About consultations

As the energy regulator across England, Scotland, and Wales (Great Britain), we consult when we need to develop our policies and regulation.

Calls for input

Calls for input are different to our formal consultations and do not go through the same formal stages as a consultation.

Our calls for input give you different ways to share and tell us your views about different energy topics. We may carry out seminars, workshops, surveys, opinion polls, focus groups or meetings to gather ideas.

The views you share may be used to develop consultations, but are not part of the formal consultation process.


Consultations have to go through different formal stages before we can make policy changes. A statutory consultation is used when we want to make legal changes to a policy, such as changes to energy licence conditions.

How and why we consult

It is important that we have as clear a picture as possible of the implications of our policies before we implement them.

We ask for views and ideas so that we can make informed decisions on the changes or proposals we want to make. This is part of our commitment to be fair, transparent and open in everything we do. Consulting allows us to do this fairly, transparently, and openly, so we act on the best evidence we can get.

When we consult

Getting your views early means that we can make better decisions. It also helps to build understanding and move towards an agreement aimed at protecting current and future energy consumers.

Consulting with you and getting your views early in the policy making process means that the topic can be discussed and helps to make sure that we look at all policy options before making our final decision.

How long we consult for

Consultations last for different amounts of time depending on the topics they cover.

We follow the UK government’s consultation principles guidance. The guidance includes advice on how long consultations should be open for, what we should do if a consultation period includes holidays such as Christmas and what happens during election periods.

Simple, clear consultations

We follow the UK government’s consultation principles guidance to help make our consultations simple and clear. But we are always looking for ways to improve our consultations and make them easier to understand and respond to. We know that some of our policy areas are complex and can be highly technical. But we aim to present them as clearly as possible for their intended audience, use plain English, and make them as short and succinct as we can.

We would like your feedback about our calls for input and consultations. Please use the feedback form and tell us your views. Your feedback will help us to improve the way we carry out our consultations.

Impact assessments

By law we must publish an impact assessment if we are proposing to do something related to our functions under the Gas Act or the Electricity Act.

Responses and decisions

We will consider all responses we receive before the consultation deadline, focusing especially on the evidence you provide to support your views. We will also take account of comments people make in workshops, seminars or other meetings that we hold during the policy development process.

We cannot accept any responses submitted after the consultation deadline, and we cannot reply in detail to every submission.

What we do next will depend on many factors, including how controversial the topic is, other issues raised in the consultation that we hadn’t previously anticipated, or dramatic changes to external events. We’ll try to keep you informed along the way.


We publish all non-confidential responses on the consultation activity as part of the consultation outcomes. Before you submit your responses to a call for input or consultation, you will be asked if you would like us to publish your responses. If you agree, we will ask you what details we can publish.

For example, if you agree for us to publish your response, we will publish it as part of the consultation outcomes. You can tell us if you would like us to include details like your name and organisation you work for or, if you’d like us to keep your response anonymous.

If you choose to remain anonymous your response will be published with a number instead of your name.

If you choose for us not to publish your response. we will keep it confidential, but we will publish the number of confidential responses we receive as part of the outcomes of the consultation.

Confidentiality is subject to any obligations to disclose information, for example, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

If the information you give in your response contains personal data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018, the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority will be the data controller. We use the information in responses in performing our statutory functions and in accordance with section 105 of the Utilities Act 2000.

If necessary, we’ll get in touch with you to discuss which parts of the information in your response should be kept confidential, and which can be published, and we might ask for reasons.

We will not link responses to respondents if we publish a summary of responses, and we will evaluate each response on its own merits without undermining your confidentiality rights.

Our legal duties

We are required to consult where there is an explicit statutory requirement for us to do so, and we must exercise our statutory duties in line with our public law duty to act in a fair and reasonable way. We may also consult if a duty arises under the common law duty/public law principle of procedural fairness. Although there is no general common law duty to consult people who may be affected by a decision, a duty to consult arises if there is a legitimate expectation that we will do so.

A legitimate expectation may arise when:

There’s enough interest in a matter to found such an expectation (for example where a radical change is proposed, or where a large number of people are likely to be significantly affected, or perhaps where a small number of people are likely to be severely affected to their detriment) ie, a failure to consult would result in conspicuous unfairness.

A public body has promised to carry out a consultation on the particular issue.

A public body has previously carried out consultations in similar 

The public body has a relevant consultation policy or other policy, and the subject matter falls within the criteria for consultation in that policy.

Many of our consultations have huge sums of money at stake, and those who are materially affected by our decisions have a right to know about this and to make sure we hear their views before we take such decisions.

When we do consult, we must consult fairly. What is fair will depend on the particular circumstances but we must consult in accordance with these four basic principles (the Gunning principles):

When proposals are still at a formative stage (when the responses to the consultation can still influence the outcome).

There must be good reasons for particular proposals. 

There must be adequate time for consideration and response.

Responses must be conscientiously taken into account.

A good consultation may also set out some options, and explain why we prefer one of them over the others.