Energy costs review aims to sort ‘fact from fiction’

Business & Energy Secretary Greg Clark has launched an independent review into the cost of electricity.

The review will investigate how the energy industry, government and regulators can keep the cost of electricity as low as possible, while ensuring the UK meets its domestic and international climate targets.

Clark has appointed Dieter Helm, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford and a former member of the Council of Science & Technology that advised the Prime Minister from 2004 to 2007, to lead the inquiry.

Helm said: “My review will be independent and sort out the facts from the myths about the cost of energy, and make recommendations about how to more effectively achieve the overall objectives.”

New technologies

Clark said the review was the next step in the UK Government’s industrial strategy, which has already promised to look at each stage of the electricity market, from generation through to transmission, distribution and supply.

He added: “The review will consider how we can take advantage of changes to our power system and new technologies to ensure clean, secure and affordable supplies over the coming decades.

“Professor Helm will bring invaluable expertise to the review, and I look forward to seeing his recommendations.”

Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of trade body Energy UK, said: “We welcome greater transparency over the cost of energy as we transition to a smarter, more flexible, digital and decarbonised energy system which puts consumers and industry in greater control of their energy.”

Industry welcomes review

Hayden Wood, co-founder of independent utility Bulb, said that it was disappointing that it had taken the government so long to commission such a review, adding: “A review into the industry should also finally put to bed the myth that green energy has to cost more.”

Helm will be assisted by: Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of the EEF manufacturing trade body;Nick Winser, Chairman of the Energy Systems Catapult; Laura Sandys, Chief Executive of Challenging Ideas; Isobel Sheldon, Engineering & Technology Director of Johnson Matthey Battery Systems; and Richard Nourse, Managing Partner of Greencoat Capital.

He is expected to give his report to Clark in October.

> See BEIS's statement