Utility Week Live: Call for multi-utility regulator

The creation of a multi-utility regulator and network regime would help improve collaboration across sectors, lower costs and simplify the industry for consumers. That's the view of Laura Sandys, CEO of Challenging Ideas, who spoke at this week's Utility Week Live during a discussion on the next round of RIIO price controls.

Utility Week Live: Call for multi-utility regulator

The former Tory MP said the current regulatory arrangements must be radically overhauled to accommodate the emergence of bundled utilities.

Speaking at Utility Week Live, Sandys (pictured) explained that her “great desire” is to end up with “one consumer regulator for all essential services” as well as “one multi-utility network regime”.

This would encourage the cross-vector optimisation of existing infrastructure – “the brain” – and lower the cost of procuring new assets – “the brawn”.

“When you start to look at the consumer side you’re going to get quite a lot more bundled products anyway,” she remarked.

“They’ll be very complex products. Firstly, they’ll be bundled, but secondly, they might be underpinned by financial services.

“They might also be invisible because I think we’re going to see more and more energy becoming a B2B product rather than consumer product.”

Sandys continued: “I don’t want as a consumer to have go to the financial services authority, to Ofgem, to Ofcom, to Ofwat, to Of-whoever. I want to be able to go to one regulator who understands that complexity and will do the unpicking.

“I also want one ombudsman as well because, to be frank, I think we’ve got a proliferation of redress bodies and none of them are totally fit for purpose.”


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