Market Reform Needs Market Leadership

Much has already been said about the CMA Energy Market Investigation, the initial findings of which were released today, not least by the CMA themselves. We’ve been drip fed hints and tip-offs about what the report might recommend since last summer, so the 46-page ‘summary’ that landed on our desks this morning held little new, and little of substance.

What has become clear, is that we, as an energy supplier and shipper, need to do more. We speak from a position of authority on this, as we’ve been empowering our customers and partners to change the way they do business since we founded, over two decades ago. It’s not enough to blindly follow policy and jump through the hoops we’ve been told to jump through by regulators. We need to take a lead.

This requires collaboration. From suppliers, big and small. From brokers, consultants and TPIs. From Government, policymakers and regulators. But also from customers. They need to be bought back into the heart of this journey. They need to be given control.

It was very telling that the CMA called for a ‘reset’ in the relationship between Ofgem, DECC and the industry. They’ve clearly recognised, albeit not in so many words, that customers are being let down. That’s simply not good enough. In the void and detachment created by the lack of strong leadership, some suppliers and TPIs have inevitably lost their way, and it’s the customer who suffers.

Just look at the confused response from industry. It ranges from ‘waste of time’ to ‘ringing endorsement’ of the findings. One thing that we would say, is that disengagement goes beyond apathy. There’s only so many times customers can be told that switching is the answer, they have to believe in our industry first, so that they have the ability to regain the control they desire.

But one thing is clear, customers deserve better now. Not four years down the line when we’re told the Smart Meter rollout will be complete. Not following another phase of consultation on these proposals. Now.