Utility Week

Utility Week 28th February 2014

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 28Th FEbrUarY - 6Th March 2014 | 3 Leader Ellen Bennett This week 4 | Seven days 6 | Opinion Stephen Fitzpatrick, managing director, Ovo Energy 8 | Interview Nina Skorupska, chief executive, renewable Energy association 15 Policy & Regulation 15 | News Davey hints at scale of UK's ccS ambition 16 | Analysis Decc in damage control mode on offshore wind 17 | Analysis New start for Open Water 19 Finance & Investment 19 | News UK's appeal to green investors wanes 20 | Analysis centrica lambasted by politicians for hiking energy prices 22 Operations & Assets 22 | High viz Good Energy's £16 million windfarm hampole, near Doncaster 23 | Pipe up Steve Jacobs, director, allups 25 | Market view bristol Water's long-term water resource plan 26 Customers 27 | News Industry demands curb on energy costs 28 | Market view Energy companies should work with home improvement agencies 30 Community 30 | Subscriber focus Sam Fuller, UK Power Networks 31 | Disconnector Smart rollout needs political leadership One of the most telling findings from our research on the market's readiness for the smart meter rollout is the estimate of cost per household (see p11). Suppliers believe it will cost an average of £227.57 per home. Distribution network operators predict £374. The suppliers are leading the rollout and may well know something the rest of the market doesn't, but this discrepancy neatly illustrates the confusion surrounding the rollout; the lack of confidence the rest of the market has in the suppliers' ability to deliver; and the poor communication between various market participants. Our research also shows that supplier confidence is not backed up with fact: only one in five reported having the processes in place to identify and deal with multiple dwelling units. Only 35 per cent of supplier respondents had processes in place to deal with difficult meter locations. These are shocking statistics to report less than two years before the mass rollout is due to start in autumn 2015. It's no secret that some suppliers are far ahead in their preparations, but surely to have thought about the details of installing meters in blocks of flats, for example, should be a bare minimum. But who can really blame them when the technical programme itself is still stuttering into life? As we reported last week, there are growing concerns that the timetable for delivery could slip even further, with the final meter specifications still up in the air. Those suppliers that have started early on the rollout could find themselves stranded with tens of thousands of obsolete meters. Meanwhile, distribution networks are le to stick a finger in the air and guess how much the rollout will cost them in terms of increased call outs and interventions. This programme has been at risk of failure since the government made the misguided decision to hand it to the suppliers. But, to borrow a phrase from the banking world, it's too big to fail. If it goes wrong, the financial and reputational costs will be crippling. If it goes right, it could provide a much-needed reset for the relationship between energy companies and their customers. The programme needs strong leadership from central government, detailed prepara- tion and immovable, enforced deadlines – and quickly. Ellen Bennett, Editor ellen.bennett@fav-house.com GaS 20 | Analysis centrica blasted for price hikes 27 | News Ofgem misses point on standing charges WaTEr 15 | News EU citizens oppose water privatisation 19 | News PWc suggests retail margins for Pr14 23 | Pipe up Steve Jacobs, director, allups 25 | Market view bristol Water's resource plan ELEcTrIcITY 15 | News The UK's ccS ambition 15 | News Labour would not renegotiate hinkley strike price 19 | News Bluefield adds to solar portfolio 21 | Investor view 27 | News Time error 'affects 3.9m customers' ENErGY 7 | Expert view Nigel hawkins 8 | Interview Nina Skorupska, rEa 11 | Research Smart meters 19 | News UK's appeal to green investors wanes 19 | News Levies batter Iberdrola's earnings 27 | News Industry demands energy prices curb 28 | Market view home cold home 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

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