So proud of Manchester for pulling together yesterday

There were high emotions at a benefit concert staged by Ariana Grande in Manchester less than two weeks after the terror attack following her gig in the city. But the show also demonstrated the power of pop music to bring people together.

Several viewers took to social media to highlight the moment a policeman was seen dancing with young fans as a symbol of the city’s unity.

The concert was watched by an average of 10.9 million viewers, peaking at 14.5 million as the gig drew to a close – making it the most watched TV show of the year so far.

Here are some of the night’s other most powerful moments.

Strong – Robbie Williams

Robbie WilliamsImage copyright DAVE HOGAN FOR ONE LOVE MANCHESTER

“Manchester, we’re strong, we’re strong, we’re strong/We’re still singing our song, our song, our song.” – Robbie Williams, Strong (2017 version)

With a few tweaks to the chorus, Robbie has turned a minor 1998 hit into a rousing song to rally the masses in Manchester 2017.

Everyone in the crowd could easily bellow the simple chorus, and Robbie bellowed it in between songs too.

It even overshadowed his classic Angels as his main sing-a-long moment.

Wings – Little Mix


“No matter what you say it won’t hurt me/Don’t matter if I fall from the sky/These wings are made to fly.” – Little Mix, Wings

Little Mix induced some of the most piercing screams of the night.

The girl group explained that Wings is about encouraging people to “stand together and not let anything bring them down” – but their performance was the biggest slice of pure, escapist, plastic pop we had.

So it was also the epitome of one aspect of what tonight was all about – defending the right to gyrate in PVC pants and conjure cliche-ridden fantasies, and for fans to lap up every second of it.

My Everything – Parrs Wood High School Choir and Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande and Parrs Wood High School Choir

“If I go tomorrow, just know I’m yours/’Cause what we got is worth fighting for.” – Ariana Grande, My Everything

Rubbing shoulders with the pop superstars were 26 students from Parrs Wood High School Choir in Manchester, who performed a tear-jerking rendition of Grande’s My Everything.

They were invited to perform after putting their version of the track on YouTube in tribute to those who died in the attack.

Angel-voiced soloist Natasha Seth, 12, was joined by Grande herself, who held the girl’s hand – then, as the emotion became too much for the youngster, put her arm around her shoulder and squeezed her tight.

Part of Me – Katy Perry


“Throw your sticks and your stones, throw your bombs and your blows/But you’re not gonna break my soul.” – Katy Perry, Part of Me

Of all the performers, Katy Perry captured the mood of defiance and strength the best.

Wearing a white feathered gown, she started by telling the crowd: “Love conquers fear and love conquers hate and this love that you choose will give you strength, and it’s our greatest power.”

Part of Me hit exactly the right tone – reflective and empowering – before she unleashed her full-throated anthem of defiance, Roar.

Where Is The Love? – Black Eyed Peas and Ariana Grande

Black Eyed Peas and Ariana Grande

“Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism/But we still got terrorists here livin'” – Black Eyed Peas, Where Is The Love?

Almost 15 years after it was a mega hit, this song still sums up the incomprehension most people feel at the brutal ruthlessness of the modern world, while offering hope that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Ariana joined on vocals and there was a real moment when the band encouraged fans to raise a finger to represent “one love” and make heart shapes with their hands. did arrive on stage saying “Whassup London!” – but he just about got away with it by paying tribute to the capital as well as Manchester.

Don’t Look Back in Anger – Coldplay and Ariana Grande

Ariana Grande and Chris MartinImage copyright DAVE HOGAN FOR ONE LOVE MANCHESTER

“Don’t look back in anger, I heard you say/At least not today” – Oasis, Don’t Look Back In Anger

Another song that has taken on new significance for Mancunians in the past two weeks is Oasis’s Don’t Look Back In Anger. Here, it fell to Coldplay to perform it, with a little help from Ariana.

Few bands can get a crowd going like Coldplay, and it was the first of four songs the band played.

As the sun set, thousands of mobile phone lights twinkled during Fix You. Then millions of small multi-coloured stars drifted across the crowd after being shot out of a glitter cannon as Viva La Vida morphed into Something Just Like This.

Live Forever – Liam Gallagher and Chris Martin

Liam GallagherImage copyright DAVE HOGAN FOR ONE LOVE MANCHESTER

“Maybe you’re the same as me/We see things they’ll never see/You and I are gonna live forever.” – Oasis, Live Forever

Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher was a surprise addition to the line-up, pleasing many of the Mancunian music fans and representing a different side of the musical spectrum to most of the other acts.

And a song that was once all about bravado became melancholy and tender here. That was thanks in part to Chris Martin, again, who filled in for Liam’s brother Noel on acoustic guitar.

We even just about forgave Liam for playing a new song, Wall of Glass.

One Last Time – Ariana Grande


“So one last time/I need to be the one who takes you home/One more time/I promise after that, I’ll let you go.” – Ariana Grande, One Last Time

Of all of Ariana’s songs, this is the one that fans have turned to since the attack. It was the penultimate song here, which she sang with the rest of the line-up stood behind her.

On the verge of tears, she then went into an incredibly poignant version of Over the Rainbow to close the show.

Her performance throughout the night carried dignified emotion, and she showed grit and willpower by staging this show less than two weeks after those tragic events.

After tonight, she is idolised a little bit more by her fans, is higher in the estimation of those who had thought of her as a pop kitten, and is admired by those who only heard her name for the first time 13 days ago.

E.ON Chief Executive Officer Johannes Teyssen is seen during the annual shareholders meeting in Essen, Germany May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

UK energy tariff cap a chance to develop new products – E.ON CEO

Britain’s plan to introduce price caps in the energy retail market will be a “challenge” but also a chance for one of the country’s biggest suppliers to develop new products in a very competitive market, said the chief executive of E.ON (EONGn.DE).

Britain’s Conservative Party, leading in polls to take a larger majority in next month’s election, has pledged to cap standard energy tariffs, while the opposition Labour party has proposed nationalising some energy firms.

E.ON group CEO Johannes Teyssen said a price cap would unlikely have any impact on E.ON’s current portfolio.

“It’s an opportunity to define and develop new products, it’s a challenge for us,” Teyssen said on the sidelines of the FT Energy Transition Strategies conference in London.

E.ON, whose British unit saw profits plunge 43 percent in the first quarter, is ramping up sales in Britain to gain new customers in a market where large suppliers have seen fierce competition from new entrants.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

Conservatives turn to energy costs as price cap plans appear to soften

The Conservative party is expected to dilute the threat to energy suppliers with watered down plans to cap bills ahead of a fresh review into the rising cost of Britain’s electricity.

The Tory party said its ambition is for Britain’s energy costs to be the lowest in Europe, and its manifesto included plans to reignite the shale industry by offering a bigger slice of a sovereign wealth fund to those who welcome local drilling.

The impact for the industry may be much less than we fearedDeepa Venkateswaran, an analyst at Alliance Bernstein

“We want to make sure that the cost of energy in Britain is internationally competitive, both for businesses and households,” said the party.

The pledge made no mention of the £100 savings for 17 million customers promised by Theresa May earlier this month.

has energy price cap as expected but leaves significant wiggle room re: nature and scope of cap. £100 figure doesn’t feature.

A new addition to the Tory party manifesto is the pledge to tackle concerns over rising energy bills by putting in place a safeguard tariff cap for an unspecified number of consumers who are on the poorest value tariffs. The cap will also include bills paid by micro businesses.

“The manifesto wording was vague, as expected, but hints that the impact for the industry may be much less than we feared,” said Deepa Venkateswaran, an analyst at Alliance Bernstein.

Mrs May had promised a hardline, market-wide cap on all standard household energy tariffs but the party line appears to have softened the stance following fierce criticism that the move would stifle competition. The party has promised to maintain the competitive element of the retail energy market by supporting initiatives to make the switching process easier and more reliable.

Theresa May 
Conservative party leader Theresa May

“Alongside giving individuals greater control over their energy bills and protecting customers from unfair bills, we will help them to save energy,” the party added. Its energy efficiency drive would include a commitment to upgrading all fuel poor homes by 2030 and revising requirements for new homes too.

“An energy efficient home is a more affordable and healthy home,” the party said.

It came as a relief to the beleaguered energy industry which has lost hundreds of millions of pounds in market value since the price cap plans emerged. SSE shares rose 2.3pc to around £15 and Centrica climbed 4pc to £2.

Ms Venkateswaran said the manifesto suggests that the cap is not intended to save money on current bills but to prevent future unfair price hikes. On this basis the starting point for the Government cap would be the highest standard tariff in the market, rather than the average, and would sit just above current ‘reasonable prices’.

A Conservative spokesman said: “There has been absolutely no watering down of our plans to cap energy prices and to suggest otherwise is simply wrong.”

Meanwhile the long-held Tory support for shale gas is set to continue. The party dusted off plans first put forward by former Chancellor George Osborne in 2014 for a sovereign wealth fund. Under the latest plan it will pay shale revenue directly to individuals as well as for the benefit of the country at large.


Reality Check: Why does Labour want to control National Grid?

The leaked version of the Labour Party manifesto commits to “take energy back into public ownership to deliver renewable energy, affordability for consumers, and democratic control”.

Part of that would involve “central government control of the natural monopolies of the transmission and distribution grids”.

Natural monopolies are businesses where there are no benefits to be had from competition.

They are usually areas where there is a lot of initial spending on infrastructure needed, such as train tracks or water pipes.

It does not mean there can only be one business serving the whole country, but it makes no sense to have companies competing to provide such services to consumers in a particular area.

It would be inefficient, for example, to have two taps in your sink offering water from different providers or two sockets in your wall with electricity from competing energy companies.

Being a natural monopoly gives businesses enormous market power, which means that they must be regulated.

Whether it is better to have such services provided by government or by private companies regulated by government is a matter of political opinion.

National Grid’s main business is moving electricity and gas round the country. This is known as transmission. The very last leg of the journey into people’s homes and businesses – known as distribution – is done by a number of different companies. National Grid does own a stake in Cadent Gas, a distribution firm, but most gas distribution and all electricity distribution is controlled by other firms.

The cost of transporting gas and electricity round the country accounts for 29% of the average dual-fuel (both gas and electricity) bill, according to Energy UK, up from 23% in 2010. But National Grid says its share of that – the transmission cost – is only 5% of the typical electricity bill, and 3% of a gas bill. The rest is distribution costs.

Owning the transmission and distribution network would give the government considerably more control as it attempted to deliver promises in the leaked manifesto to deliver renewable energy and affordability for consumers, including keeping the average dual fuel bill below £1,000 a year.

The leaked manifesto also pledges to ban fracking (the use of high pressure liquids to extract gas from rocks) and use carbon capture (stopping carbon dioxide from escaping with other waste gases) as it moves to cleaner fuels.

Control over the network might help with this, but the government via its regulator and planning decisions already has a big say over the future energy mix.

Just nationalising National Grid (which is worth about £38bn on the stock market at the moment) would not achieve what Labour is promising – it would give the government the company that owns the UK’s electricity and gas transmission (it might also leave the government owning National Grid’s energy business in the US).

The distribution part of the equation is a slew of other companies – for gas alone it would be SGN, Northern Gas Networks, Wales and West Utilities, as well as Cadent Gas.

But the leaked manifesto calls for control of these companies, which could possibly be achieved by buying stakes in these businesses rather than nationalising them.

BBC business editor Simon Jack says National Grid’s UK business is estimated to be worth about £25bn.

“A chunky purchase but one that could quite easily financed in that it makes enough money to repay the interest on any money borrowed to buy it.”

National Grid has a lot of shareholders.

It’s been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1995.

Its shareholders, including 880,000 small shareholders, would be very upset if they didn’t get a good price from the government for their shares.

There are not many precedents for nationalisation of profitable companies in the UK – companies are usually nationalised when they are in financial difficulties – so it is not clear at this stage what the process would be.


Energy price rises help drive UK inflation up to 2.7%

The rising cost of electricity contributed to inflation’s rise to 2.7% in April, its highest level in three and a half years.

Increases in the cost of clothing, car tax and air fares were also blamed by the Office for National Statistics for the rise in consumer price inflation (CPI) that exceeded City forecasts of 2.6%, and soared above the previous month’s figure of 2.3%.

With wages increasing by just 1.9%, the new inflation figure highlights the growing pressure on living standards and consumer spending.

The Bank of England predicted last week that inflation would peak at 2.7% in the summer. However, the ONS said producer output price inflation was above 3%, indicating that further rises in inflation could be expected.

Alan Clarke, an economist at Scotia Bank, said he expected further electricity and gas price rises and that an acceleration in food price rises would push CPI inflation to 3.25% in the autumn.

“We remain convinced that the market is underestimating the further upside for inflation from here,” he said.

Clarke argued that the retail prices index (RPI), which includes some housing costs, was already at 3.5% and would rise to 4.25% before the end of the year, putting extreme pressure on consumers to cut back spending on non-essential items.

The National Institute for Economic & Social Research (NIESR) forecast last week that British workers will see their disposable incomes shrinking this year as a result of rising inflation that will peak at 3.4%, while average wage rises are capped at only 2.7%.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said rising inflation would put a further squeeze on real incomes and force Threadneedle Street to delay any move to raise interest rates.

“The Bank of England will most likely sit tight on interest rates through 2017 and 2018 – and very possibly well beyond.

“We suspect it will end up remaining tolerant on the inflation overshoot given likely limited UK growth and the prolonged, highly uncertain outlook that the UK economy will face as the government negotiates the exit from the EU,” he said.

The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said the government needed to protect workers from a slump in real wages.

“Working people are still £20 a week worse off, on average, than they were before the crash. That’s why living standards must be a key battleground at this election,” she said.

“All the parties need to explain how they’ll create better-paid jobs, especially in the parts of the UK that need them most.”

But Scott Bowman, UK economist at Capital Economics, was more optimistic that inflation would be held in check. He said many of the elements pushing up inflation were one-off factors and their effect would wane over the coming months.

“The sharp rise was mainly due to factors that, while they won’t be reversed, shouldn’t be repeated. Indeed, a large part of the rise in inflation reflected air fares reversing the previous month’s fall as a result of Easter shifting from March last year to April this year.

“What’s more, vehicle excise duty rates rose this April and tobacco and alcohol duty increased by more this year than they did last year,” he said.


EDF to buy majority stake in onshore wind developer

EDF’s renewable arm has confirmed plans to buy a majority stake in an onshore wind power developer.

EDF Energies Nouvelles said it has reached a full and final agreement with the shareholders of FUTUREN to buy a 67.2% interest in the company.

FUTUREN has operations in France, Germany, Italy and Morocco and currently operates around 745MW of assets in those countries.

Antoine Cahuzac, EDF Group’s Senior Executive Vice President for Renewable Energy said: “The coherence between EDF Energies Nouvelles’ and FUTUREN’s activities will help to strengthen EDF Group’s major strategic goals in renewable energy.”

The deal remains subject to the approval of the German competition authority.


Millions of EDF customers face second price rise this year

The government is under mounting pressure to take strong action on rising energy bills after one of the “big six” suppliers imposed its second price hike this year on 1.5 million customers.

The consumer group Which? urged Theresa May to step in if energy groups, which have made a series of tariff increases in 2017, do not help households circumvent the steepest increases.

EDF announced on Wednesday that customers on its dual fuel standard tariff – for accounts taking both electricity and gas – would pay 7.2% or £78 more a year from June. It follows an increase of 1.2% in March and will bring the average annual household bill under EDF to £1,160.

The move by the energy group, which is 85% French state owned, adds to the pressure on the prime minister to take action after she warned in March that the market was “manifestly not working for all consumers”.

Alex Neill, director of home products and services at Which?, said: “Millions are continuing to suffer due to a lack of competition in the energy market. If energy companies fail to properly engage with their customers to help them find better deals, then the government and the regulator must step in.”

Ofgem, the industry regulator, said the rise was “difficult to justify”.

A government spokesman said: “It’s another sign the market isn’t working, and we will shortly set out proposals to help energy consumers as part of the government’s Plan for Britain.” The government’s plans are expected to be published later this month.

EDF blamed the increase on rising wholesale energy costs and government policies that have to be paid for by consumer bills, which include schemes to alleviate fuel poverty and support low carbon power.

Of the big six energy companies – EDF, British Gas, E.ON, npower, ScottishPower and SSE – five have raised their prices in recent months, with only British Gas promising to freeze them until August.

The increases have fuelled calls for a price cap to help struggling bill payers, which has prompted warnings from energy bosses that such a move would hurt competition and consumers. The prime minister recently put suppliers on notice when she said she was planning to take action, though what form that will take is not yet clear

“Energy is not a luxury,” she told the Conservative spring conference in March. “It is a necessity of life. But it is clear to me – and to anyone who looks at it – that the market is not working as it should.”

Vincent de Rivaz, EDF’s chief executive, said: “I know that price rises are never welcome, but the industry is facing significant cost increases.”

On the prospect of imminent government intervention, he added: “We accept that the government, regulators and consumer groups have concerns about the way markets work for customers, particularly the energy market.”

Last month De Rivaz told an industry conference that he understood why May was considering stepping in. He said: “Don’t let the industry off the hook when it comes to delivering the long-term objective of a better market for all customers.”

Price comparison sites showed that EDF’s standard tariff was now more than £300 higher than the cheapest deal on the market, and had become one of the more expensive standard tariffs on offer. Customers on cheaper fixed deals are often stung when those contracts come to an end, because they default on to more expensive standard tariffs.

Mark Todd, co-founder of the switching site energyhelpline, said: “This second price rise from EDF is a total shock. If you are impacted you must switch to avoid this price rise.”

However, figures released on Wednesday showed the number of people switching to different suppliers is increasing only slowly, with 536,658 customers changing supplier in March compared with 420,014 a year earlier.

MPs said EDF’s move showed why the government needed to intervene. “The energy market is manifestly not working and the government needs to step in to protect the vast majority of consumers who find themselves on these standard tariffs,” said Conservative MP John Penrose, who has been lobbying for a relative price cap, whereby the most expensive deals are capped in relation to the cheapest ones.

EDF claimed it was softening the impact on customers by deferring the rise until the summer, when people use less energy.

The company also said wholesale prices were a third higher than a year ago. But this drew a sharp response from the industry watchdog, Ofgem, which said it had not seen a dramatic rise in wholesale prices since EDF’s last increase.

Dermot Nolan, the regulator’s chief executive, said: “Ofgem and the government are working on a raft of reforms to ensure fairer treatment for consumers and to make the market smarter and more competitive. Today’s announcement is further evidence of the need for change.”

Nolan told MPs in February that Ofgem had the power to impose a price cap on tariffs but only if directed to do so by the government.

Many analysts believe some sort of regulatory intervention by May’s government is now highly likely, with experts at Barclays saying it was “almost inevitable”. The main impact of a price cap would be to significantly dent the profit margin that suppliers make on each customer.

Last year the competition watchdog ended a lengthy inquiry into the industry by pulling back from plans for a temporary cap on bills, opting instead for measures to help customers switch to cheaper deals.


ScottishPower chief Keith Anderson hits out at UK Government gas and electricity bill price cap plans

ScottishPower chief Keith Anderson has rounded on UK Government plans for a price cap on gas and electricity bills claiming it could harm competition.

Anderson said the Government should instead make the “bold move” to scrap standard variable tariffs (SVTs) and only use price caps as punishment for firms that fail to move customers on to better value fixed deals.

ScottishPower hiked its SVT raised last month, with electricity prices rising by 10.8 per cent and gas by 4.7 per cent.

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green confirmed last weekend the Government will cap energy prices if it wins the General Election in June.

Iain Conn, who heads British Gas parent Centrica, warned on Tuesday a price cap could turn his group into a loss-making business.

Anderson notes in ScottishPower’s first quarter update: “A potential price cap could harm competition, so the bold move by Government would be to set a deadline to abolish SVTs and get every customer on a fixed-price deal instead.”

He added: “The Government could impose a target that two out of three customers should be on a deal by the end of 2018, and all customers on a deal by the end of 2019 with SVT abolished once and for all.

“Any company that fails to meet these targets should have a price cap not only imposed but retained until all their customers are on deals.”

Anderson said customers need to ensure they switch providers regularly to get the best tariffs.

“Just as you insure your car every year and go to the market for the best deal for you, so every energy customer should engage with the market at least once a year to make sure they are on the best deal for them,” he said.

ScottishPower’s first quarter results show its retail supply business saw profits fall by £81m, which it blamed on higher costs and mild weather conditions at the start of the year.

The drop in retail supply earnings helped push total underlying earnings across UK generatio nand supply down 73 per cent to £47m.

ScottishPower said it managed to stem customer churn in Q1, with gas and electricity accounts edging up to 5.5 million from 5.4 million a year earlier as it focused on offering attractive fixed rate deals.

Spanish parent Iberdrola saw group net profits fall 4.7 per cent to €827.6m (£704.8m) in the first quarter.


UK’s cheapest energy supplier closes doors to new customers

The independent energy company behind the retail market’s cheapest deal has shut its doors to new consumers amid concern over its mounting complaints and wafer thin cash reserves.

Iresa Energy is one of almost fifty challenger brands to the big six legacy suppliers but it has set itself apart by offering a rock bottom dual fuel supply tariff at an average price of £834 a year.

However, the company has slammed the brakes on its rising popularity after the regulator warned the company to get a handle on an increasing number of complaints from its customers.

“We told Iresa they needed to resolve this problem and have asked them to explain to us how they will ensure that it is easy for their customers to contact them and provide them with a level of customer service they are entitled to,” he said.

Iresa was not available to comment on its customer service or its decision to close the supplier to new customers.

The company’s meagre cash balance has also raised concern that Iresa may be the next casualty of rising energy company costs after the collapse of GB Energy due to the steady rise of wholesale market prices and other costs.

Iresa held just over £12,300 in cash and debt of almost £90,000 at the end of 2015 according to its most recent publicly available financial results which were posted to Companies House in September.

Ofgem has raised hackles among established energy companies by stopping short of setting minimum collateral requirements for new suppliers.

Instead it oversees a scheme which bails out the customers of failed energy companies using a safety net paid for by other suppliers, many of whom may have lost customers to under-funded suppliers offering unsustainably cheap deals.


A Consensus Busting Election on Energy Policy?

Contradicting months of definitive denials about the prospect of a general election, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a snap election this morning, set to take place on 8 June. Purdah could commence on the 4th May five weeks ahead of election day.

It is widely expected that the election will be dominated by Brexit. That’s no great surprise. But the presence of so dominant a single issue, and in the context of an opposition in obvious difficulties, the real question is what latitude this gives to the Conservative Party to push the envelope on other policy areas? These factors leave plenty of less illuminated space in their manifesto, to pursue what would otherwise be considered difficult or controversial policies. The temptation is obvious if these positions are likely to poorly scrutinised or challenged by opposition parties with eyes on internecine warfare (Labour) or on Brexit (Liberal Democrats). One area of obvious attraction to certain parts of the Conservative Party will be to continue to erode levels of commitment to dealing with climate change, and to decarbonisation.

The Conservative journey down this road has already begun, and continues a pathway set out in the last election manifesto in 2015.The Cameron era manifesto centred on “affordable, reliable energy” being “critical to our economy, to our national security, and to family.” Specific pledges included banning any new onshore wind and promoting competition through implementing the recommendations of the Competition and Markets Authority investigation.

We have already seen the abandonment of Carbon Capture and Storage competition, the erosion of financial support for renewables and the sudden change to Levy Exemption Certificates. In the last few weeks we have heard rumours that the government are effectively set to abandon their pursuit of the EU 2020 targets, and very powerful conservative voices put their names to the recent House of Lords report on energy policy that urged the journey towards prioritisation of cost and security of supply to accelerate. Furthermore, statements from BEIS and the Prime Minister about Big Six price rises being “unacceptable” may signal a manifesto commitment of action on energy prices and reinforce the weighting given to affordability ahead of carbon reduction.  The political spotlight generally has recently fallen on domestic energy prices in recent weeks and months though, and give the recent Parliamentary debate on the issue that garnered cross party support for intervention, we would expect all party manifestos to include a pledge to rein perceptions of unfair price differentials with some form of price freeze or cap

The only novel policy ideas recently have centred on the increasing prominence of the Industrial Strategy and government support and focus on key areas of the economy.

Generally, it is clear that the trilema has already been very nearly toppled off its perch in this Parliament by a dualema in form if not in legislative substance, where security of supply and cost of policy take pre-eminence over decarbonisation.

Whether the voices proposing further movements in this direction within the current government win out or not in explicit policy commitments in the conservative election manifesto this time is not a given. The Conservative Party is a broad church and there are plenty of climate change activists in its ranks. However, there is a clear ideological thread that appears to link Brexiteer factions and climate change scepticism. In the current balance of party power that prevails that may tip the balance towards an agenda that really shakes up the cross party, low carbon energy policy consensus. This is a consensus that has existed at least since the turn of the millennium, and is emblematically embodied in the Climate Change Act 2008.

Arguably, with this election we are as close as we have ever been to a reversal in policy that could threaten the 2008 Act. It doesn’t mean that there will a manifesto commitment to its repeal but even considering the risk of it happening is is a profound state of affairs and signals just how far the energy policy landscape has changed, and how quickly.

Whether we see this radical shift remains to be seen. In any event  an immediate and real impact of the election is the uncertainty and delay this will bring to much needed policies. So, at the very least it will put back much needed changes and refinements to policy, even if the current shaky accommodation of the trilemma is maintained.

Unless we see a slew of rapid policy announcements, then Purdah will mean the effective shutting down of BEIS and Ofgem as only day to day operations are maintained. What were expected to be imminent key decisions and policies now become immediately uncertain, in substance and timing. These include:

The expected green paper on effective competition in the domestic energy retail market
The timing of the next Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction
A raft of comprehensive reforms to embedded benefits (CUSC modifications CMP264/265, a Targeted Charging Review, and potential a Significant Code Review
The Smart Energy call for evidence and the anticipated follow up consultations on a wide range of related areas
The promised new accounting controls for low-carbon scheduled for November, but can this timetable now be met?
Similarly, a decision on the Carbon Price Support for the period post 2021 was due “later this year” but again now this seems challenging, particularly given the complex inter-dependency with whether we continue to participate in the EU ETS scheme
2025 coal closure policy
The Emissions Reduction Plan that the BEIS press office even this morning maintained would be released “shortly”
The UK was already on the cusp of an energy infrastructure investment hiatus because of Brexit, the possibility of a further Scottish Independence referendum, as well as the poor management of policy changes in areas such as embedded benefit reform. The election announcement merely adds to this unhelpful cocktail , adding considerably to the many unanswered questions hanging over UK energy policy. It may even be a direct contributor to further uncertain political inflexion points. For example, if the SNP takes 55+ seats, again then the calls for a second Scottish independence referendum will only become more deafening.

So, at the very least the election on June 8 will herald challenges in making timely decisions on the critical policies we adopt in pursuit of the destination of a low carbon future. However, we believe, more fundamentally, it may also change that destination altogether.