Energy UK today launched our vision of how the industry can deliver the future of energy with consumers firmly rooted in its centre.
Energy is essential for today’s modern life. It provides heat and light for our homes, it powers our businesses, it connects and transports us, and it helps provide our everyday needs. It is also essential to jobs and the UK economy.
But while most people go about their day-to-day lives paying little attention to the power at their fingertips, there is a major and rapid transformation underway.
The way we consume, generate and transmit power is changing rapidly - as shown by solar providing record levels of power over this bank holiday weekend and the UK recently going three days without any coal generation.
Investment in low carbon and backup generation, nascent technologies coming forward and innovation across the sector is allowing us to reduce our emissions while delivering the transition at lowest cost to consumers.
At the same time increasing competition is driving significant changes in the retail energy market.
Customers now have the choice of over 67 suppliers who are offering a wide variety of innovative products. More and more people are taking this opportunity to switch supplier with 5.5 million people switching in 2017 – that’s around one in every six households last year.
We are also digitalising significant parts of the market. For example, consider if you had to provide your mobile phone provider a monthly update on the number of minutes you had used so they could bill you correctly. This has been the energy system of the past - with analogue meters that required customer meter readings, but this is changing with the smart meter roll out.
But what of the future? What will the system look like in 2028, twenty years on from the Climate Change Act which celebrates its ten-year anniversary this autumn.
There are some big questions that need answering such as: How are we going to continue to attract investment in generation assets to ensure we have the right mix of affordability, low carbon and security of supply? How are we going to ensure that we are delivering the wants and needs of our customers in a changing market place where technology will have a more and more important role to play? How are we going to ensure that the roll out of low carbon transport, particularly electric vehicles, is a success and contributes to a dynamic and flexible energy market? Finally, how are we going to address one of the biggest challenges we face: the decarbonisation of heat?
Energy UK and our members over the course of this year are going to be leading the charge to work with many partners and organisations to identify options for how we deliver a truly consumer-centric energy system.
Today we will be setting out our vision – of a low carbon energy system that customers see as fair and which delivers excellent service, choice and value for money to all UK’s homes and businesses – and our commitments on how we will deliver this.
We will be working with a broad range of stakeholders over the course of the year and will be publishing a series of thought pieces. If you would like to be involved please get in touch and do read our vision document with more information.