OFGEM

Ofgem is the government regulator for gas and electricity markets in Great Britain.

Who are Ofgem?

You have probably heard Ofgem mentioned everywhere you look when it comes to switching your electricity and gas, but who are they? And what difference do they actually make to your supply?

Ofgem Logo

Well, Ofgem is the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets. They are a non-ministerial government department and an independent National Regulatory Authority, with the role of protecting consumers now and in the future by writing guidelines that deliver a fairer, greener energy system.

The term “non-ministerial department within the UK Government” is a specific status given to only 22 departments in the UK, which is known to the likes of the Crown Prosecution Service, the Forestry Commission and National Savings and Investments and Ordnance Survey.

Gov.uk describes Ofgem to “regulate the monopoly companies which run electricity and gas networks, taking decisions on price controls and enforcement as well as acting on the interests of consumers.”

Ofgem works with the Government, industry and consumer groups to deliver a net-zero economy at the lowest cost to customers like yourself. They ensure fair treatment and drive down prices by enabling competition and innovation and opens the market for new services.

The company was founded on November 1st 2000, in a merger of the Office of Electricity Regulation and Office of Gas Supply, and is now held under Kwasi Kwarteng, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

How are they governed?

Ofgem are governed by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (GEMA) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

 GEMA determines strategies, sets policy priorities and makes decisions on a varied range of regulatory matters, such as pricing controls and enforcement. With these regulations, GEMA has built the likes of the Gas Act 1986, the Electricity Act (1989) and Utlities Act (2000) and further measures set out in a number of Energy industry Acts. See:

GEMA is made up of non-executive and executive members, as well as a non-executive chair. Their non-executive members bring professional industry experience to the table regarding the likes of economics, consumer and social policy, finance and investment and European energy issues alongside science and environment.

Whereas the BEIS are a ministerial department, sometimes described as the “boss” of Ofgem. Although Ofgem came into being before its superior, with their title, they take responsibility for energy security, managing the UK’s energy legacy, supporting growth, action on climate change, and much more.

The BEIS may task Ofgem with delivering aspects of these topics such as promoting value for money, while they are responsible for overall affordability. Ofgem may focus on promoting the security of supply and sustainability, while the BEIS work on action on climate change and renewable energy.

Who do Ofgem protect?

By dedicating their organisation to working for consumers, Ofgem’s duty is to protect the interests of you as a buyer. To achieve this, while operating under a “consumer first” programme, they introduced a panel for everyday domestic customers to meet regularly and discuss key issues impacting their own participation in the energy market, with special attention paid to any other industry issues brought to their attention. You can see the notes taken at these meetings via Ofgem’s consumer research tab.

After the consumer first panel was successful, the group then introduced a Consumer Challenge Group relevant to work on network price controls; this group is made up of a small number of experts who act as a “critical friend” and bring additional expenses that a company may not be able to address through their market research alone.

As part of Ofgem’s promise is to protect consumers, we mustn’t forget the duty specifically relating to vulnerable individuals.

Following 2013s report of the same name, they wrote a Consumer Vulnerability Strategy in 2019 with the intention of outlining how they define vulnerability and reflecting on how they intend to protect customers in vulnerable situations until 2025. This is made up of five key themes, as follows

  • Improving identification of vulnerability and smart use of data
  • Supporting those struggling with their bills
  • Driving significant improvements in customer service for vulnerable groups
  • Encouraging positive and inclusive innovation
  • Working with others to solve issues that cut across multiple sectors

Funding and transparency

Although Ofgem is fully independent from the organisations which they regulate, they do recover the costs of their work from these licensed companies via an annual license fee. They aimed to see a reduction of 15% in 2019-2020 from 2015’s Spending Review settlement in 2015.

As a public service, it is important that the regulatory body commits to transparency at all times, and released this statement about how they are currently doing this, but to put it simply, Ofgem rely on four essential principles, alongside publishing a Forward Work Programme each year in order to share their main priorities for the following annum; deliverables and performance indicators for the following year are based on the Work Programme findings, and lastly, an Annual Report and Accounts, which are audited by the National Audit Office.

Ofgem’s personal four essential principles are (in their words):

PrincipleDefinition/explanation
TransparencyProviding clear, consistent, comparable and accessible information
AccountabilitySo that decision makers and budget holders can be held to account
SimplicitySo that it is easy to understand what is going on
CoherenceSo that our activities are clear and logical

Is Ofgem the Ombudsman?

Shortly, no. Ofgem is not an ombudsman due to the fact that it does not have an individual or business that you can complain to. Instead, the energy sector has its own ombudsman, approved by Ofgem, that independently handles disputes between consumers and energy suppliers.

While Ofgem will take an interest in large amounts of complaints about similar issues and companies, it should be done from a market investigation perspective rather than active customer engagement. Still, You can read their leaflet on how to complain with Ofgem here, that will tell you who you should contact in their place. This goes through a number of steps from contacting the company who you are complaining to directly, to Citizens Advice and even the Ombudsman services mentioned above.

Ofgem’s Successes

  • Leading government efforts to mitigate climate change, both through international action and cutting UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050;
  • Leading efforts to ensure as a nation that we are sourcing at least 15% of our energy from renewable sources by 2021;
  • Committed to delivering secure, low-carbon energy at the least cost to consumers, taxpayers and the economy;
  • Committed to policies protecting the most vulnerable and fuel poor households and addressing the competitiveness problems faced by energy-intensive industries;
  • Delivering policies in a way that maximises the benefits to the economy in terms of jobs, growth and investment;
  • Making the most of the UK’s existing oil and gas reserves and seizing the opportunities presented by the rise of the global green economy;
  • Managing the UK’s energy legacy safely, securely and cost-effectively

Ofgem News and Updates

Don't let these myths stop you switching & saving👇

❌Renting means you can’t switch? If you pay for your energy you have the right to choose your supplier
❌I might be cut off? You should only see a change in your bills & customer service

Learn more👇
http://ow.ly/JMr950vgmNa

⌛ Only a measly 3️⃣ weeks to go until #IEDconf21 ⌛ We know being your authentic self at work matters so book your place to understand more about creating a diverse, inclusive workplace with us @Accenture and @ofgem 👉🏽 http://bit.ly/3f1h0Ei

Opening #IEDconf21 is @ELPinchbeck with a keynote address on the importance of diversity & inclusion in creating the workforce the #energy sector needs for the future - book your place now 👉🏽 http://bit.ly/3f1h0Ei @ofgem @Accenture

Five new energy suppliers have joined the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty.

Learn more about the suppliers ➡️http://ow.ly/czQz50Ejwvy

Learn more about the ECO scheme ➡️ http://ow.ly/Ynhd50Ejwwm

#RenewableEnergy

Need extra help managing your energy? You might be eligible for the Priority Services Register 📘

Learn more 👉 http://ow.ly/yDGL50vMxyf

#EnergyBills

National Grid Electricity System Operator to pay £1.5 million over electricity demand forecasts 👇

http://ow.ly/Sz7z50Ejpn6

#EnergyIndustry

Thinking of switching #energy supplier? Start with an Ofgem-accredited price comparison site ➡️ http://ow.ly/RtZB50ritKX

Finding it tough to keep up with your energy bills? @ofgem’s rules mean your energy supplier must provide emergency help 👇
✅ Payment breaks
✅ Suspending credit meter disconnections
✅ Debt advice
Learn more➡️http://ow.ly/9bjE50E1gra
#EnergyPriceCap

🚨New record!🚨

Great Britain’s #electricity ⚡️grid was the greenest it’s ever been at 1pm yesterday.

Carbon intensity – the measure of CO2 emissions per unit 🍃– dropped to 39 gCO2, the lowest figure on record (breaking the record set last May) 1/2

🔥⚡ Not happy with the #energy service you are getting?

How to complain and get help if you need it: http://ow.ly/9M9C50uvdNE

#EnergyBills

Is your #energy account in credit? You can ask your supplier to refund you at any time:

📞 Contact your supplier
💻 Or log into your online account if you have paperless billing
📝 You may be asked for a current meter reading

Learn more 👉http://ow.ly/MBjx50E0G2k

#EnergyBills

Do you know about the extra help available to you from #energy services? Learn more in our online guide ➡️ http://ow.ly/gIED50rLKpH

#EnegryBills

Domestic #RHI participant? Find out about the latest changes to the scheme via @beisgovuk 👉 http://ow.ly/rzYu50Eegjf

Further info & understanding what the changes mean for you 👉 http://ow.ly/vxcH50Eegkr

#RenewableHeat #Renewables #EnergyIndustry

Are you worried about paying your energy bills? Help is available 👇

http://ow.ly/UTaH50CP1rE

#EnergyBills #UtilityBills

The next #EnergyPriceCap applies now if you prepay for your energy or are on a 'default' energy tariff. Higher energy costs mean the cap levels rises from today.

Comparing and switching will ensure you're getting the best available deal ➡️ http://ow.ly/v2aV50Ee8wY

🆕The Non-Domestic #RHI Scheme has closed to new applicants

A first of its kind at launch & almost 🔟 years later it's helped to provide enough #RenewableEnergy for everyone in the UK to take 175 baths🛁

Find out more about the future of low carbon heat👉http://ow.ly/JW5d50Ee8bR

The next level of the #EnergyPriceCap applies from tomorrow:

Check if you’re affected 👉 http://ow.ly/QNvT50vqmud
Switch and save 👉 http://ow.ly/M21q50vqmuv
Get extra help with your bills 👉 http://ow.ly/BlZK50zw5FG

#EnergyBills

📢Final call: The Non-Domestic #RHI scheme will close to all new applicants at midnight tonight 🕛

More info 👉 http://ow.ly/Znsq50Ed1DE
Easy application guide 👉 http://ow.ly/5QtY50Ed1C3

#Renewables #RenewableEnergy

Turning diversity & inclusion commitments into action is a priority for Energy UK & should also be a top one for our sector as we face a rapid transition ⚡ We've launched our IED Conference with @ofgem @Accenture - find out more 👉🏽 http://bit.ly/3dm4nBd #IEDconf21

Ofgem takes compliance action against SSE Energy Services for failing to provide a timely and accurate RFI submission 👇

http://ow.ly/9XiD50Ed4BF

#EnergyIndustry

Price capped energy tariffs will rise this week due to higher wholesale costs:

Does the #EnergyPriceCap apply to you? 👉 http://ow.ly/QNvT50vqmud
Ensure you're getting the best savings 👉 http://ow.ly/M21q50vqmuv
Check if you're eligible for extra help👉http://ow.ly/BlZK50zw5FG

Finding it tough to keep up with your energy bills? @ofgem’s rules mean your energy supplier must provide emergency help 👇

✅ Payment breaks
✅ Suspending credit meter disconnections
✅ Debt advice

Learn more➡️ http://ow.ly/eEDP50E1wPC

#EnergyPriceCap

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