Ofgem has today announced the members of its newly-created body, the Enforcement Decision Panel (EDP).
The EDP has been established to take important decisions in contested enforcement cases on behalf of Ofgem. These decisions can involve imposing a significant financial penalty on energy companies when they break regulatory rules. The EDP will help Ofgem to protect consumers’ interests in dealing with enforcement cases whilst maintaining the separation between its internal investigation team and this independent decision making panel.
John Swift QC, a senior competition lawyer and regulator, has been appointed as Chair of the EDP. The other members of the panel are experienced decision makers from a range of backgrounds, including consumer protection, financial services and competition law.
David Gray, Ofgem Chairman said: “Enforcement is central to Ofgem’s work in protecting consumers. We have a strong track record of dealing with enforcement cases, having imposed over £85m of penalties and redress since 2010 on energy companies who fail to meet their obligations. Our investigations help to secure robust decisions and act as a strong deterrent to prevent future poor behaviour.
“The Enforcement Decision Panel will bring a wealth of experience to the table and help Ofgem as we continue in our role to protect current and future consumers.”
The appointment of the EDP follows Ofgem’s recent review of how it conducts its enforcement activities. As part of that it is consulting on its draft revised Enforcement Guidelines and a draft Statement of Policy on Penalties and Consumer Redress. In addition, Ofgem has announced that it has decided to place a greater emphasis on deterrence when imposing penalties for future breaches. This change will come into effect where evidence of rule breaking comes to our attention on or after 1 June. This is likely to mean a substantial increase from the levels of penalty that it has typically imposed to date.
Notes to editors
1. The Enforcement Decision Panel (EDP)
The Enforcement Decision Panel (EDP) is a newly-created body within Ofgem, and will take decisions on contested cases on behalf of the Ofgem Board. Members of the panel will play a crucial role in continuing to deliver Ofgem’s central duty to protect consumers, facilitate competition and ensure the integrity of the wholesale energy market.
The EDP’s decisions will be independent from the investigating team and the Ofgem Board will not change or over rule EDP decisions.
John Swift QC has combined private practice with public sector regulation over the whole of his professional career. In private practice he has appeared as Leading Counsel in key cases in the UK and EU, representing both regulators and the private sector. In the public sector he was the Rail Regulator between 1993 and 1998, and from 2009 to 2014 has been a Member of the Cooperation and Competition Panel (now part of Monitor)
Robin Callender Smith is a member and a Deputy Chairman of the FCA’s Regulatory Decisions Committee. A media law and information rights expert, he has worked as a barrister since 1977 after spending four years as a journalist. He is also an Information Rights Judge and an Immigration Judge.
Amelia Fletcher is Professor of Competition Policy at the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy at the University of East Anglia and a Non-Executive Director at the Financial Conduct Authority. She is also an academic advisor to Ofcom and a member of the Oxera Economic Council. She was Chief Economist of the Office of Fair Trading until 2013. In 2014 she was awarded an OBE for services to competition and consumer economics.
Elizabeth France is Chair of the Security Industry Authority, Chair of the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales, a member of the British Transport Police Authority, Vice President of Aberystwyth University and a member of the General Assembly of Manchester University. She is a former Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive of the Ombudsman Service Ltd., which provided the Energy Ombudsman Service, the Telecommunications Ombudsman Service and the Surveyors Ombudsman Service. In June 2002 she was awarded a CBE for services to data protection.
Trevor Jones has gained over thirty years’ experience in the Financial Services industry at businesses including Barclays Bank and Lloyds Banking Group. He has held a number of senior roles including the leadership of Risk, Financial Crime, Compliance, Audit and Finance functions, as well as shaping the business by driving the Governance and Compliance agendas for UK banks.
Andrew Long is an experienced regulatory decision maker and judge. He has written extensively on regulatory law, including part of a major textbook on financial services regulation. He is currently Chair of the FCA’s Regulatory Decisions Committee, Chair of the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator and Panel Chair for the Access Disputes Committee (of the regulated rail industry). His main career was as a partner at Pinsent Masons solicitors, where he led the financial services regulation practice.
Jonathan May has been closely involved in the development of utility regulation, competition and consumer policy and practice since the mid-1990s. He was an Executive Director at the Office of Fair Trading until 2010. Since 2011 he has been a member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the Financial Services Consumer Panel and, until March this year, a board member of Consumer Futures.
Members of the EDP will be appointed to case decision panels, as needed by the Panel Chair, to hear and take decisions in individual cases. Each case decision panel will generally consist of three members, with one nominated as the Chair.
Once appointed to a case decision panel, the role will involve delivering Ofgem’s Enforcement Vision by taking decisions on behalf of Ofgem as to whether there has been a breach of regulatory obligations, competition laws, or REMIT regulation, and whether a penalty or redress package should be imposed and if so what level of penalty or redress. In taking these decisions, the panel will act independently from the investigating team, against the framework of Ofgem’s policy objectives.
3. About Ofgem
Ofgem is the Office of the Gas and Electricity Markets, which supports the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, the regulator of the gas and electricity industries in Great Britain. The Authority's functions are set out mainly in the Gas Act 1986, the Electricity Act 1989, the Competition Act 1998 and the Utilities Act 2000. In this note, the functions of the Authority under all the relevant Acts are, for simplicity, described as the functions of Ofgem.
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