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What will the election mean for the UK’s energy industry?

Theresa May surprised the country when she called a snap general election last week. She has promised that the early election will ‘remove the risk of uncertainty and instability’ around Brexit, but there is hope that it will also provide greater clarity across all areas of government policy, which is what many of us in the energy industry have been seeking for some time.

But will it lead to greater security, or will we see more of the same volatility we have seen since the Brexit vote? The party manifestos will be published in two weeks’ time, but in the meantime, we take a look at how the snap election will affect the UK’s energy future.

Policy on pause

With Westminster in Purdah, key decisions for the energy industry are delayed for the foreseeable future – and whilst polls predict that the Tories are on course to return to government, a change in Number 10 could bring with it a new direction entirely.

The Clean Growth Plan has been eagerly awaited by energy officials, as it will outline how the government intends to meet the fifth carbon budget. Initially scheduled to be released in 2016, the Plan was postponed due to the Referendum vote, but we can expect this to be delayed even further.

There are many other areas of energy policy that will also be affected by the hiatus – the review of smart and flexible energy systems and the consultation on the affordability of business energy that was scheduled to follow the Industrial Strategy white paper consultation are all likely to be held up. This will frustrate those organisations keen for the Government to outline how it intends to address rising energy costs and simplify ways for businesses flexibility to contribute to the energy system. With little over a month between Parliament reconvening after the election and the summer recess, it’s likely that many will be left frustrated by the lack of progress in the energy sector over the next few months.

All change

While the polls are predicting a comfortable win for the Conservatives, the political events of the past year have shown that anything can happen. If Labour win, we can expect to see great change in the energy sector, as Jeremy Corbyn has been clear about his plans to reform the energy landscape to make energy in the UK cleaner and more affordable, including building 1 million new carbon neutral homes and a goal of 65% renewable electricity by 2030.

A Conservative win could lead to a period of policy stability, but a reshuffle could mean disruption in BEIS that would cause key decisions to be delayed further. Regardless of the winning party, for example, HM Treasury will need to make a swift decision about the carbon price floor as otherwise those bidding in the next round of T4 auctions won’t know the price for the year that they’re bidding for, not to mention the next Levy Control Framework and the future of business energy efficiency reporting, all of which were expected in the Spring Budget and all of which are overdue and adding to uncertainty in the sector.

What next?

The lack of clarity around the future of the UK’s energy industry has been frustrating business energy professionals for some time now, and unfortunately the snap election is set to exacerbate the uncertainty facing the industry. This can make it difficult to make critical decisions about your business energy, from budget forecasting to future planning, but Inenco’s team of experts are on hand to help you navigate the changing energy landscape – get in touch today on 08451 463626 or