The arrival of the National Infrastructure Commission’s report on the regulation of utilities has been eagerly awaited and will be pored over by the sector. So far there have been no responses from the ultimate targets of this study – the utility companies themselves. On the surface, I would expect some fairly vanilla comments on how they are considering the recommendations carefully and will respond in due course. But, privately many will be fuming. While the report is billed as a review of regulation, it confines itself to an examination of the economic regulators. There is little within its pages concerning the Environment Agency or the Drinking Water Inspectorate, for example. It is also predominantly an English review. While it does make reference to devolved powers, this is fairly fleeting and does not delve far into the details of how its proposals would impact on the different models in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It seems that the key task of this review is to reassure the public that regulators are keeping the major utility companies in England under check. Hence moves to beef up the price control regime and tough words on executive pay.
Utility Week 11th Oct 2019 read more »