LORDS

The Economics of UK Energy Policy inquiry launch

21 July 2016

The Committee has published a call for evidence for its new inquiry, "The Economics of UK Energy Policy", and is inviting written submissions. Deadline for written submission is 30 September 2016.

Focus of the inquiry

The Committee considers whether the present mix of policy interventions and subsidies have led to failures in the energy market. It looks at what measures are required to correct these failures.

Areas of interest:

  • What are the key economic challenges for the energy market which the Government must address over the next decade?
  • Has the market and the Government responded effectively to changes in external circumstances, such as significant shifts in technology and prices?
  • What are the emerging technologies which could materially change the energy market over the next decade and beyond?
  • What should the future balance between the roles of the public and the private sector be?
  • How should the Government attract sufficient investment?
  • What is the relationship between high energy costs and the loss of industrial capacity in the UK?
  • What preparations could be made to cope with the risk of a shortfall in energy supply?
  • What alternate ways of pricing energy should be considered to reduce the burden of high energy bills, in particular on less well-off consumers?

Lord Hollick, Chairman of the Committee, comments:

"In the Committee's report into the economic impact on UK energy policy of shale gas and oil in May 2014, we concluded that there had been a lack of clarity and consistency in energy policy over many years. This failure of policy had left the UK dangerously close to lacking sufficient electricity generating capacity. Over two years later, little has changed. Coal power stations are being closed and old nuclear stations are coming towards the end of their life. But it is not clear how they will replaced and at what cost.

"The core question for the Committee is are there failures in the energy market and what measures are needed in the future to correct them?

"The risk of widespread power cuts is low. The question is the price that taxpayers and consumers are going to have to pay to ensure that risk remains low. The energy market involves an extraordinarily complicated mix of policy interventions and subsidies. Every investment in electricity generating supply is effectively determined by the Government. This inquiry will seek to investigate whether current policy is delivering the best deal for energy users and whether it is striking the correct balance between private and public sector involvement.

"I would invite anyone interested in this area to send us their evidence by 30 September so they can help us with our inquiries into what is a matter that affects every person in the country."

Further information

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