A very insightful piece here in the Belfast Telegraph shows how even in small population areas like Northern Ireland – all of 1.8 million – increasing competition is seen as possible and the key to keeping consumer bills under control. So you might say, why can’t OFGEM deliver more of it in Britain, the other 60 million?
Actually, I don’t blame OFGEM very much. In the circumstances there’s just not that much that they can do. They are at the mercy of the vast over and misdirected investment programme driven by carbon-reducing and renewables-enhancing legislation stipulated by our well-meaning politicians. But sometimes, I do think that OFGEM has lost its key raison d’etre – to put the consumer first – rather than to regulate the status quo of the utilities and every few years announce a new competition inquiry to stave off public opprobrium.
- making it easier to switch providers
- making it easier for small players to enter the market
- designing a deeper more liquid market along Scandinavian lines
- radical market reforms 2.0
Even so, Power NI have just announced an eye-watering 18.6% increase for homes and businesses and the Republic’s Airtricity is moving in. A small victory then, in a small corner of the UK, in what will be a long war.