Outlook: New regulator can get it right this time

LIKE OUR NEW telecoms watchdog, the man who seems to be on a shortlist of one for the job of Britain's first combined energy regulator, has one important thing going for him. Callum McCarthy is available. Not right now, you understand, since he is on an extended walking holiday in the south of France.

Whether it is the walking or the holiday that has been extended is less clear. But as far as full-time employment goes, Mr McCarthy is fit and available for work, as they say down the JobCentre, having quit his post as chief executive of Barclays' US operations in April.

The financial rewards that come with being a regulator - even one charged with doing the work of two men (alright one man and one woman) - are modest by investment banking standards. The going rate for the job of regulating the gas and electricity industries is pounds 120,000 or more for an "exceptional candidate". Even if Mr McCathy fits that bill, the remuneration will still be nothing compared to what he could have earned had he stuck with Barclays.

It is reasonable to assume that the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry was not exactly knocked down by the rush of candidates applying for the post. In previous job searches, the Government's headhunters have had to comb the groves of academe to find suitable material.

Hardly surprising since the salaries are not competitive with private sector rates while the job itself is a thankless task. Squeezed between consumers who rarely think they get a fair share of the cake, and companies who resent the fact that their prices are controlled at all, the job of regulator is indeed a lonely one.

Henceforth, it will not be quite as lonely as it used to be. In virtually her last act in charge at the Department of Trade and Industry, Margaret Beckett decreed that individual regulators should be replaced by full- time executive boards comprising a chairman and two others. Mr McCarthy's first task as chairman will be his most important one - deciding where the boardroom will be. The choice is between London, the current home of the outgoing gas regulator Clare Spottiswoode, or Birmingham, where the electricity regulator Stephen Littlechild has his billet.

Having run the show for Barclays in both Japan and America, the much- travelled Mr McCarthy may think nothing of shuttling between the two for a while. But ultimately he will only need one headquarters. Staff at Ofgas and Offer would probably like to know whether he kept a pied a terre over here while he was on his travels, and, if so, where.

Once the housekeeping has been sorted out, he has the task of making the deregulated domestic power market work. Given the teething troubles of gas liberalisation, the opening up of the domestic electricity market from this autumn has the capacity to turn into a fiasco of interesting proportions. If that proves to be the case, then Professor Littlechild may be less keen to spend that much time handling over the reins to his successor.

The really big job facing the regulator is to help decide what the energy market will look like in five years time and how many players it will have. With PowerGen awaiting approval for its takeover of East Midlands, London Electricity quite pos

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

KYC Analyst, Birmingham - £200-£250 p/d

£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone