Citizens Advice response to the Ofgem consultation on the COVID-19 contingency plan for the RIIO-2 open letter
We welcome Ofgem’s foresight in making contingency plans in the event that there may be delays caused to the RIIO-2 timetable through the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. We note that the intention is to remain focussed on delivering the RIIO-2 programme in line with the previously-published timetable.
The effect of the proposal within the open letter would be to create a new change control change framework that would permit amendments to the RIIO-1 licence conditions and introduce new RIIO-2 licence conditions to facilitate the implementation of the RIIO-2 Final Determinations (FDs). If the proposal was triggered, the FDs would be effected via direction so long as the FDs are published by February or March 2021. This change would permit a 3 month delay in processes whilst preserving the start date of RIIO-2 at 1 April 2021. We have noted the conditions proposed for the contingency plan, namely that the licence condition enacting the change would:
Only be available for a time-limited period
Only be available in the strict circumstances detailed in the draft condition
Only be used for limited purposes as provided for in the draft condition
Be followed as soon as possible thereafter by a formal statutory licence consultation to implement the RIIO-2 licence conditions (latest by the specified date in the licence condition), with a formal direction to implement those licence changes to follow
Not affect appeal rights to the CMA against the eventual formal licence modifications
We support the intention to have further statutory consultation upon this proposal if Ofgem decides to proceed as described with this licence condition.
We agree that it appears to be a reasonable and proportionate way to accommodate an emergency-related delay of 3 months while preserving the means to implement RIIO-2 FDs. We note the requirement for a statutory consultation if the contingency plan is triggered.