Ofgem picks 11 firms for £3m panel following six-month review

Eleven firms including Addleshaw Goddard, Bevan Brittan and SNR Denton have made it onto electricity and gas regulator Ofgem’s £3m panel following a review.

Bond Pearce, Burges Salmon, Hogan Lovells, Maclay Murray & Spens, Nabarro, Pinsent Masons, Sharpe Pritchard and Simmons & Simmons also made it onto the panel to advise on the work of Ofgem E Serve, whcih is a division of Ofgem focused on administering environmental and fuel poverty reduction programmes and the delivery of sustainability projects such as Offshore Transmission.

Ofgem launched the panel review in June 2012. The regulator was looking for firms with expertise in energy regulation, EU law, procurement, IP and IT, among other things, to advise it across London and Glasgow. On a scoring system technical merit was given the most weight at 60, followed by maximum rate schedule, which was weighted at 30, and quality assurance, availability of resources and assignment management requirements, which were together weighted at 10.

According to the public tender document, around 14 firms submitted for the contract, which is valued at around £3m excluding VAT. It is not known which firms were unsuccessful.

Before appointing this panel, Ofgem said that it was using the Government Procurement Service panel select law firm advisers, and can still use that framework. The last time The Lawyer wrote about an Ofgem panel review was in 2005, when the regulator appointed nine firms – Brodies, Burges Salmon, Herbert Smith, Lovells, Maclays, Nabarro Nathanson, Norton Rose, Olswang and Simmons (21 February 2005) – beefing up its previous roster of six.

SNR Denton’s appointment to the latest panel marks a return of sorts. Legacy firm Denton Wilde Sapte used to be on the panel but lost its place as a preferred adviser to Ofgem in 2002 (11 February 2002).

Bond Pearce, which was also successful in the latest panel review, last week agreed to merge with Dickinson Dees, creating a £95m firm (7 December 2012)

A spokesperson for Ofgem said: “The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority [Ofgem’s governing board] has now entered into a framework agreement with 11 legal firms to provide legal services on a call-off basis.

“The framework agreement commenced in October 2012 for an initial term of two years with an option to extend for up to a further two years.”