Utility Week

Uberflip 24 01 14

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

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/246262

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GAS 11 | Political Agenda Mathew Beech 21 | Market view Managing biomass risk 25 | Analysis Shale gas poses no water threat WATER 18 | Analysis Ofwat's £5.6m error 22 | High viz SESW's Leatherhead pumping station 23 | Pipe up Stuart White 24 | Analysis Leakage data analysed ELECTRICITY 8 | Interview Steve Johnson, CEO, Electricity North West 11 | News DNOs admit to failures in communications 12 | Analysis RIIO is the only game in town 19 | Market view New nuclear in limbo 20 | News Renewables auctions unproven, says RWE 28 | Market view Tariff reforms may cost consumer dear Energy 6 | Chief executive view Paul Massara, Npower 7 | UW expert Is there still an energy trilemma? 27 | News Consumer groups to audit competition This week Leader Ellen Bennett 4 | Seven days 6 | Opinion Paul Massara, chief executive, Npower 8 | Interview Steve Johnson, chief executive, ENW A damning report draws a line 11 This week's report on how Ofwat got its budget wrong by £5.6 million makes for hair-raising reading. The document paints a picture of an organisation so deeply in silos that the finance team barely spoke to the executive; so distracted by firefighting that it forgot about delivery; and so short of skills that the pivotal role of programme director of the price review was filled by a part-time, temporary worker (see p18). There's an elephant in the room. No mention is made of Regina Finn, who was running the organisation as these events transpired. One sentence reads: "By April 2013, it was clear that there were serious budget pressures, and by May, the Price Review Project Board and full board had discussed a proposal that a Delivery Partner should be used." There's a key event that's missing from that timeline: Finn's sudden and unexpected announcement of her departure on 15 May. With this report, Ofwat has voluntarily donned the hair shirt, a lmost certainly in the hope of escaping censure from Defra, the Public Accounts Committee or the National Audit Office. It has come up with a concrete action plan, and while many of those actions are surprisingly basic, they are at least specific and accountable. What's missing is any individual accountability for what went wrong. If Finn was still in post, following this report her position would be untenable. But she isn't, and in many ways this story has a happy ending. The Section 13 row, the battle lines between the regulator and the industry, and the subsequent multi-million pound mistake now look like a bad dream. Current chair Jonson Cox had only been in post a few months when the budgetary error was revealed. He acted swiftly and decisively upon Finn's departure to restructure the management team, get the consultants in and get the price review back on track. His replacement chief executive, Cathryn Ross, already had a strong reputation within the industry, which she has quickly consolidated since rejoining the organisation. There will still be battles to be fought during PR14, but they will not be over the regulator's competence or fitness to conduct the price review. With the publication of this report, the water sector can, with a shudder, put the past behind it. Ellen Bennett, Editor ellen.bennett@fav-house.com 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 Policy & Regulation 11 | News DNOs admit to failures in communications 12 | Special report EC Harris and Utility Week research into how DNOs are faring under RIIO 18 | Analysis How Ofwat got its sums wrong 19 | Market view New nuclear in limbo 20 Finance & Investment 20 | News Renewables auctions unproven, says RWE 21 | Market view Biomass feedstock risk 22 Operations & Assets 22 | High viz Sutton and East Surrey's Leatherhead pumping station 24 | Analysis Leakage data 25 | Market view Making the most of waste 25 | Analysis Shale gas poses little threat to potable water 27 Customers 27 | News Consumer groups to audit competition 28 | Market view What tariff reform will mean for energy suppliers 30 Community 30 | Subscriber focus Ian Hewson, Business Stream 31 | Disconnector UTILITY WEEK | 24th - 30th January 2014 | 3

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