Next year will be a major year of change for Ofgem as well as the regulated industry it oversees. Alistair Buchanan has been the Chief Executive for almost 10 years and at the end of his second five year term he will leave in June 2013.
This on its own would mark a significant moment for the regulator when it faces ever increasing scrutiny. To add to this though, Lord Mogg, Ofgem’s Chairman for 9 years will step down at the end of his second 5 year term in September 2013.
Whether this will mark a change in direction or approach from Ofgem won’t be known until the post is filled but with the Secretary of State appointing a new Chairman in the New Year, we can expect ongoing support for the Energy Bill and hopefully continued greater correlation between Government policy and Ofgem priorities.
For the networks, Buchanan’s tenure has overseen a significant shift in how the regulated part of the industry delivers for customers and encourages investment with the RIIO process. Such changes will never be perfect for all, but the recognition of the need for innovation marked the return of R&D to the sector at a level not seen since privatisation. The unique Low Carbon Networks Fund has been recognised the world over and no other country in the EU has made this commitment to the energy future of its citizens and their energy consumption.
The last months of both their time in post, will have significant milestones. They will most likely have to handle some of the largest winter bills for consumers, the regulatory process for the electricity distribution networks (called RIIO ED1 and the first under a new regime) will have critical decision points and, of course, the Energy Bill. There’s no risk of them struggling for things to do as they handover to successors.