Carmichael presses case for “complacent” Ofgem shake-up

24 May 2023

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has pressed ministers this week on the need to revise Ofgem’s mandate to include Net Zero goals. Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Carmichael warned against the risk of a “complacent” attitude in the agency in helping the UK meet its carbon reduction targets, including through support for renewable development and innovation in the network.

Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“Directors at Ofgem are on the record as saying that they are already doing everything that needs to be done to meet the UK’s Net Zero targets. I don’t know anyone outside of Ofgem who sees that as anything other than dangerously complacent. Is it not time for the minister to give a direct mandate to Ofgem to include meeting Net Zero as part of their remit?”

Responding, Under-Secretary of State for Nuclear and Networks Andrew Bowie MP said:

“The government has published a draft strategy and policy statement which makes clear Ofgem’s role in reaching the UK’s Net Zero targets, however, the government is considering an amendment made in the House of Lords to the Energy Bill to Ofgem statutory duties in relation to Net Zero.”

Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:

“There is a clear and pressing need for reform to Ofgem’s remit and I hope that the government will take seriously the amendments being proposed to carry this out. Adding Net Zero goals to Ofgem’s mandate may seem like a semantic point but it would give fresh impetus to innovation and development in the isles, like the work done by EMEC – and bring renewable energy costs down.

“There is a clear interest from all sides to change Ofgem’s remit – time to make it happen.”

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