Utility Week

Uberflip 17 01 14

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

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/241939

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Page 2 of 31

GAS 16 | Stock watch Shale gas firms 28 | Open market Ken Cronin 28 | News Total's fracking investment WATER 7 | Expert view Karma Ockenden 8 | Interview Roger Darlington, chair, SEW CCG 15 | Analysis What energy can teach water 18 | Analysis PR14: the verdict so far 25 | Market view Water industry benchmarking ELECTRICITY 16 | News Income could be cut for power networks 17 | Analysis Was Hinkley a good deal? 22 | High viz Carrington Power 26 | News DNO blackout hotline Energy 6 | Chief executive view Stephen Fitzpatrick, Ovo Energy 14 | Analysis European emissions targets 19 | Analyst view Martin Brough 21 | Market view The future of energy utilities 23 | Pipe up Chris O'Dell 27 | Market view B2B customer service This week Leader Ellen Bennett DNOs unfairly cast as villains of the piece Every story needs a villain, and this winter, energy companies have conveniently provided the cloak-swirling, mask-wearing baddies that every politician and paper loves to hate. Never mind the distinctions between energy retailer and distributor, or between poor service and Acts of God. Ever since Ed Miliband took to the podium at the Labour party conference in September, energy companies have been public enemy number one, so it was no surprise that when storms hit over Christmas, Westminster and Fleet Street turned on the DNOs. Following a slew of negative headlines and sound bites from the likes of environment secretary Owen Paterson, the chief executives of the networks were hauled in to see Ed Davey last week. The energy secretary scored the points he needed, ordering a review into the response to the storms. For sure, some customers in remote areas were not reconnected quickly enough, and for any customers to have been without power over Christmas is a "fail". But the rhetoric around this inquiry is grossly unfair. No-one could have predicted such severe and widespread storms – and certainly not over the holiday period. One of the main criticisms is that the networks did not have enough staff on standby over Christmas. But these are the very businesses that are being constantly told to drive down costs and now face a further squeeze on their finances (p16). How much would network charges have to rise to maintain a full workforce on double pay over all holiday periods? The focus of the review will be on customer communications, acknowledged as an area for improvement. The network sector would do well to look to water, where the new customer challenge groups have delivered tangible results, influencing business plans and changing the way companies operate (expert view, p7, interview, p8 and roundtable, p18). Networks are peopled by engineers, and communications are not always their strongest point. It's fair to challenge that, and to create a more customer-focused culture. But the reality is that dedicated frontline staff gave up their holidays, worked round the clock and waded through floods to get to broken power lines. In this Christmas pantomime of heroes and villains, that seems to have been entirely forgotten. Ellen Bennett, Editor ellen.bennett@fav-house.com 4 | Seven days 6 | Opinion Stephen Fitzpatrick, managing director, Ovo Energy 8 | Interview Roger Darlington, chair, South East Water CCG 13 Policy & Regulation 13 | News Changes to Eco see suppliers scrap work 14 | Analysis Green targets under strain 15 | Market view Energy's lessons for water 16 Finance & Investment 16 | News Income could be cut for power networks 17 | Analysis Was Hinkley a good deal? 18 | Analysis The water sector's verdict so far on PR14 21 | Market view The future of energy utilities 22 Operations & Assets 20 | High viz Carrington Power 25 | Market view Water industry benchmarking 26 Customers 26 | News Davey: DNOs must set up blackout hotline 27 | Market view Energy B2B customer service 28 Markets & Trading The 6th National Utility Week Consumer Debt Conference is a must attend for all utility companies and telecoms operators who want to their collection procedures and reduce consumer debt. At this one day event you will: get the latest updates on the Retail Market Review; find out how smart meters will improve prepay services; understand how to assess the latest technology to enable customers to manage their bills; learn how to identify vulnerable customers; explore new methods to develop an efficient payment extension; understand how investing in customer segmentation can improve collection and minimise bad debt. 26 March, Holiday Inn, Birmingham city centre Website: www.uw-debt.net 28 | Market view Total invests £30m in fracking 30 Community 30 | Subscriber focus Laura Johnstone, Wessex Water 31 | Disconnector UTILITY WEEK | 17th - 23rd January 2014 | 3

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