Utility Week

Utility Week 8th 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 Call centre jobs under threat, says union Unison has demanded that Npower break its silence over plans to axe 2,000 call centre jobs in the UK and move them offshore. Sources claimed a deal was being lined up with Indian conglomerate Tata, which Npower supplies across the UK. Npower admitted a "major review" of its sites was under way, but would only say that it was "exploring a range of options". The Telegraph story by NUMBERS UKPN rides the storm Within a few hours of storm St Jude hitting southern England, UK Power Networks saw eight weeks' worth of problems, in the worst grid damage since 2002. 700k households that lost power Minister: stop sitting on customers' cash The big six energy companies were this week ordered to stop "sitting on customers' cash", as the government comes under pressure from Labour to deal with soaring household bills. Conservative climate change minister Greg Barker demanded to know why gas and electricity firms were hoarding up to £2 billion from people who pay by direct debit. The Guardian Centrica may abandon £2 billion windfarm Centrica is preparing to abandon a £2 billion offshore windfarm project because the subsidies offered by the government are too low. The Telegraph 220k calls made to UKPN's call centre in three days, equivalent to four typical months 91% power restored to properties within 24 hours 2,420 locations damaged across UKPN's network. 15% Proportion of consumers who trust energy companies to act in their best interest, according to Which? 4 | 8th - 14th November 2013 | UTILITY WEEK Lords vote to curb coal power generation Coal generators extending the life of their power plants will face restrictions on their run ning hours, under an addition to the Energy Bill passed by peers on Monday. In the first significant defeat for the government, the House of Lords voted by 237 to 193 in favour of tighter curbs on coal generation. Generators opting in to the Industrial Emissions Directive, which would allow them to stay open beyond 2023, will no longer be allowed to provide baseload power. The owners of the UK's remaining 12 coal power sta tions must decide next year whether to invest in pollution control equipment to comply with the European directive. If they do so, they will be subject "I wouldn't call them subsidies. They are market-based support mechanisms" Energy minister Michael Fallon explains contracts for difference to the Environmental Audit Committee to an emissions performance standard, limiting their annual carbon dioxide emissions. Labour peer Baroness Worth ington, who introduced the amendment, said: "The owners of these [coal power] stations ought to be fully aware that, as we move forward to a lowcarbon economy, their stations will be the first to go. It is far and away the cheapest and most efficient way of reducing emis sions, as the UK found during the 1990s when we did exactly this and transitioned out of coal and into gas." Analysts at Deutsche Bank said they suspected the vote would be reversed. Even if it was not, they said Drax (pictured), the largest coal generator, remained a "risky but attractive" investment. MD £107/ MWh The "best guess" levelised cost of power through an interconnector with Iceland (see analysis, p28).

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