Utility Week

Utility Week 24th January 2020

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 24TH - 30TH JANUARY 2020 | 3 This week 4 | Seven days 6 | Interview Sarah McMath, chief executive, MOSL 10 | New deal for utilities What does the debate about a fairer contract for the regions mean for energy and water companies? 15 Policy & Regulation 15 | News SSEN to model impact of local energy plans 16 | Market view Complaint handling under the spotlight 17 | Market view Tackling the threat of climate change litigation 19 Finance & Investment 19 | News Ovo acquires SSE's retail arm for £500m 20 | Analysis The fog of political uncertainty has cleared in the wake of the general election 22 Operations & Assets 22 | High viz Work starts on the Dogger Bank wind farm 24 | Market view Utilities make a tempting target for cyber-criminals. 25 | Utility of the Future There is a lucrative global market for digitalising water, and UK plc must ensure it gets a share 26 | Analysis Blueprint for an EV rollout 29 Customers 29 | News Water firms must link bonuses to delivery 30 Community 31 | Disconnector Utility Webinar on asset management – now available Pioneering applications of asset data capture are showcased in a Mobileye and Ordnance Survey webi- nar, that shows how artificial intelligence is helping utilities track the precise location of roadside assets. Northumbrian Water Group has become the first utility company in the UK to join the project. Its vans will be fitted with Mobileye's automotive camera- based mapping technology. Electricity North West discusses its Network Man- agement System project to build a full network model from a GIS and asset register, and how the asset management team prepared their data to enable this. https://bit.ly/3atnLdf Leader Suzanne Heneghan Power shift You know a regional revolution could really be on the cards when the government floats the idea of a "Lords of the North" and no-one seems too surprised. This weekend's confirmation from the Tory Party chairman that relocating the upper chamber from the capital was among a "range of options" being considered by government to "reconnect" politics with voters outside London, might have seemed ludicrous only a few months back. It probably still does to those shocked peers who'd been expecting to trot across the road to the QEII Centre while Parliament was being refurbished, rather than potentially trekking up to the reported alterna- tives of York or Birmingham. Yet setting aside any potential commuting issues for their lordships, this story mainly signals how the new administration in Downing Street appears to be genuinely committed to delivering on its elec- tion pledge to unify the UK and redress the balance of the nation's economic and political power bases. Of course, it's still early days for Boris Johnson's cabinet. The jury remains out on what will ultimately shake down from the whole regional growth narrative. But if campaign promises are delivered on, they could spell land- mark change for those companies – not least energy and water utilities – with real regional skin in the game. Up until the weekend's revelations, the key focus of regional development had largely been transport – particularly the ongoing rows about the burgeoning cost of HS2, and funding east-to-west rail connections linking northern towns with Manchester and Leeds. Yet servicing this huge level of increased local activity will make significant calls on the utilities industry. And it is with this strategic political moment in mind that this week we launch a new series of Utility Week content (see p10), exploring just how the government's new regional growth agenda will affect the sec- tor and its legitimacy among the communities it serves. With its focus on fairer outcomes for consumers and industrial strategy, our new series is a natural follow-on from our 2019 New Deal for Utilities campaign. We will be looking at what "levelling up" – particularly between the North and the South – could mean in practice for energy and water companies, politically, operationally, financially and in terms of future regulation. Because what started out sounding like political vote-chasing rhetoric is now fast-showing real signs of becoming radical government policy. Suzanne Heneghan, editor, suzanneheneghan@fav-house.com COVER STORY 10 | New deal for utilities How will regional growth benefit utilities? INTERVIEW 6 | Sarah McMath of water market operator MOSL ANALYSIS 20 | Political fog lifts over Westminster ANALYSIS 26 | Blueprint for an electric vehicle rollout

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