The future for energy's big six
The future for the 'big six' energy companies appears unsteady, as more and more consumers look to smaller companies and green alternatives for their power, while the UK government undertakes a crack-down on pricing.
Dr. Frederik Dahlmann, an Assistant Professor of Global Energy and researcher of renewable energy at Warwick Business School, offered the following expert comment:
"Energy remains a political football with governments of all flavours unsure about what kind of energy system they want and who should pay for it. This lack of coherence in long-term energy policy has been evident for many years and while companies and consumers carry on muddling through, no-one is really satisfied.
"The typical eye-catching pre-election calls don’t help with establishing a more considered, long-term vision that satisfies the need for energy security, affordability and sustainability.
"Energy is far too important to be left entirely to the markets, at the same time it is economically inefficient and undesirable to run it from the Department of BEIS’ offices. As the industry is undergoing significant change the calls for greater government intervention may lead to short-term benefits for select consumer groups, but risks increasing the overall costs of the system and locking it into inefficient structures in the long-term.
"A more sensible suggestion would be the setting up of a task force consisting of consumer and industry representatives as well as MPs. This panel would have the task of devising a credible and feasible long-term policy and outline an industry framework that most can agree to."