Utility Week

UTILITY Week 31st October 2014

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UTILITY WEEK | 31sT OcTObEr - 6Th NOvEmbEr 2014 | 13 Policy & Regulation This week Two legal challenges to Tideway Tunnel Two apply for judicial review of development consent order granted to Thames Tideway Tunnel Two legal challenges have been mounted against the develop- ment consent order (DCO) granted to the Thames Tideway Tunnel last month. The deadline to apply for a judicial review was last Friday and two applications were made. The first application came from Southwark Council, which said its objection related to the proposed use of Chambers Wharf as a construction site. Aer the DCO was granted, the leader of Southwark Council, Peter John, said: "This is a ludicrous and evil decision by the secretaries of state as the Planning Inspectorate clearly found that Chambers Wharf was not a suitable drive site for this supersewer." The second legal challenge came from Thames Blue-Green Economy, a group of independent experts – including engineers, environmentalists and lawyers – who want to stop the tunnel being developed so that "cheaper, quicker, lower risk, and more sustainable" solutions are implemented. The group claimed the decision was unlawful because the government had failed to comply with its legal obligations under the Environmental Impact Assessment regime with regard to public participation. A spokesperson for Thames Tideway Tunnel said the company acknowledged that two applications for a judicial review had been made, but added: "Work on the project will be business as usual." A failure to tackle the sewage overflow into the Thames aer periods of heavy rainfall would leave the UK facing EU fines of up to £100 million a year. MB ELEcTrIcITY Funding reduced for SSE's subsea cable Ofgem has approved plans for SSE's planned subsea power transmission cable, but at a pro- posed funding level 16 per cent lower than requested by SSE susidiary SHE (Scottish Hydro Electricity) Transmission. Ofgem said on Monday it had proposed funding of £1.1 bil- lion for the subsea link, which is planned to trasnport 1.2GW of remote Scottish renewable power to areas of higher demand on the other side of the Moray Firth. The regulator's proposal falls £173.9 million below SHE Transmission's bid, "to ensure consumers pay no more than necessary", the regulator said. SSE said it was "disap- pointed" with Ofgem's proposal, adding: "SHE Transmission believes that it has produced a well defined and well scoped project that offers value for money for customers." The proposals are now under consultation for four weeks, with a final decision on funding to be made in December. ENErgY Regulator welcomes calls for scrutiny Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan has welcomed industry calls for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to include the regulator itself in its energy sector probe. Ofgem referred the energy market to the CMA over the sum- mer because of concerns that competition is "not working the way that it should", Nolan said, but since then many industry players have accused Ofgem's rules of playing a part in reduc- ing competition. Nolan acknowledged the concern at Energy UK's annual conference on 22 October, saying there was a view that competi- tion issues "may have been wors- ened" by regulatory intervention. Nolan said he would be "happy" and "quite positive" for the regulator's rules to face CMA scrutiny. "I want that studied too," he said. ENErgY 'Artificially high' bills 'a CMA matter' Energy minister Amber Rudd last week told delegates at the Energy UK annual conference that Labour should reconsider its proposals aer two big six chief executives said they would not reduce bills while the threat of a Labour price freeze existed. Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said the "aston- ishing admission" by the chiefs should be a matter for the Com- petition and Markets Authority (CMA). "If they are keeping prices artificially high, then report them to the CMA," she said. Tideway Tunnel work: 'business as usual' Political Agenda Mathew Beech "The reinvigorated Lib Dems are making a stand" The impetus on energy seems to have shied from the red and into the yellow – and remains well clear of the blue. Labour – so successful a year ago in taking the lead in the debate – seems to be struggling to continue to sell the price freeze. Knowing it is a hard sell to the industry, shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint appealed to the sector to work with her party to make the best of it – not only for consumers but for the companies themselves as well. secure energy supply as a mem- ber of the EU, he also attacked the Tory hatred for onshore wind, describing "any party that takes wind off the table" as "reckless". A few months ago, the Lib Dems were slipping towards general election oblivion with the Tories taking all the credit for the coalition's achievements, Labour pushing the cost of living crisis, and Ukip scooping up all the disillusioned voters. But now it seems like they are very much up for the fight. But the momentum Ed Mili- band built up has slipped away and the reinvigorated Liberal Democrats are making a stand. Energy secretary Ed Davey must have got the same memo that water minister Dan Roger- son (see interview, p8) received, as he also went on the offensive. At the Energy UK annual conference, Davey took his cus- tomary pot shots at Labour – the price freeze "would destroy the very competition that has been painstakingly built up" – but he also gave the Conservatives a not so subtle whack in the ribs. Not only did he sing the praises of being part of Europe, stating the UK will have a more

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