Utility Week

UTILITY Week 23rd January 2015

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4 | 23rd - 29th January 2015 | utILIty WEEK National media Small firms beat big six on service For the fourth year, small firms have scored higher than the big six for customer service in the Which? energy company satisfaction survey. 35% npower rated worst for complaint handling and customer service 50% Spark Energy was the only independent supplier to score as low as the big six 84% renewable energy company Ecotricity ranked highest 48% Overall customer satisfaction with uK energy companies rose 7 percentage points Saudi Arabia 'can cope with low oil price' Saudi Arabia can cope with low oil prices for "at least eight years", Saudi Arabia's minister of petro- leum's former senior adviser told the BBC. Mohammed al-Sabban said the country's policy was to defend its current market share by enduring low prices. Saudi Arabia, the largest producer within the Opec oil pro- ducers' cartel, has repeatedly said that it will not cut output to try to boost the oil price. BBC, 19 January Fukushima worker dies after falling into water storage tank A worker at Japan's destroyed Fuku- shima Daiichi nuclear power plant died on Tuesday 20 January aer falling into an empty water storage tank the day before. It is the latest in a spate of industrial accidents at the site of the March 2011 nuclear disaster, the world's worst since Chernobyl. The death is the second in Fukushima in less than a year. Last week, labour inspectors warned the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power, about the rise in accidents and ordered it to take measures to deal with the problem. Reuters, 20 January Drinking water trucked into US city after spill Truckloads of drinking water were shipped to the eastern Montana city of Glendive on 19 January aer traces of a major oil spill along the Yellowstone River were detected in public water supplies. Preliminary tests at the city's water treatment plant indicated that at least some oil got into a water supply intake along the river, according to state and federal officials. About 6,000 people are served by the intake. Times of India, 20 January story by NUMbErs T he UK's big six energy suppliers faced mounting pressure over consumer energy bills this week as critics argued that tariff cuts should be quicker and deeper to keep pace with plunging wholesale energy market prices. At the time of going to print, Eon, British Gas and Scottish Power had pledged to reduce customer bills following almost a year of steadily falling gas and power prices, raising pressure on EDF Energy, Npower and SSE to follow suit. EDF and Npower are widely expected to cut prices soon, but analysts said it could be more difficult for the UK's second biggest supplier, SSE, which locked itself into a price freeze last year. Eon offered its gas price cut with immediate effect at 3.5 per cent. Although British Gas and Scottish Power offered steeper cuts at 5 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively, the companies came under fire for offering them only from the end of February. "Just as with British Gas and Eon, Scottish Power's gas bill reduction has fallen short for consumers," said chief executive of Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy, on Tuesday. MoneySuperMarket's energy expert Stephen Murray said the cut "feels half-hearted when set against a recent 20 per cent cut in the wholesale gas price". Utilities continue to face uncertainty over the extent of future political intervention. The Labour party has pledged to step in to cap bills if it comes to power in the upcoming May general election. JA Political pressure builds on big six to slash tariffs 10 years EdF Energy's dungeness nuclear power plant has received a lifetime extension beyond its expected closure date of 2018 "It is an ambitious and complex task, which will take time to deliver" Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross on securing trust and confidence in vital public water and wastewater services through Ofwat's new forward programme. See analysis, p14 Seven days...

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