The Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme in England and Wales supports the generation of renewable electricity. It operates through a system of tradable green certificates called Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). Ofgem, the scheme administrator, issue ROCs to generators for the amount of renewable electricity generated. Generators sell the ROCs to suppliers or traders, which gives generators a premium in addition to the wholesale price of their electricity. Electricity suppliers are under an obligation to present a certain number of ROCs to Ofgem or make a fixed payment into a buyout fund in lieu of each ROC. Cash payments are recycled to suppliers who met their obligation with ROCs, giving ROCs additional value. The cost of the RO to suppliers is passed on to consumers through electricity bills.
Recently, there has been an increasing number of electricity suppliers exiting the retail market and defaulting on their obligation under the RO. Defaults manifest as shortfalls in the buyout fund. The scheme features a mutualisation mechanism which seeks to recover unpaid bills from other electricity suppliers once they exceed a threshold. The threshold in England and Wales was recently increased to make it harder for mutualisation to be triggered, but this did not address the underlying causes of payment default.
This consultation, which has been prepared jointly with BEIS, focuses on supplier payment default under the RO. It considers the main options available for addressing it, through both legislation and the electricity supply licence, and qualitatively assesses the likely impacts of each. It seeks the views of stakeholders on these options and their preferred way of proceeding.
Details on how to respond can be found on the Renewables Obligation (RO): addressing electricity supplier payment default under the RO scheme page
The Cornwall Insight report referred to in the consultation can also be found on the BEIS website.