Each of the public utilities - electricity and gas supply, communications, and water supply - conforms to a broadly similar regulatory model. Each industry has an economic regulator responsible for policing the overall regulatory framework for the sector, and in particular for monitoring the behaviour and competitive practices of utility companies.
Scrutiny of utility companies on behalf of consumers’ interests is undertaken by consumer councils or committees, some of which have statutorily defined duties to investigate consumer complaints and to provide information and advice to consumers (by, for instance, publishing information on utility companies’ performance and on complaints against them).
In each sector, the regulator has a distinct role and function from that of the consumer scrutiny body. However, they work closely together and the terms of their working relationship may be formalised in a memorandum of understanding between the regulator and the consumer body.