Part of the debate – in the House of Commons am 12:03 pm ar 24 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Clean Power and Consumers) 12:03, 24 Mai 2024

I will start my brief remarks with a few words about my hon. Friend Dr Whitehead, who would ordinarily be speaking to this motion and is standing down at the election. I appreciate that “brief remarks” and “few words” are not phrases that we would usually associate with my hon. Friend, but there is a good reason for that. He is one of those parliamentarians who have a really deep knowledge of his subject and are completely across his brief. He has campaigned on these issues for many years in this place, and has played a vital role in informing Labour policy for the future. Whenever I met stakeholders during my brief tenure in the energy and net zero team, it was very clear that he was widely respected by everybody in energy and net zero, as well as across this House. We wish him all the very best for the future. Parliament will miss his expertise and his commitment to tackling climate change.

Turning to the motion, we do not intend to object to this instrument, as the measures are generally consequential to elements of the Energy Act 2023, which we supported. The creation of a new body, ISOP, now the National Energy System Operator, is essential to managing and planning the expansion and operation of our energy system as we transition to net zero. Labour called for the creation of this body as a “system architect”. We have been encouraged by the early steps the current Electricity System Operator has made in preparing for its new role. We therefore agree that establishing its legislative basis fully is an urgent priority, and I am glad we have managed to address that in the wash-up.

We also have no objections to the new governance framework for gas and electricity codes. We support establishing the Ofgem-licensed code manager role, as it is a sensible improvement to the current system, given the importance of gas and electricity codes to the smooth technical operation of our energy system. Other miscellaneous amendments in this statutory instrument include those made as a result of the Energy Act’s provision to regulate heat networks and create heat network zones. Heat network regulation has for too long been a blind spot, and some consumers have had to pay significantly higher bills as a result. So I emphasise again how important these new regulations are, and I hope that we can make sure they are in force as soon as possible in the next Parliament, whatever composition it might have.

Finally, Madam Deputy Speaker, let me say that you are my favourite Deputy Speaker. I thank you for your service to this House and to the people of Doncaster, and for the great support you have given to me in my nine years here and to many Labour colleagues. We all wish you all the very best for the future.