Utility Week

Utility Week 21st February 2014

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

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26 | 21st - 27th February 2014 | utILIty WeeK Customers I am the customer Claire Holmes "The starting point is your operational water footprint" With the recent stormy weather patterns, flooding and excessive rainfall, you might be excused for forgetting the importance of addressing water consumption. The trend towards better water management has been gathering pace, however. The business benefits are now widely recognised by commercial water users, with financial incen- tives, improved corporate social responsibility and a secure sup- ply of water to run your business recognised as the key gains. you truly understand your usage and consumption patterns is it possible to devise a water strategy. There are regulatory, opera- tional, financial and reputa- tional water-related risks to consider and an array of water company pricing and charg- ing structures. But success is certainly possible, and delivers a sustainable business platform for growth. Claire Holmes, sales director, Waterscan Many clients find similar challenges when developing their approach to water manage- ment. The need to think strategi- cally and holistically about how to reduce water consumption and cost, and the impact of water-related risks, including those of climate change, on your business, is a complex area – one commercial water users do not always have the in-house expertise to deal with. Understanding how you cur- rently use water, oen known as your operational water footprint, is frequently overlooked as the starting point for effective water management and yet it provides the best foundation. Only once This week Carbon price floor freeze 'is not enough' Changes would still leave uK energy users paying more for electricity than eu rivals Even if the UK government freezes the carbon floor price, as anticipated, big energy users will still be le at a competitive dis- advantage, according to analysts and industrial consumers. The carbon price floor is intended to provide a minimum price for carbon permits in the UK, but it is widely expected that the government will announce in the Budget next month that it will freeze prices aer 2020. However, experts have claimed it will still leave UK energy-intensive industries paying three times more than European Union rivals for carbon emission permits. The carbon price floor was set at £4.94 a tonne of carbon dioxide in April 2013 and, according to the Treasury, will rise to £18.08 a tonne for the year 2015/16. No decision has been made beyond 2016. A freeze at the 2016 price would leave wholesale power prices 13 per cent higher than they would be without the carbon tax, according to Trevor Sikorski, analyst at Energy Aspects. Analyst at Liberum Capital Peter Atherton said: "Freezing it for a few years could be a halfway house that doesn't satisfy anyone." EU carbon prices have plummeted by 65 per cent in the past three years to €6.50 a tonne. Analysts' forecasts put the 2016 price for permits in the EU Emissions Trad- ing System at €11 a tonne, with the UK carbon tax taking it to €33 a tonne. The UK government has introduced a compensation package for industrial consumers that it says will offset higher carbon costs. TL energy Which? calls for market to be fixed Which? last week called for six "fixes" to the energy market when it revealed that the big six suppliers received 5.6 million complaints between them in 2013. Npower, which has had prob- lems with a new billing system, had the most complaints, at 1.4 million. By the fourth quarter of 2013, its complaint rate had soared to 80 for every 1,000 accounts, nearly double that of second-worst EDF Energy. Scot- tish Power had the least of the major suppliers, at 300,000. The consumer watchdog said regulators should order a full competition investigation into the sector when they completed their market review in March. That follows heavy hints from energy secretary Ed Davey last week that he would like to see an investigation. energy Community energy gets public support More than four in ten people (42 per cent) said they would be interested in joining a com- munity energy group if it saved them money on bills, according to new research from the Depart- ment of Energy and Climate Change (Decc). Decc's Community Energy Survey found that only a small proportion of adults (2 per cent) had already joined a community energy project. Collective switching and col- lective purchasing proved to be almost as popular, with 40 per cent of people saying they would be interested in joining such schemes. Almost one-fih of UK adults (17 per cent) said they would be prepared to get involved in a community energy project if it would help reduce carbon emis- sions to fight climate change; 10 per cent said that getting more involved in their local communi- ties would be a motivation. eLeCtrICIty Small suppliers snap up 40pc of switchers Four in ten consumers who switched their electricity sup- plier in January moved to an independent supplier, according to data from Electralink. Independent suppliers gained 96,858 customers last month (40 per cent of switch- ers). This is up from 26 per cent in December and 20 per cent in November. Angela Knight, the chief executive of Energy UK, said: "Once again, the numbers of people switching are proof that the energy market is responding well and giving customers real choice when it comes to choos- ing an energy supplier." Burning issue: UK competitiveness

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