Utilities Law Review - Volume 19 - Issue 4


Consumer Protection in the Energy Sector : The Possibility of Redress and the New Consumer Rights Directive
Gordon Downie, Partner and Natasha Durkin Associate
Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP Edinburgh

In this article the authors discuss two recent developments concerning consumer protection and redress affecting GB energy customers: first, the decision taken by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to empower the energy industry regulator, the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, to award redress to customers who are harmed by breaches of the regulatory system on the part of energy suppliers; and, second, the exercise being undertaken by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to implement the requirements of Directive 2011/83/EU (the Consumer Rights Directive) as it relates to energy customers.

Case Comments
The Marcic Principle and the Liability of Sewerage Undertakers in Common Law
Philip Taylor Wragge & Co, Birmingham

The new water bill for England and Wales has raised the prospect of competition in sewerage services which will raise questions as to the proper respective roles and liability of new entrants and incumbents.

Since the authoritative judgement of the House of Lords in Marcic there have been two notable judgements in relation to sewerage services, Dobson and Barrett Homes.

This paper examines the original Marcic and Dobson judgments and considers them afresh in the light of other cases and in the light of the new proposals under the Water Bill. Its contention is that the courts should take a more restrictive approach to common law actions and that the approach in Dobson should be refined. This may have read across in relation to other regulated sectors depending on the statutory context.

The Water White Paper and the Draft Water Bill
Debbie Legge
Associate Lecturer in Law, The Open University

This comment reviews the water white paper and the draft water bill, both built on the back of the Cave, Walker and Grey reports, into competition and innovation, charging and consumer representation. Debbie Legge sets out the new provision and comments on the key points and highlights the areas where there will be difficulties in reconciling the stated objectives.