Utility Week

UTILITY Week 27th February 2015

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 27Th FEbrUarY - 5Th March 2015 | 3 Leader Ellen Bennett This week 4 | Seven days 6 | Interview anthony ainsworth, marketing director, Eon 9 Policy & Regulation 9 | News ECC: network firms are not value for money 10 | Utility Week Lobby In-depth political coverage 13 | Market view Let's bury unabated coal generation 15 Finance & Investment 15 | News Drax beats forecasts 16 | Analysis a bad year for centrica 18 Operations & Assets 18 | High viz Southern Water's Victorian sewers 19 | Pipe up Keith hayward 21 | Market view Smart meter rollouts overseas 23 Customers 23 | News Suppliers must reveal white label tariffs 24 | Market view commission will not stand in way of Lynemouth biomass conversion 25 | Analysis Ofgem in the cMa's sights 27 Markets & Trading 27 | News carbon price at two-year high 28 | Market view Demand-side savings mount 30 Community 30 | Reader of the week Paul O'callaghan, blueTech research 31 | Disconnector "Long live the energy regulator" The future is looking increasingly bleak for Ofgem. The energy regulator must be used to bad weeks by now, but it has taken another couple of punches to the gut in recent days that bode ill for its survival post-election. The initial findings of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) seem to point the finger at Ofgem, with the suggestion that it may have been unintentionally stifling competi- tion. Meanwhile, the irrepressible Tim Yeo once again has the regu- lator firmly in his sights with his comments at the publication of the ECC select committee's report into network costs, suggesting Ofgem dropped the ball on price controls (incidentally, the one area where, until now, it has usually won praise). Never mind that on the retail market at least, Ofgem is fulfilling the will of its political masters. It makes a better, and more conveni- ent, story to cast the regulator as the villain of the piece – a handy target to deflect the blame from several generations of policymakers. Bungles such as the dispute over the price tag of fast-tracking do nothing to help this image. Labour has campaigned on the back of a pledge to scrap Ofgem. With each new blow, it seems more likely the other parties will fol- low suit. David Gray and Dermot Nolan have made a solid attempt to rescue the regulator, but it may be too little, too late. Still, the team at Millbank can take at least some comfort from the fact that this death sentence is not all it seems. The UK is obliged by law, as well as by common sense, to have a regulator for its energy industry. So the so-called scrapping of Ofgem would be really nothing more than rebranding: "The regulator is dead. Long live the regulator." • Iain Conn knows how to make an entrance, and this week he slashed Centrica's dividend by a third as the company gets to grips with a sickening nosedive of 35 per cent in its annual profits. Now all hinges on his new strategy, to be unveiled this summer, aer the election and the CMA report. Centrica's strategic direction will be a bellwether for the rest of the industry, and investment in UK Energy plc. The stakes are high. Ellen Bennett, Editor ellen.bennett@fav-house.com GaS 27 | News Gas price rises on russian worries WaTEr 18 | High viz Southern Water renovates Victorian sewers 19 | Pipe up consider whole- life costs 23 | News Affinity agrees social housing discount ELEcTrIcITY 12 | Market view Let's bury coal generation 15 | News Windy weather boosts Greencoat 24 | Analysis Lynemouth likely to pass 27 | News Interconnection governance unclear 28 | Market view Demand-side savings mount EnErGY 6 | Interview anthony ainsworth, Eon 9 | News Ecc: network firms are not value for money 15 | News Centrica profits dip prompts review 15 | News Scottish Power profits soar 40% 16 | Analysis Last year was not a good one for centrica 23 | News Suppliers must reveal white label tariffs Knowledge worth keeping Visit the Downloads section of Utility Week's website http://www.utilityweek.co.uk/ downloads Salesforce: how the cloud can help meet business objectives http://bit.ly/1EFZjlj Rolta: White Paper: IT and OT: In Tune and On Time http://bit.ly/1qPuBgR

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