Eon has called for energy efficiency to be placed at the heart of UK energy policy.
The utility this week also pleaded with policymakers not to intervene in competitive markets, ahead of a proposed push to end some customers on expensive standard variable tariffs (SVTs) subsidising cheaper fixed-rate deals.
Meanwhile, it urged government to go harder on smart meters. It wants all households to have one, exempting just those where it is technically unviable. Currently, anyone can refuse to have a smart meter if they do not want one.
Interestingly, the big six supplier also asked for government to create a ‘level playing field’ for decentralised generation, including demand-side response and energy storage.
Eon also called for energy efficiency tax breaks for businesses to encourage them to act upon energy audits. The current government scheme for companies above a certain size, Esos, has been criticised for lacking any enforcement powers. The utility believes that a carrot approach may be more productive than stick.
“We need a coherent set of energy policies and an adherence to guiding principles that will deliver the best outcomes for customers,” said Eon chief executive Michael Lewis.
Eon’s wish list coincided with the launch of political party manifestos, all of which outlined some degree of market intervention. Market discussion of the Conservative manifesto has focused on ambiguity around a proposed price cap, and whether it may be watered down to protect only the most vulnerable and least well off. Shares prices of the big six suppliers all ticked up following the manifesto’s publication.
The Conservative manifesto also nodded towards energy efficiency, but stopped well short of placing it at the heart of policy. Large firms will be given some incentive or subsidy to become more energy efficient, and the smallest firms may have prices capped. But there was no mention of any new measures for small and medium sized firms which, according to the FSB, account for 47% of all private sector turnover in the UK, some £1.8tn in 2016.
See Eon’s manifesto here.
Correction: This article originally referred to Eon as a vertically integrated firm, which is has not been since last year, when it split off trading and conventional generation into Uniper. The companies are now separately listed.
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