This open letter sets out how Ofgem plans to facilitate and help provide clarity to the Electricity System Operator (ESO) to prioritise work sensibly and respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on its customers, staff and supply chains.
Our overarching objectives during this period of extra-ordinary measures to combat COVID-19 are to ensure that customer needs are met, particularly the most vulnerable; to 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.
The ESO may temporarily de-prioritise (ie suspend or postpone) certain Lower Priority Activities, in response to current Government advice (e.g. on social distancing), and/or to focus capacity on delivering High Priority Activities in the event of escalating impacts of COVID-19 on the capacity of its workforce. In such circumstances, we wish to enable the ESO to de-prioritise Lower Priority Activities without undue fear of regulatory enforcement or penalties.
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.