Utility Week

UTILITY Week 17th October 2014

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

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/398458

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 31

UTILITY WEEK | 17Th - 23rd OcTObEr 2014 | 25 This week Decc cuts Eco target despite opposition reduction intended to limit the impact of environmental programmes on consumer bills A reduction in the Energy Company Obligation (Eco) has been confirmed by the Depart- ment of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), despite strong opposition. Eco's Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (Cero) tar- get has been cut by 33 per cent, despite the fact that 68 per cent of the 266 consultation responses opposed the move. Decc said it made the decision to cut the March 2015 Cero target by a third because "at this time, it is right that the impact of environmental programmes on con- sumer energy bills should be reduced". However, it added: "We recognise that this will inevi- tably lead to a reduction in Eco delivery for the remain- ing obligation period." The move comes aer prime minister David Cameron promised to "roll back green levies" on energy bills in October last year. The cut also comes despite claims from the Insulated Render and Cladding Association that the cuts would result in the energy suppliers benefiting from a £1.8 bil- lion windfall. The other elements of Eco, the Carbon Saving Com- munity Obligation and Affordable Warmth will remain unchanged. Decc said this was because it "remained committed to maintaining support for the fuel poverty objectives through Eco". Subject to parliamentary approval, it is expected the amendments will come into force this autumn. JB WaTEr Campaign to prevent sewer blockages Scottish Water has launched the third phase of its national aware- ness campaign aimed at reduc- ing the number of blockages in Scotland's sewerage systems. The campaign advises con- sumers not to put items such as cooking fats, nappies and cotton buds down toilets and sinks. These were the cause of more than 80 per cent of sewerage blockages dealt with by Scottish Water last year, it said. Once disposed into drainage systems, these items combine to produce a mass of solidified fat and material – so-called "fat- bergs" – which can block pipes. The first phase of the cam- paign was launched in 2013 and early indications are that block- ages have reduced. EnErgY Customers want help to reduce energy use Greater customer engagement is needed to help the UK tackle rising energy costs, according to research commissioned by SSE. A YouGov report conducted in September showed that almost 50 per cent of consum- ers agreed that better energy information would help them to use less gas and electricity. "Customers are sending a loud and clear message: 'help me reduce my energy costs with- out cutting back on my quality of life'," said SSE's chief execu- tive, Alistair Phillips-Davies. "Whether it's finding fairer, more cost-effective and more appealing ways to deliver large-scale household energy efficiency improvements, simpli- fying bills to help people under- stand what they are paying, or giving them more flexibility about how they engage with and get the most from their smart meter, this report provides fresh and meaningful insights we can all act on," he added. EnErgY Research aims to predict 'failing' trees Scottish Power is investing in research into identifying trees that may fail in a storm to help avoid future network disrup- tions. The study, to be under- taken by Lancaster University, consultancy Adas and Scottish Power, was set up with a grant of £100,000 by the Natural Environment Research Council to develop a scientifically based method to predict how trees will behave in severe weather. Scottish Power has contrib- uted a further £20,000. Adas said the tree risk model will address one of the key issues facing Scottish Power – how to predict which trees will fail in severe weather next to its overhead power lines. Cut will affect delivery of efficiency measures I am the customer John Allan "Service providers do not understand small firms" Small businesses have limited time and resources to negotiate their utility contracts, which is why the process must be kept cheap and simple. Almost a third of small businesses highlight the cost of utilities as a barrier to growth. Customer service, choice, technology and support are also important factors. A number of utility markets are under scrutiny by the gov- ernment and regulators. Many of the issues under investigation stem from the same basic prob- on the domestic sector, with an assumption that the needs of small businesses can be extrapo- lated from this. They can't. It isn't just the energy sector. The introduction of competition into the retail water market must not repeat the mistakes made in the energy market. Clear con- tracts, easy switching, regulation of brokers, accurate billing and innovation and technology (such as smart meters) will be critical. John Allan, national chairman, Federation of Small Businesses lem: small businesses are poorly understood by service provid- ers, caught between the needs of domestic customers and the requirements of big industry. We want to see small and micro businesses treated more like domestic consumers. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the energy market. Here the FSB is calling for published tariffs for businesses, regulation of brokers and an end to auto- matic contract rollovers. However, it is also important to understand how the needs of small businesses differ from those of domestic consumers. For example, plans for the rollout of energy smart meters are focused Customers

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - UTILITY Week 17th October 2014