Utility Week

UTILITY Week 5th September 2014

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UTILITY WEEK | 5TH - 11TH SEPTEMBER 2014 | 25 Customers This week Meter reform rush 'a threat to customers' Haven Power warns Ofgem business customers are being moved to half-hourly meters too quickly Haven Power has urged Ofgem not to rush its metering reform for large non-domestic custom- ers, saying they will suffer from the tight timeframe. The Ofgem consultation on moving non-domestic customers to half-hourly settlement as part of the rollout of smart meter- ing closed on 1 September, and could be approved by the regulator this coming February for implementation in April 2016. However, Haven Power, the customer-facing arm of generation giant Drax, said it was wary of introducing such a large-scale change over a relatively short period. "Ofgem is ignoring the needs of many non-domestic customers in regard to the way it is considering the proposal to change [some non-domestic customers] to mandatory half-hourly settlement," Haven Power said. A spokesman for Ofgem told Utility Week it would take into account the views of stakeholders in deciding the timeframe of the changes, adding that it had already extended the deadline from the original April 2015 cut- off because of concerns expressed by some stakeholders. The spokesman added that the meters would benefit customers and encourage the take-up of demand-side response, which would save money on bills and help the UK meet its carbon reduction commitments. From April this year suppliers have been obliged to provide non-domestic customers with the new meters in preparation for moving them over to half-hourly charg- ing. The move comes ahead of the planned smart meter rollout, due to be completed by end of 2020. JA ELECTRICITY SSE backs household 'mini power stations' Big six utility SSE said on Mon- day that it would join technology company Intelligent Energy and the Scottish Investment Bank in backing a new home-based "mini power station" planned for widespread rollout by 2030. IE-CHP's prototype fuel cell technology will use mains gas to generate electricity and hot water in people's homes, which energy analysts said could introduce 5GW of new flexible distributed capacity into the energy system. "Using this technology, the UK could convert millions of homes into mini-power sta- tions," said IE-CHP technical director Mark Bugler. "This would turn consum- ers into producers of affordable energy, and release energy firms from the need to build and maintain costly new power stations and electricity power lines," he added. According to a report from energy analysts at Ecuity, a roll- out of five million fuel cell units across the UK by 2030 would be equal to around 14 major new gas power plants, and could help consumers save around £1,000 a year on energy bills. "This gives consumers more affordable energy and adds a new level of flexibility to our country's generation portfolio. By putting power into the hands of consumers, it is a genuine win-win," Bugler said. The developers have raised £800,000 to be used over the next 12 months for further test- ing and development. ENERGY Rising costs 'critical' for manufacturers Most manufacturing businesses view rising energy costs as a "critical issue", according to a new survey. The research, conducted by Siemens, reported that 79 per cent of the UK's manufacturing sector thought energy was a "business-critical issue". Two-thirds of those ques- tioned also said they were plan- ning to invest in energy manage- ment, particularly renewable and self-generation technolo- gies, in the next 12 months. Steve Barker, head of energy efficiency and environmen- tal care at Siemens Industry, said: "A significant minority of manufacturers are still strug- gling to recognise the benefits of a strategic approach to energy management, but oen the perceived barriers to investment can be easily overcome with the right information and flexible financial support." He said manufacturers working in tandem with expert technology partners could help educate the doubters. Big users: accurate billing will be a big benefit

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