The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been granted a six-month extension to publish its findings and remedies for the UK energy market.
The authority began an investigation into the market last year and was due to publish its findings by the end of this year, however it has taken a six-month extension allowed within its statutory framework due to the “huge programme of work” involved.
A final decision is now scheduled to be published before 25 June 2016, however the CMA expects to deliver “well within this timeframe” and intends to publish provisional findings by January 2016 ahead of a final decision before the end of April.
A statement issued this morning said the extension would allow the CMA “sufficient time to consider the many detailed responses received” from various stakeholders, while its inquiry group also wanted to carry out further evidence-gathering to put together a comprehensive solution.
“This investigation – and the measures that could result from it – will have long-standing consequences for millions of customers in an industry of vital importance to the whole country.
“As the most comprehensive investigation into the energy market since privatisation, this is a once in a generation opportunity to shape the future of this market for the better. It’s important that we get it right,” Roger Witcomb, chairman of the energy market investigation, said.
The CMA published its initial findings in July and noted concern regarding the high cost of low carbon electricity and also criticised the Contracts for Difference allocation process, claiming it was “giving rise” to “adverse effects on competition”.
Since the initial findings were published the government has proposed significant cuts to subsidy support for renewables and all but cancelled the CfD process, indefinitely postponing the second allocation round and refusing to rule out its termination with the Levy Control Framework set for a £1.5 billion overspend by 2020/21.
Witcomb said that the CMA’s findings had identified potential competition problems within DECC’s processes for allocating clean energy subsidies, and that the authority needed to refine its analysis.