Utility Week

UTILITY Week 20th February 2015

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18 | 20th - 26th February 2015 | utILIty WeeK Policy & Regulation This week National campaign to promote switching the government claims 13.5 million households could save £2.7 billion by changing supplier The government has launched a nationwide campaign urging consumers to switch their energy suppliers, claiming that 13.5 million households could save a total of £2.7 billion by doing so. The Power to Switch cam- paign, launched this week by energy and climate change sec- retary Ed Davey, will run for four weeks, with national, regional and online advertising informing people they can save an average of £200 a year. The public is being urged to visit www.BeAnEnergy- Shopper.com to learn about switching, and advised that recent gas price cuts do not necessarily mean they are getting the best deal with their current supplier. The industry has welcomed the campaign. Energy UK chief executive Lawrence Slade said: "I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for cus- tomers to shop around and find the best deal." Juliet Davenport, chief executive of independent supplier Good Energy, said: "We back this campaign big time. Nowhere near enough people are switching energy supplier." Launching the campaign, Davey said: "When it comes to switching, the power is in people's hands to get a better deal and save. "We've reformed the market so that there are more suppliers, more competition, and a much faster and simpler process to switch. That means millions of people can switch supplier and save hundreds of pounds today." EB eLectrIcIty SNP calls for action on Longannet The Scottish National Party (SNP) has called on the prime minister to take "urgent action" to avoid the closure of the 2.4GW Longannet coal-fired power plant in Fife. Scottish first minister and leader of the party Nicola Stur- geon has written to David Cam- eron calling for a review of the UK's energy supply aer reports surfaced that talks between Scottish Power and National Grid over the future of the plant had stalled. The Iberdrola-owned utility has warned that the plant may have to shut because high trans- mission charges in Scotland make it uneconomic for Longan- net to bid into the UK's capacity auctions. eLectrIcIty Lib Dems would ban unabated coal Banning unabated coal genera- tion and promoting renewable energy is a "front page" priority for the Liberal Democrats, according to party leader Nick Clegg. The Lib Dems this week launched their manifesto front page, which featured "five green laws". One of these is banning electricity generation from una- bated coal by 2025. The other green laws are: a Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill (which would create a national programme to raise the energy efficiency standards for all Britain's households); a Green Transport Bill that would only allow low emission vehicles on the roads from 2040; a Nature Bill; and a Zero Waste Britain Bill. The full Liberal Democrat manifesto will be launched in April. Gas Infrastructure Bill 'not watered down' The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has denied watering down the frack- ing amendments made to the Infrastructure Bill, saying the changes made mean they are "presented in a clearer and legal way" in the final Act. The Labour party and envi- ronmental groups claim the 13 amendments added to the Bill, covering groundwater protec- tion zones, had been "watered down" in the final version which became law on Thursday. A Decc spokesman said greater protections to ground- water source protection zones would be added to the Act via secondary legislation once the government had provided "further clarity" on what con- stituted a protected area. This is expected in July. Dedicated website on switching Political Agenda Mathew Beech "The government is now close to its original position" When is a U-turn not a U-turn? When you U-turn on a U-turn. Like the government and the Infrastructure Bill – now the Infrastructure Act. The fracking amendments, added to the statute paper in the House of Commons at the end of last month, were meant to gold plate the government's robust regulatory regime. Banning fracking in ground- water source protection zones was meant to reassure the public that their concerns over the The ban still stands. Fracking will not be allowed in protected areas. But what are these areas? This will be decided in second- ary legislation in July. Aer the election. So, aer adopting Labour's policies, the government is now close to its original position. Although extra protections prob- ably will be enforced. It's not a double U-turn. More a series of swerves that lead to a finishing point slightly to the le of where they began. perceived dangers of shale gas extraction were being dealt with. But aer two long, heated debates in the commons, Amber Rudd has led the government on a circular journey. First, she said the government would adopt Labour's amendments, but only because they were government policies in the first place. There was also a vague promise that fracking would be banned in National Parks – although this amendment was never added to the Bill. Aer a trip to the Lords, the Bill returned to the Commons. And the details of the aquifer frack- ing ban were watered down – or "legally clarified".

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