The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is seeking views on how the current utilities regulation system is working and what future changes maybe required to ensure regulation supports investment and innovation while at the same time keeping costs down for consumers.
The regulation study is expected to examine the future changes that may affect the regulated sectors; whether the current regulatory model encourages sufficient competition and innovation; whether there is regulatory consistency between the sectors, and the relationship between regulators and the government.
Today’s call for evidence forms part of this latest study, announced by chancellor Philip Hammond.
It asks questions including:
- Whether fundamental change to the current model is required;
- Whether consumer interests could be better represented in the future and how;
- How regulators can act in future to win and maintain consumer trust in the sectors;
- What impact competition has had on investment in the sectors;
- Whether regulation has been slow to adapt to changing market circumstances, and if so, where; and
- Whether greater levels of transparency and accountability could be achieved and how
Commenting, Hammond says the government had asked the NIC to investigate how regulators can prepare for technological change.
He added: “Our regulators play a key role in ensuring the framework underpinning our vital telecoms, energy and water services remains agile and innovative, delivering for consumers and giving the UK a competitive edge. Technological change is having a transformative effect across the economy and regulators must be able to respond to keep the UK at the forefront of these advances.
Chairman of the NIC, Sir John Armitt said the body wants to hear from companies and regulators, consumers and investors on what a future framework may look like to deliver both good quality services, and world-class infrastructure.
He added: “From turning on a TV to turning on a tap, all of us rely on our energy, telecoms and water industries for basic everyday activities. Regulators are therefore a vital part of ensuring we are treated fairly by these essential service providers, and that vulnerable customers get the support they need. But their work should also encourage investment and innovation which will benefit households and businesses alike for the long-term.”
The regulation study call for evidence is available here. The deadline for responses is Friday 12 April.