Utility Week

Utility Week 1st November 2013

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

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Seven days... National media story by NUMBERS Chinese firm bidding for Eggborough Who's talking true on costs? Chinese energy giant Meiya Power, a subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG), is bidding for the 2GW Eggborough coal-fired power station in North Yorkshire. The Telegraph British Gas profits from customer surplus Energy giant British Gas is siphoning off millions of pounds of extra profits annually by keeping hold of money owed to former customers who have built up credit on their accounts. The Observer Energy giants avoiding paying UK tax While Britons face soaring energy costs, firms such as Scotia Gas avoid millions in tax. It's perfectly legal and, say critics, "absolutely shocking". Scotia Gas, 50 per cent of which is owned by SSE, the energy giant which is about to put its prices up by more than 8 per cent, has avoided an estimated £72.5 million in tax. UK Power Networks and Electricity North West, responsible for running large sections of Britain's electricity network, have both saved more than £30 million. The Independent on Sunday 4.5 million Number of customers behind on their utility bills, according to the Debt Advisory Centre 4 | 1st - 7th November 2013 | UTILITY WEEK As energy executives were called up before Parliament to explain their prices this week, Ofgem data cast doubt on claims by the suppliers that wholesale costs were driving increases. 1.7% Rise in wholesale energy costs in the past year, according to Ofgem models 7% The wholesale cost increase Scottish Power reported as it hiked prices last week £95 The rolling average net margin the regulator thinks energy suppliers are taking Green and social levies are a 'stealth poll tax' Green and social levies placed onto consumers' energy bills are a "stealth poll tax", MPs have heard. Eon UK chief executive Tony Cocker told the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee on Tuesday that environmental and social levies placed on consumer bills were "regressive" and "would be better funded through general taxation". He said the prime minister and energy secretary could "at a stroke" reduce energy bills by £60 a year by removing them. SSE managing director William Morris agreed changes were needed to the Energy Company Obligation (Eco). He told MPs it should be removed from bills or Eco should be extended to "take the pain away from consumers". Morris said Eco costs could increase to more than £100 per household per year as the costs ramp up ahead of the March 2015 deadline. "The power industry could be nationalised and financed with cheap government debt – although efficiency would suffer" The Financial Times calls for a 'perestroika' of the energy industry When questioned on the competitiveness of the energy market, Cocker and Morris said the sector was competitive, with the Eon UK boss calling for a Competition Commission review to help prove the case. Guy Johnson, external affairs director at Npower, agreed the UK energy market was competitive. He claimed that UK gas and electricity prices were the second and fourth cheapest in the EU, respectively. However, Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder and managing director of Ovo Energy, said that competition in the UK sector was not working, which was proven by the large regional market share of each of the suppliers. He accused the big six of "loading" the cost of social obligations onto standard tariffs, while active switchers were either "won back" or enticed with loss-leading tariffs. MB £1bn Intergen's proposed investment in two new gas-fired power plants, for which it awarded the contract to Siemens this week.

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