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Independent Networks Association

INA Advocates for Regulatory Reforms to Boost UK Utility Sectors

In response to the government’s consultation on strengthening the economic regulation of the energy, water, and telecoms sectors, the Independent Networks Association (INA) has laid out a series of recommendations aimed at enhancing competition, choice, and service quality across these critical industries. The INA, representing the UK’s independent network operators, underscores the pivotal role these entities play in connecting gas, electricity, water, and wastewater distribution networks that service millions of households and businesses throughout Great Britain.

The response highlights several key areas for reform, including the need for a more streamlined licensing application process for New Appointments and Variations (NAVs) in the water sector. The current process, described as lengthy and duplicative, is seen as a significant barrier to entry for new participants. The INA supports the proposal to adopt a national licensing regime similar to that for independent electricity and gas distribution companies, which would allow NAVs to compete more effectively across England and Wales.

Additionally, the INA calls for measures to address transparency and variability in incumbents’ tariffs for bulk water services, advocating for a standardised charging methodology to foster greater competition. The association also supports the creation of a single multi-sector Priority Services Register to ensure equitable treatment of vulnerable customers across utility sectors.

Vicki Spiers, Chair of the INA, emphasised the importance of these reforms, stating, “The recommendations we have put forward are essential for fostering a competitive, fair, and efficient utility market. By addressing these regulatory barriers, we can unlock innovation, improve services for consumers, and ensure a sustainable future for the UK’s utility sectors.”

These proposed changes, according to the INA, are crucial for promoting greater competition, enhancing service delivery, and ensuring environmental compliance, thereby benefiting consumers across the UK’s energy, water, and telecoms landscapes.


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