Decc will ‘completely resist’ attempts to cede Ofgem’s powers to Europe

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom says Decc will resist any attempts to take Ofgem's powers
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom says Decc will resist any attempts to take Ofgem’s powers

The department of energy and climate change will “completely resist” any attempts by Brussels to override national energy regulation.

Energy minister Andrea Leadsom said today that Ofgem would not become subservient to the European energy regulators.

The minister was speaking to the Lords EU Energy and Environment sub-committee.

The Commission has suggested that the powers of European regulator Acer will be enhanced. Lord Curry stated that could pose a problem for individual member states.

“Will Ofgem be subservient and surrender powers to the European regulator?” he asked Leadsom. “This is a huge issue.”

Leadsom said that while Decc was “open to considering an enhancement of Acer’s role”, the department would “completely resist any attempt to undermine the role of national regulators”.

She said it was “essential that any increase in Acer’s role is approved by Acer’s board to ensure doesn’t end up in scope creep”. Acer’s board is made up by representatives of each member state.

“We don’t want duplication,” said Leadsom. “We want a deregulatory facilitative process.”

She said it may be more efficient for Acer to handle elements such as EU network codes and other cross boarder issues. But the minister agreed with Lord Curry that centralised European regulation “tends to increase the burden” by “rising towards the highest level [of regulation].” Curry added that “there is the risk of significant increased bureaucracy and burden to UK energy generators.”

Leadsom said she “shared that suspicion” but insisted “any enhancement of Acer’s role must be to reduce rather than increase [duplication]. We are absolutely aware of that [danger] and are keen to ensure we do not allow inadvertent additional regulation”.

Watch the session here.

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