Impact of COVID-19 on energy network companies – an enabling framework for regulatory flexibility

Correspondence and other

Publication date

Industry sector

  • Distribution Network
  • Transmission Network
  • Offshore Transmission Network

This open letter sets out how Ofgem plans to facilitate and help provide clarity to network companies to prioritise work sensibly and respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on their customers, staff and supply chains.  

Our overarching objectives in working with suppliers during this period of extra-ordinary measures to combat Covid-19 are: to ensure that customer needs are met, particularly the most vulnerable, maintain secure, reliable and safe supplies of energy to consumers in the short to medium term (ie through to the end of next winter); and to ensure the safety and protection of consumers and the workforce.  

Network companies may temporarily de-prioritise (i.e. suspend or post-pone) certain Lower Priority Works and Services, in response to current Government advice (e.g. on social distancing), and/or to focus capacity on delivering High Priority Works and Services in the event of escalating impacts of Covid-19 on the capacity of their workforce. In such circumstances, we wish to enable network companies to de-prioritise Lower Priority Works and Services without undue fear of regulatory enforcement or penalties.

This enabling framework deals with the customer-facing aspects of network company activity. Assuming there is no material change of circumstances, this framework of regulatory flexibility will remain in place until 30 June 2020. As we approach that time, we will review the case for extending and/or amending it, based on circumstances at the time.