Some interesting ideas. Im less in favour of the one simple tariff idea though. As we head into the smart meter and electric vehicle age (and potentially wide-scale home storage) I think we will need lots of innovative and experimental approaches to tariff design while suppliers figure out how to make best use of things like aggregation, demand-side management, time of use charging etc. Forcing suppliers to settle on one tariff is likely to lead to a potentially risky race to the bottom on price with corners cut at every opportunity at a time when we need you guys to be investing in the future and taking risks on as yet unproven business models and future technologies. I guess this is linked to point 8 to some extent but again I’m not sure it is the place of the energy market to be looking at new materials . This is very important but should be part of the new industrial strategy rather yet another (albeit necessary) investment that is being made stealthily through our bills.
On that topic, I would rather have more clarity on what our bills are paying for and would rather stuff like smart meters, renewable subsidies be paid for through general taxation or a carbon tax. I support many of the measures that go into the environmental and social policy cost part of our bills but it feels unethical to me that they are paid for in this way as hardly any of us really understand the full picture and this leads to lots of mis-information about the ‘green crap’ as our former prime minister once put it.
The obvious thing that the energy market should be doing for me is point 5 and that was the main reason I switched to Bulb from Ecotricity as it felt like your price based approach had most potential of driving change in the current climate of non-existent government support for established renewable technologies. We need to create as much incentive for renewables to be deployed as we can and desperately need a replacement for the RO in order to manage the next wave of mass deployment that will inevitably come at some stage in the next decade. Hopefully this can come naturally by companies like bulb learning to be both renewable and cheap and driving demand as their customer base grows but the energy ‘market’ is basically an artificial construction as I see it so you need to have government driving things if we are ever to push coal and gas off the grid quickly.
Decarbonising heating also strikes me as the next big challenge that we dont yet have answers to so that should be a higher priority in any market reform. I think efficiency could be better tackled through regulation elsewhere like housing market reform (e.g. landlords cant rent a property unless it has a B rating or above or progressively linking stamp duty to the energy rating of a property) or legislation to phase out old, inefficient technologies (eg halogen bulbs). If we are going to be stuck with a portion of our bills paying for strategic priorities like this then I would prefer it be focused on heating solutions, maybe a boiler scrappage scheme or incentives to switch to new electric heating technologies like heat pumps, far infra-red, electric boilers or green gas technologies.
I realise this is a bit of a rambling reply but hopefully of some use to you!