Utility Week

UTILITY Week 27th February 2015

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utILIty WeeK | 27th February - 5th March 2015 | 11 E l E ct i o n c o u n td o w n : 6 8 d ay s to g o "It makes my heart sink to see row upon row of solar panels where once there was a field of wheat or grassland for live- stock to graze." Elizabeth Truss – environment secretary (conservative) truss is staunchly opposed to large scale solar farms, especially those that are deployed on agricultural land. She supports medium scale solar being placed on commercial rooftops instead. She supports fracking and nuclear as a way to hit green targets. "We've done a hell of a lot more than what happened under the last government." Dan Rogerson – water minister (Liberal Democrat) Rogerson fits the Lib Dem mould in wanting to improve water quality and boost flood defences. He sup- ports Suds and calls for greater innovation and investment to be made by water companies. "We need a new deal with the wa- ter companies and Labour will deliver it – focused on affordability and fairness for all." Maria Eagle – shadow environ- ment secretary (Labour) eagle announced Labour's plans to shake up the water sector with the plan for a national affordability scheme. She is also eager for a Labour government to clamp down on the water firms' tax affairs. Next week: utility wEEk lobby poll trackEr 20 Feb 2015 – yougov poll party share change (from 13 Feb 2015) Conservatives 32% 0 Labour 33% -2 Liberal Democrats 9% +2 Ukip 15% 0 Green 6% -1 Other 5% +1 inFRasTRuCTuRE CusToMERs FinanCE • The commitments of the Climate change act dictate where the new government must head on energy policy – so finding out how these will be met, and how much they will cost, is imperative. renewa- bles and fossil fuel developers have projects that depend upon the way in which the new government decides it will achieve these goals. • Abstraction reform and resil- ience are top of the agenda in water and, under totex, the days of pouring concrete are over. • The controversial Infra- structure bill has been rushed through, including the aquifer fracking ban that was adopted, and then "watered down" by the government. Further details are expected in the eagerly awaited secondary legislation. • Affordability is the big potential vote winner. the amount utilities charge and the support they offer – and are required to offer – their customers is a big doorstep sell- ing point. the promise of cheaper bills will have a knock-on effect across utilities as the new govern- ment focuses on costs, charges, and profits. • The future of the regulators is up in the air. Labour is keen to scrap Ofgem, and the coalition parties in government want the competitive market to deliver lower prices and good service. • Investment is crucial to utilities, and the sector's historic stability has given it access to cash on at- tractive terms. this is now under threat. any new government must provide the confidence necessary to bring forward investment. • The major parties have all planned crackdowns on tax. Labour wants the big companies to pay their "fair share" of tax, and would close loopholes to get them to pay up. the tories are also tak- ing a closer look at the tax system. thE big issuEs The contenders will the election have an impact on utilities? utilitiEs pollEd what area will be most affected by the outcome of the election? No impact: 17% Slight impact: 52% Significant impact: 31% Social policies (Eco, etc): 15% Other: 5% Investment: 28% Public trust and confidence: 11% Regulation: 20% Affordability/ bills: 21% 5 January 2015: oil price crashes below $50 per barrel for the first time 30 March 2015: dissolution of government These results come from independent research carried out on behalf of Utility Week Live, the exhibition and conference dedicated to UK utilities, brought to you by the publishers of Utility Week this April. See: www.utilityweeklive.co.uk 7 May: judgement day 2015 23 September 2014: shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle promises a Labour government will introduce a national social tariff for vulnerable water customers 12 December 2014: Ofwat publishes its PR14 final determinations 12 February 2015: Infrastructure Act becomes law. Labour accuses the government of "watering down" environmental protections April 2015: party manifestoes due to be published 27 January 2015: EDF Energy becomes the last of the big six to bow to politi- cal pressure and cuts its gas tariff Coalition combinations – what the potential make-up of the next government could mean for energy and water policy. "If you want lower prices you need to go down the renewable route." Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP

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