Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« +++Journal editor resigns+++ | Main | Bad journalism »

DECC changes its mind

Readers may remember that I had FOId the Department of Energy and Climate Change regarding a meeting held between the minister, Greg Barker, and representatives of the energy retail industry (ERA). I had been intrigued by an agenda item referring to "information on consumers' bills" and was wondering if the retailers had been wanting to disclose the cost of the government's panoply of green initiatives.

DECC initially said they had nothing in connection with the meeting - remarkably, no minutes appear to have been kept - so I queried this remarkable state of affairs. They have now released the briefing paper prepared for the minister, heavily redacted, although they insist that there is no record of the meeting. It appears that my surmise about the content of the meeting was incorrect - the discussion appears to have revolved around ministers trying to get the retailers to state their cheapest tariff on all consumer bills.

I was amused by ERA's letter to the minister:

Firstly. may we take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment as Minister of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change The Energy Retail Association (ERA) and Energy UK warmly welcome your appointment at this crucial time for Britain.

Energy suppliers have been very grateful in the past for the support of you and your party on key issues affecting the industry. The forthcoming energy Bill will provide a key platform with which to guarantee energy security as well as smooth the transition to a low carbon economy. From policies such as the Green Deal, to the creation of a green investment bank, we very much hope that our organisations can provide you with support and information to develop practical solutions and policies.

It's a bit yicky isn't it?

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (15)

So it wasn't a meeting but a drinks party then?

At least Harold Wilson kept written records during his "Beer and Sandwiches" with the Unions

Sep 2, 2011 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Political toadying at it's most blatant! When I was a schoolboy, this sort of behaviour toward teachers (who were automatically 'the enemy', even if we recognised some of them were actually decent people) was known as 'greasing' or 'sucking up'. Are the letter-writers at the ERA mentally out of short pants yet?

Sep 2, 2011 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

All too cosy Bish, much too cosy.

For starters a "standard tariff" should be compiled and once a year on the same date every supplier should be made to put a price to the standard tariff. The standard tariff must show a complete, tax, green etc breakdown of the cost make up. This will allow consumers to evalute the performance of individual suppliers. Suppliers can go on to introduce their own consumer confusing multi-various variations on the standard tariff, but every supplier must individually price the standard tariff.

At present it is almost impossible to evaluate between suppliers and we just cannot find out how much the energy costs and how much is the tax burden, which is far from being an equitable situation.

Sep 2, 2011 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

I bet that is not what the ERA rep reported back to his colleagues!

Sep 2, 2011 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

You have to like the taste of suede.

Sep 2, 2011 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Can only be described as a "symbiotic relationship"
"a relationship between people or organizations that depend on each other equally"
As green Sands states, all too cosy.

Sep 2, 2011 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia


I've only just grabbed my lunch.

Sep 2, 2011 at 3:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

<blockquote cite="The forthcoming energy Bill will provide a key platform with which to guarantee energy security as well as smooth the transition to a low carbon economy."

These people are clearly living in la la land.

Sep 2, 2011 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

I have taken the liberty of reading the DECC's reply to you dated yesterday.

It rather makes any FOI look pretty toothless.

Basically they are saying that we didn't take any 'minutes' intentionally
as there was no point as we had no intention of disclosing them to anyone in any case.
(As) 'frankness would inevitably be inhibited and Ministers would be prevented from taking decisions based on the fullest understanding of the issues. In our view, therefore, the balance of the public interest clearly lies in withholding this information'

(Contemporaneous 'notes' were almost certainly taken by everyone but these are NOT covered by the FOI Act).

This seems to set the precedent that any FOI to a government body can be treated in this cavalier fashion.

It is not in the spirit of the Act and the information is very much in the public interest but not in the interest of a self serving 'greenista' government who would rather keep us, literally,
in the dark.

Sep 2, 2011 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick

"It appears that my surmise about the content of the meeting was incorrect......."

Not necessarily.

In fact both parties could have agreed a Quid Pro Quo - "If the Government forces our industry to publish our cheapest tariff on our bills, we'll also publish the costs of the Green Taxes."

"OK, let's let's save paper & printing ink."

Sep 2, 2011 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Pity they couldn't spell your name right. Unless you have become Mr. Mountford.

Sep 2, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterStirling English

Bish...Could you do another FOI thing on how much the ERA claims for staff to have their tongues scrapped to remove defecated detritus? Even Sir Humphrey would blush at that nether region worship!

Sep 2, 2011 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

No records kept means a good reason not to make them and that is the ability deny things where said or arguments were made that they rather the public did not know about , after all no one can show a record that they were , can they?

Sep 2, 2011 at 8:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

So the former Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now transmuted into the Department of Energy and Climate Change Alliance (DECCA)
Apart from possible copyright infringements, isn't there a possible conflict of interests in taking on the brandname of a company that was formed in 1929, the year of the great depression, with the aim of producing records with an organisation that seems committed to the non-production of records?

Sep 2, 2011 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

'.......with which to guarantee energy security as well as smooth the transmission to a low carbon economy.'......
Er....... one or the other - but not both, methinks.....

Sep 3, 2011 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>