justification for this decrease has come from a significant fall in wholesale prices between February and June 2019. Healthy market fundamentals, record gas storage stocks, and periods of low demand across the last winter all contributed to this.

Households are able to cut their bills further by comparing tariffs to find the cheapest that will suit them.

The price cap moving forwards

Ofgem plans to update the level of the cap in April and October every year in order to account for the latest costs of supplying electricity and gas.

The price cap is a temporary measure, to be in place until 2023 at the latest. This allows Ofgem time to implement further reforms to make the energy market more competitive, enabling it to work more effectively for all consumers.

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Domestic energy price cap proposal announced by Ofgem

The proposal follows the passing of the Government’s Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Act, which became law on 19 July. This legislation was passed by Parliament to provide a temporary price cap for domestic customers on Standard Variable Tariffs (SVTs) and default tariffs, assigning Ofgem with the duty to ensure a fair price.

Ofgem has currently opened a statutory consultation on the announcements, allowing suppliers and stakeholders to comment on the proposals before 6 October. The regulator is working towards having the cap in place by the end of 2018.

 

The impact on customers

The introduction of the price cap will see a requirement for suppliers to cut their prices to the level of, or below, the cap. This is proposed to be £1,136 per year for a typical dual fuel customer paying by direct debit and £1,219 per year for a customer paying by standard credit.

Exact savings for each household will be dependent on the cost of their current deal, how much energy they use, and whether they use both gas and electricity. On average it’s been estimated that the typical customer, on a dual fuel deal of gas and electricity, will save around £75 a year. Ofgem believes the price cap would save consumers a total of around £1 billion.

 

The price cap moving forwards

Ofgem plan to update the level of the cap in April and October every year in order to account for the latest costs of supplying gas and electricity.

The price cap is a temporary measure, to be in place until 2023 at the latest. This is designed to allow Ofgem time to implement further reforms to make the energy market more competitive, enabling it to work more effectively for all consumers.

 

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Our Market Intelligence team keep a close eye on the energy markets and industry updates. Visit our website to find out more about EIC Market Intelligence.

Capacity Market under review

The overall objectives of this review are to assess whether:

  • the CM is needed in future;
  • the CM currently meets its objectives of ensuring security of supply, cost effectiveness, and avoiding unintended consequences;
  • these objectives remain appropriate; and
  • they can be achieved in the future in a way that imposes less regulation.

 

The call for evidence

Both the CM and EPS were introduced five years ago as part of the Energy Act 2013. The announced ‘call for evidence’ is the first step in the review process.

The Government believes both the Capacity Market and the Emissions Performance Standard are working broadly as intended. The initial document states they “do not foresee the need for fundamental change.” However, this review will allow feedback to help them understand more about stakeholder issues and whether there are any changes to be considered. With this in mind, the Government has already indicated that there are some desirable changes that could improve the CM to ensure it continues to meet its objectives in the future.

Based on stakeholder feedback, two initial priority issues have been noted for the Capacity Market review:

  1. There needs to be consideration as to whether, and how, to enable participation by subsidy-free renewables in the CM.
  2. Following the latest round of CM auctions there has been feedback in relation to interconnectors. It’s been suggested that the contribution to security of supply made by interconnectors added to the system in future will face diminishing returns, as they are reliant on the same limited pool of spare capacity in the interconnected countries. The Government will consider whether changes to the methodology are required to ensure future interconnectors are not over-compensated relative to their real contribution.

 

Ofgem review

In addition to the Government review, energy regulator Ofgem will carry out a separate review on the Capacity Market to support the process. Ofgem will be announcing the details concerning the content and arrangements of their review at a later date. However, it can be assumed that it will seek to address very similar themes.

 

The Emissions Performance Standard

The objective of the EPS is to ensure that new fossil-fuel-fired electricity generation helps improve security of supply but still contributes to the UK’s decarbonisation objectives. The mechanism is a limit on the carbon dioxide emissions produced by new fossil-fuel generation plants. The Government is seeking stakeholder views on the effectiveness of the EPS. The five-year review of the EPS will answer similar high-level questions to the CM Review.

 

What to look out for

The call for evidence will be open between 8 August and 1 October 2018. A summary of the responses will be published later this year. The outcomes of these reviews will then be reported to Parliament in summer 2019.

 

Impact on consumers

The Capacity Market’s annual auctions define both how much capacity has been bought and at what price. The overall costs for both the capacity bought and the administration of the scheme are passed on to consumer bills, with the cost of capacity being the largest element.

EIC supports security of supply and any move to maintain a fairly structured scheme that keeps price impact to customers at a minimum. We can help you prepare for and control the impact of all your non-commodity costs, including Capacity Market Charges, with the help of our Long-Term Price Forecast Report.

With this report, you can access year-on-year price projections for the next five years. The report calculates future energy prices which include the ever-increasing green subsidies, network costs, and taxes.