Utility Week

Utility Week 18th October 2013

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

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Seven days... National media Greenpeace mobilises against shale gas Landowners and householders are being recruited by Greenpeace to set up fracking "no-go" zones across the country that threaten to stop the shale gas industry in its tracks. The Times UK firms could miss Hinkley contracts UK companies are set to miss out on the majority of specialist contracts to build the £14 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley in Somerset because of a dearth of high-tech engineering skills in the country, according to the plant's state-backed French developer, EDF Energy. The Guardian Buchanan 'broke the rules' taking KPMG job Alistair Buchanan, the former chief executive of Ofgem, the energy watchdog, appeared to have breached Whitehall rules by taking up a role with KPMG, the accountancy firm, to advise it on energy issues. The Sunday Telegraph story by NUMBERS Green levy debate The government is coming under pressure from Tory backbenchers and the right-wing press to scrap "green taxes" on bills. What do the public think? According to a survey commissioned from Survation by The Mail on Sunday: 76% don't believe energy companies when they say taxes are the reason for steeper bills 40% support the existence of green taxes to help investment in renewable energy 23% would rather energy bills were cheaper, even if that meant doing more harm to the environment "European energy policy has hit a wall" GDF Suez chief executive Gerard Mestrallet, one of ten European utilities chief executives warning that European energy policies are becoming "regionalised" 4 | 18th - 24th October 2013 | UTILITY WEEK Decc questions Miliband's energy price freeze policy "It is extremely difficult to see how EMR is consistent and compatible with a price freeze – and that's why it's not part of the government's proposals," according to Simon Virley, director general for energy markets and infrastructure at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc). The comments from the leading civil servant came at Utility Week's flagship Congress, held in London on Tuesday. Virley's doubts over labour leader Ed Miliband's proposed price freeze were echoed by fellow panellists, Npower chief executive Paul Massara and Scottish Power chief corporate officer Keith Anderson. It was a rare intervention in political debate by a civil servant, although Virley went on to argue that Electricity Market Reform would not be "sunk" if there was a price freeze, as it has cross-party support. 288 The page count of EMR: Consultation on proposals for implementation, published last week. Responses must be delivered by Christmas Eve, for Ed Davey's stocking. Massara described EMR as "a long-term framework the UK desperately needs to attract investment". However, he said political intervention would damage investor confidence and said Miliband's labelling of the big six suppliers as "predatory" was a "cheap political act". "The problem with the freeze is that it undermines the package that EMR has. It signifies a greater intervention in the marketplace; an intervention which changes the rules." Anderson said far more investment was needed and talk of price freezes and intervention gave investors "the jitters". He said the industry could cope with a 20-month freeze, as proposed by Miliband, but asked who would pick up the bill afterwards and how investors would regain confidence if the government demonstrated a willingness to intervene. CM "George Osborne ought to know better" Lib Dem Chris Huhne dismisses Tory calls to cut green subsidies on energy bills

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