Spottiswoode signals her intention to step down
Saturday 04 October 1997
Ms Spottiswoode, who is paid a salary of pounds 90,000, is understood to be reluctant to continue as gas regulator when her five-year contract at Ofgas, the industry watchdog, comes up for renewal on 31 October 1998. In most previous cases regulators have been asked to stay at the helm for a second term. However, Ms Spottiswoode has warned she is unlikely to commit herself for another five years, though she has not made a final decision.
She would be the second utility regulator to leave the job since Labour came to power. Last month Don Cruickshank, the telephones regulator, said he had decided not to ask for another five-year term at the helm of Oftel, insisting he was looking for new challenges.
It is understood Ms Spottiswoode shares the same worries about her position at Ofgas, after full domestic gas competition is introduced across the UK next summer. She believes most of the big challenges involved in reforming the gas market would have been addressed, leaving her a reduced role in the future.
The much touted merger of Ofgas and Offer, the electricity watchdog, would have encouraged Ms Spottiswoode to seek another term. But she has apparently received no steer from the Department of Trade on when the rationalisation would take place, if at all.
John Battle, industry minister, has previously indicated he would favour a merger on the grounds that many companies, such as British Gas, are to sell both gas and power. However, Mr Battle has suggested it would be better to wait until the domestic electricity market has opened up, a process which is due to take place next year but is widely expected to be delayed.
It was unclear yesterday whether Ms Spottiswoode had told the Government of her likely decision, though ministers are aware of her keenness to merge Offer and Ofgas. The DTI is reviewing utility regulation and is due to publish a Green Paper on the whole system in December.
Ms Spottiswoode's reign at Ofgas has been controversial. She persuaded the Conservative government to push new gas legislation through parliament as the precursor to domestic competition. Trials of residential competition have been a success, despite concerns about billing difficulties and doorstep selling tactics.
Another success was the victory over price controls for the former British Gas's pipeline business, Transco. But in recent months she has been under pressure, with fears that low-income customers were getting little benefit from competition, and concerns about selective price cuts introduced by British Gas.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
iJobs Money & Business
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...
Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...