May 2014

Energy Law Committee

The newly formed Energy Law Committee has had a busy month and has submitted three consultation responses.

Transposition of Article 14(5)-(8) of the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) in Scotland

The EED updates the EU's legal framework for energy efficiency, pursuing the target of saving 20% of the EU's primary energy consumption by 2020, and of making further energy efficiency improvements after 2020. The consultation considers proposals for the transposition of Article 14(5)-(8) via the amendment of the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2012. The committee is generally supportive of the proposals and that it is appropriate to include the transposition of Articles 14(5)-(8) within an existing and well established regulatory framework. The committee does have a concern relating to district heating and cooling networks, which may not be directly regulated by the PPC regulations but which will be affected by Article 14(5)(d). The committee suggests guidance should be provided by regulatory bodies to parties seeking to develop any such networks.

A consultation on proposals to amend domestic energy supply licence conditions - requiring provision of key energy data in a machine readable format

Along with the Privacy Law Committee, the committee is generally supportive of the policy intent and objectives behind the proposals which is to help and encourage consumers to access and identify more competitive energy tariffs by providing their personal energy tariff data in an accessible, portable and user friendly format. Their main concern however is around the proposal to make the data available via a QR Code (Quick Read) for access by consumers with the reading technology downloaded to their smartphones. While the consultation stated that 51% of UK adults own such a device, the committee is concerned that that immediately excludes 49% of adults who do not own a smart phone, and would therefore not have easy access to the data and may not be able to take advantage of the benefits.  Another objective of the proposal is to help consumers identify the most affordable energy tariff. The committee believes that those needing help the most are the elderly, those with vulnerable characteristics and those on low and limited means. These 'vulnerable consumer groups' are those most unlikely to own a smart phone, tablet computer or have any other means to access the technology required to read the data contained within the QR Code.

Electricity Market Reform (EMR): Contracts for Difference regulations

EMR will create a new mechanism to provide long-term revenue stabilisation to incentivise investment in low-carbon generation - Contracts for Difference (CfDs). CfDs will help to ensure that low-carbon and reliable electricity generation is an attractive investment opportunity. The consultation considers proposed regulations that will cover the process by which the Secretary of State can direct the CfD Counterparty to offer a CfD. The committee is generally supportive of and agrees with the processes outlined in the consultation.

All three responses can be found here.