30 Jan 2008 03:41 PM
UK has the most competitive energy market in the EU and G7

DEPARTMENT FOR BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND REGULATORY REFORM News Release (2008/22) issued by The Government News Network on 30 January 2008

The UK's energy market remains the most competitive in the EU and G7 it was revealed today, with the publication of independent research. Business Secretary John Hutton hailed the report as evidence that the UK market was delivering for consumers, and called for more open and transparent markets to be replicated throughout the rest of Europe.

The report, from the Oxford Economic Research Associates (OXERA), monitors the competitiveness of the energy market by assessing a range of factors. These include the market shares in generation and supply, the separation of transmission from generation and supply and the availability of regulated third party access to gas and electricity transmission and distribution networks.

Only 11 EU members and none of the other G7 countries have currently deregulated their energy markets sufficiently to be assessed. A further eight EU members are expected to qualify to be assessed in 2007.

Business Secretary John Hutton said:

"Creating an open and competitive energy market has meant that UK consumers have consistently benefited from amongst the lowest energy prices in Europe. While it is true that wholesale energy prices are rising, greater choice and transparency are clearly the best protection against these costs being disproportionably passed onto consumers.

"That is why we want to see the UK's open and transparent markets replicated throughout the rest of Europe. Liberalised energy markets - such as the one we have in the UK - could save EU consumers tens of billions of euros a year.

"We welcome the robust actions the European Commission has already taken to liberalise European energy markets, and we will continue to encourage and support further work."

Notes to editors:

1. The Department for Business has a Public Service Agreement target that the UK should be among the top three most competitive energy (gas and electricity) markets in the EU and G7. The achievement of this target is independently monitored each year and the results published. The work is carried out by Oxford Economic Research Associates (OXERA).

2. Today the final results of the 2005 analysis and the preliminary results for 2006 have been published. They show that the UK has the most competitive markets for gas and electricity in the EU and G7. This has been the case over the whole PSA period (2004-08).

3. Last September, the Commission published proposals - Third Package of Energy Liberalisation - for a real step change in opening up Europe's energy markets. The UK strongly supports these proposals which would prevent incumbent energy players from keeping others out of the market and promote competition.

4. The Oxera report is available electronically from BERR Press Office or at: http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/markets/competitiveness/page28432.html

5. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced energy supplies.