NIC targets competition in regulated industries

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will examine regulation of the UK’s energy, telecoms and water industries, including issues around competition.

Under the terms of the study, the NIC will cover four main areas:

  • What future changes will affect the regulated sectors: The National Infrastructure Assessment identified the UK’s infrastructure needs to 2050. The study will aim to set out the key drivers of change over the coming decades
  • Competition and innovation: whether the regulatory model encourages where appropriate, sufficient competition and innovation to support efficient delivery of infrastructure
  • Regulatory consistency: How regulators work together and collaborate on cross-cutting challenges and significant infrastructure projects
  • How government and regulators work together: How government can effectively deliver its objectives in these regulated sectors, while continuing to safeguard the independence of the regulators

“If the UK is to be a world leader in the latest technologies, we need a system of regulation that allows companies to be innovative, without being penalised for it,” said NIC chair Sir John Armitt.

“Our new study will examine how to strike the right balance and how companies and regulators alike can be ready to adapt to changes in future, while at the same time keeping bills affordable and protecting vulnerable customers.”

The regulated industries are increasingly looking to a range of models to boost investment and improve competition, including PPP-style models like Thames Tideway in the water sector and for onshore transmission assets in energy, as well as privately financed heat networks.