The list of secondees, which Greenpeace obtained under freedom of information (FOI) rules, showed that the head of capacity market design at the DECC is actually seconded for two years from Irish energy company ESB. This firm owns three gas-fired power plants in the UK.
In a separate industry document, the employee in question is named as Fergal McNamara. He is described as head of capacity at the DECC as well as a “government representative”.
DECC and ESB refused to confirm identity
When the Guardian contacted the ESB and DECC for comment, they failed to confirm his identity, however.
It was also revealed that a number of other employees of large gas companies are operating within the senior ranks of the government department.
Caroline Lucas: ‘Incredible’
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP, commented: “Ed Davey is trying to convince us that he’s taking a tough stand against the energy companies. How on earth are bill-payers supposed to take him seriously when they get reminders like this of the cosy relationship between government and the gas industry?
“It’s quite incredible that someone employed by a company that builds gas-fired power stations has such an influential role in government. Even more so given that rising gas prices are the main cause of energy bill increases in recent years.”
The aim of the “capacity market” is to ensure lights do not go out as older power stations are gradually shut down. It is to give energy companies millions of pounds whether the plants are generating or not so that if energy is needed it will be available.
The news comes after David Cameron last month ordered a review of all the levies on energy bills in a bid to find way to cut costs for consumers.