Utility Week

Utility Week 6th February 2015

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

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26 | 6th - 12th February 2015 | utILIty WeeK Customers This week Water bills shrink 2 per cent for 2015/16 average water bill is reduced as the regulator's Pr14 price control regime comes into effect The average water bill across England and Wales has been brought down by 2 per cent by the water companies as the first year of Ofwat's PR14 price con- trol regime comes into force. The typical water and sewer- age bill will fall by £9 for 2015/16 to £385 as the lower prices, as mandated by Ofwat, are imple- mented by the water companies. The lowest average combined water and sewerage bill for 2015/16 is £329 from Severn Trent, while the lowest water-only bill for the same period is £92 from Ports- mouth Water. Water UK, which annually publishes the water charges, stated that alongside falling bills, a total of 14 of the 18 companies will offer social tariffs, up from six. Pamela Taylor, chief executive of the trade association, said: "Water companies understand the pressures their customers are under and are delivering lower bills and even more support for struggling households." However, Water UK has noted that in order to cut bills and deliver on the business plans set out in the final determinations, debt and equity investors will receive a lower rate of return. Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross warned the water companies that they will need to "really stretch them- selves" to deliver lower bills and improve the service they provide. She added: "Companies have a tough job ahead. They will only build trust and confidence with customers if they deliver on their promises." MB energy Ovo Energy adds community tariffs Ovo Energy has launched addi- tional local community tariffs under its Ovo Communities programme, aer being granted permission by industry regulator Ofgem. Energy suppliers are limited to four customer tariffs, as dictated in Ofgem's 2010 Retail Market Review. However, Ovo will now be allowed to give four further tariffs to each of its first three local authorities and com- munity group partners. These groups will be able to choose and set their own tariffs locally, ensuring their residents benefit. Ovo Energy chief executive Stephen Fitzpatrick said Ofgem's decision shows "change and innovation in the energy retail industry is possible". He added: "We don't want to be the 'big seventh'. This is about giving power back to [local communities]." energy Good Energy cuts gas and electricity bills Independent renewable energy supplier Good Energy is to cut its gas and electricity tariffs, by 3.2 per cent and 2.1 per cent respec- tively, from mid-April. The reductions follow similar cuts offered by the big six and rival independent suppliers on their standard gas tariffs, fol- lowing almost a year of steadily falling wholesale prices, which have helped to reduce company costs. Unlike other suppliers, Good Energy said it will bring down the price for electricity as well as for gas. It said its dual-fuel customers will save an average of £33 a year compared with the average £28 discount from the big six suppliers, which have reduced only their gas tariff. energy Customer fears over bills at lowest level A government survey has shown the number of customers con- cerned about paying their energy bills has fallen to 31 per cent – the lowest level since the survey began in 2012. The latest quarterly public attitudes survey from the Depart- ment of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) also shows that trust in energy providers is steady at its highest level since the survey began. Decc found that renewable energy continues to receive high levels of support, with 76 per cent of UK adults in favour of using renewable energy to gen- erate electricity, fuel and heat. Support for nuclear energy support remains reasonably stable at 39 per cent, while just 24 per cent of the public agree with shale gas extraction. Average water and sewerage bill will fall by £9 I am the customer Darren Halford "Being more sustainable drastically cuts energy bills" What we truly need with regard to energy efficiency in the UK is a cultural shi. We must start looking at everything we do through an energy-efficiency and sustainability lens. At European Automation, we are certain that this is one of the biggest challenges industry in the UK will face in the years to come. Being proactive is the key. To simply rely on the energy sector to increase the capacity margin, without all UK industry point before engaging in the energy-efficiency debate is to get the entire team on board. By pro- moting energy awareness within the company, you multiply your chances of success. If all the people in your offices, in the supply chain or on the factory floor aren't support- ive of your company's energy- saving initiatives, all your hard work will be wasted. Darren Halford, group sales manager, European Automation employing widespread efficiency changes, would be inane and irresponsible. Energy monitoring must be put in place. For large compa- nies this isn't an option but a legal requirement thanks to the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS). Once you have an image of your current energy use, it becomes much easier to see the areas in which the company can make improvements. And let's face it, becoming more sustain- able won't just cut down on the carbon footprint of a business, it will also drastically reduce energy bills. The final, yet most important

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