Utility Week

Utility Week 27th September 2013

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

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Policy & Regulation Green light Matthew Spencer Q: Will the wholesale roll out of smart meters disadvantage consumers in any way? 60% no disadvantage to consumers 33% some disadvantage to consumers 7% unsure Comments: "Smart metering is being administered in such a way that the costs will end up being far more than they need be. Customers will end up paying for this inefficiency." Q: Will the benefits of smart metering outweigh the costs? 14% yes completely 43% yes marginally 14% no 29% unsure If you are an executive working in the utility industry and would like to be part of Utility Week/ Accent's bimonthly poll on hot topics please contact Michele Mazza on michele.mazza@ accent-mr.com. You will be emailed a survey which should take no more than five minutes to complete. All answers will be treated in complete confidence unless you give your permission for us to quote you. Comments: "On the production side, peak demand control will enable large savings in the maintenance and upgrade of the grid; on the consumer side, it will enable time of day pricing to guide the use of electronic appliances." Q: Will the industry be ready to face the technological and logistical challenges of rolling out the installation of smart meters? 40% yes 33% maybe 7% no 20% don't know Comments: "Most big six suppliers haven't done enough work and the government is trying to impose an unnecessarily complex solution." The coalition has lost its momentum as a reforming government seeking to beĀ green. T here was a time when the UK led the world as an environmental champion, under both Conservative and Labour governments. The coalition government has had a harder job, with tough economic conditions and fewer low hanging fruit. However, in its first 18 months it did impress: a strong decision on the fourth carbon budget, the commitment to scrap Heathrow's proposed third runway, and a clear strategy to restore Britain's besieged natural habitats. Three years on and it feels very different. All three of the flagship policies above are under review or been undermined by weak delivery. The coalition has lost its early momentum as a reforming government seeking to be green. The Green Standard 2013 review, published this month by Green Alliance and six other leading green NGOs, shows how it has happened. It charts the highs as well of the lows of ministerial performance, but concludes that all party leaders have failed to champion the UK's environmental interests effectively. In private, the three party leaders remain enthusiastic about environmental stewardship, but in public they rarely make the case. The vacuum they have left has been filled by those who want to blame high environmental standards for our economic troubles. As a result the quality of the public debate The public has lowered, and business confidence in long run policy has supports environmental fallen. The paradox is that the UK issues, but is investing billions in greenpoliticians ing its economy. There remains overwhelming public support for need to put nature conservation, renewable their mouths energy and better transport. where our But politicians need to put their money is mouths where our money is and celebrate our progress. This would begin to restore private sector confidence, and drive new investment. In fact, low carbon transport and energy projects are such a dominant part of the UK's infrastructure pipeline that it can make a big contribution to economic recovery in the next few years. There are some signs that Labour and the Liberal Democrats have clocked this, but the Conservative Party remains deeply divided. The next year will show us whether any of the parties manage to translate this opportunity into new programmes for their manifestos, and whether Cameron, Miliband or Clegg can rebuild the case for the environmental modernisation of Britain. The alternative is that environmental debate will become more polarised, investment will be lost, and energy, nature and transport policies will risk becoming partisan battle grounds, just as they did in the US. Matthew Spencer, director, Green Alliance UTILITY WEEK | 27TH SEPTEMBER - 3rd OCTOBER | 15

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