Utility Week

Utility Week 11th October 2019

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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UTILITY WEEK | 11TH - 17TH OCTOBER 2019 | 3 This week 4 | Seven days 6 Policy & Regulation 6 | News Quality of service in energy is 'declining' 7 | Chief executive's view David Smith, Energy Networks Association 8 | Analysis Ofgem chief's journey to the top 10 | Analysis Conservatives reveal their net zero plans 12 | Market view Assessing the environmental impact of generation 13 Finance & Investment 13 | News Pennon dismisses claims of break-up 16 Operations & Assets 16 | High viz Harlow Hill Water Tower, Harrogate 17 | Market view Lessons for utilities from the major hazard industries 18 | Awards case study Utility of the Year 20 | Market view Using private comms networks to collect water meter data 21 | Event UW subscribers hear about the perception of the UK abroad 23 Customers 23 | News Ofwat 'should listen to customers on PR19' 24 | Insight report Engage with customers using their preferred channel, not yours 29 | View from the top Ted Hopcroft, energy expert, PA Consulting 30 Community 31 | Disconnector DOWNLOAD: How to beat the digital disruptors at their own game https://bit.ly/2MfKXA8 See the Community section, page 30 If you are responsible for your company's outsourced or internal customer service centre we can deliver compelling cost savings to your business, with a typical rate for an FTE of just £10 per hour. Synergy operates an established Contact Centre in a modern and thriving part of Durban, South Africa employing experienced and highly educated staff. We already successfully work with a number of UK utilities across a range of services: If you would like to see our operation for yourself we can fly you, at our cost, to South Africa. Here we will give you a full tour of our facilities, a presentation on how we work and access to our professional teams. For further information please contact steve.cripwell@synergyoutsourcingltd.co.uk / 020 7932 4171 or toby.selves@synergyoutsourcingltd.co.uk / 020 7932 4116 IFS: Sponsored report: Getting Ahead in the Diversifying Energy Market https://bit.ly/2MXkFkI Leader Suzanne Heneghan The heat is on The speculation is finally over. Ofgem has named Jonathan Brearley as the man set to take on arguably the toughest job in regulation right now. And the heat is already on. In fact, as hot seats go, this one is fairly off the scale. Becoming chief executive of Ofgem at a time that even his chairman has branded one of "unparalleled change" will require an exceptional skill set, and a far-reaching vision of how industry might meet the great unknowns ahead on the UK's critical journey to net zero. He will need to be an arch diplomat, too, if he is to bring together a fragmented sector facing a gamut of ongoing challenges of its own. Shifing regulatory conditions, squeezed margins, unwelcome government interventions, bruising price controls and political and economic uncertainty increasingly equate to, as one source I spoke to this week put it, energy's "new normal". Add to this a transforming renewables landscape, suspended capacity market, the urgent narrative around addressing resilience, and the relentless rise of consumer needs and expectations, and it's one big in-tray. But this will not be uncharted territory for Brearley, Ofgem's cur- rent executive director for systems and networks, who masterminded electricity market reform (EMR), led the RIIO2 network price control programme and was a strategy director at the former Department of Energy and Climate Change. He is already on top of the brief, which was likely a key advan- tage at interview during a time when evolution not revolution may be viewed by Ofgem's upper echelon as the safest way forward. Conversely, the ripple of anti-climax in certain quarters following the announcement suggests some see a missed opportunity for a much-needed regulatory shake-up. But perhaps Brearley will have learnt some lessons. It was notice- able, for instance, that in a Utility Week interview in 2014, Brearley shared how, looking back on EMR, he "could have made some decisions faster, which would have got the schemes in a little bit quicker". Nimble decision-making will be vital for the new regula- tor as he comes under increasing pressure in the months and years ahead. There will be no time for a honeymoon period following Dermot Nolan's departure, possibly as early as February. With one energy retail chief executive recently characterising the struggling sector as being "on fire", it looks like it will be all hands to the pump. Suzanne Heneghan, editor, suzanneheneghan@fav-house.com See news story on regulators, p4 INSIGHT REPORT 24 | Use the right channels to engage with customers COVER STORY 8 | Ofgem's new chief UW charts Jonathan Brearley's rise to the top ANALYSIS 10 | Tories plot a path to net zero EVENT 21 | UW members hear about the perception of the UK abroad

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