Power Regulation

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Our Energy & Climate Change team is comprised of individuals with deep sectoral knowledge who have helped shape the regulatory regime for electricity and gas in GB and across the world. We have a team fully devoted to the energy sector that is one of the largest in the UK and a recognised leader in the field having won the Energy and Infrastructure Team of the Year at the Legal Business Awards 2017 and the Energy Team of the Year at The Lawyer Awards in both 2016 and 2017.  We have been ranked in Band 1 for Energy in Legal 500 and Chambers since those rankings have existed. 

Our knowledge of all of the UK and EU regulatory and competition regimes means we have an unrivalled knowledge of the relevant sector-specific European and UK primary and secondary legislation. Our energy team has particular expertise in the electricity transmission and distribution sector. 

We have been advising in the energy sector for over 25 years and been at the forefront of creating many of the innovative and ground-breaking elements of the industry structures and markets, including writing the various electricity codes.

The team regularly advises on interactions and matters with economic regulators and related bodies (such as Ofgem, Ofwat, the Utility Regulator in Northern Ireland, BEIS and the CMA).   The team is recognised as a “go to” adviser for the sector in navigating industry and regulatory frameworks in the UK and across the world, with advisers who are steeped in an understanding of the legal, political and practical constraints faced by policy makers, regulators and the sectors they regulate.  

CMS’ range of advice spans from helping clients in responding to policy consultations and has significant success in raising legal issues in a way that will encourage regulators and policy makers to take submissions into account and ultimately reconsider their positions all the way through to judicial review and CMA appeals.  The team also regularly helps clients with correspondence with regulators, which can be particularly sensitive where these are in contemplation of a judicial review or regulatory appeal.   

Our recent experience related to power regulation includes:

New approaches to network regulation and regulatory models

  • National Grid Electricity Transmission on Ofgem’s proposed application of the “Competition Proxy Model” to the Hinkley-Seabank transmission line.
  • SSE Energy Networks on its response to Ofgem’s consultation on the application of the “SPV” model. 
  • NeuConnect and Greenlink on their responses to Ofgem’s consultation on potential variations to the “cap-and-floor” model to support project finance. 

Political and regulatory interventions in the sector

  • SSE Energy Services on its responses to Ofgem’s consultations on the default tariff price cap pursuant to the Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Act 2018.
    Utilita, the prepayment meter specialist supplier, on its (ultimately successful) request to the CMA to review the design of the prepayment meter price cap, including advising on Utilita’s interactions with Ofgem to persuade them to write to the CMA.  

Price controls and regulated revenue streams

  • Cadent Gas Networks on its the RIIO-GD2 price control and subsequent appeal.
  • Gas Networks Ireland on interactions with Ofgem (on licensing requirements) and with the Utility Regulator (on licence modifications), as well as on its response to the Utility Regulator’s consultation on the GT17 price control.   
  • AES UK and Ireland on its interactions with the Utility Regulator following its failure to obtain capacity contracts in the new ISEM Capacity Market on the island of Ireland. 

Regulator interactions

  • Confidential clients on Ofgem enforcement action in relation to alleged breaches of supply licences.
  • Confidential clients on the rejection of requests for additional allowances under uncertainty mechanisms.
  • Confidential clients on regulatory investigations and enforcement actions under distribution and transmission licences
  • Power NI Energy Supply and the Power Procurement Business over many years on interactions with the Utility Regulator on regulatory matters, including price controls. 

To find out more about other related services you can visit the Energy & Climate Change expertise section

"CMS are responsive, knowledgeable (about the law, the market and their client), and efficient in delivery."

Legal 500, 2021

“They do not waste time on unnecessary activity, but focus on the client request and execute it."

Legal 500, 2021

"Experts in their field. They worked seamlessly with our in-house legal and business teams – including on strategic presentations to the board. They have provided business appropriate, strategic advice under time pressure."

Legal 500, 2022

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