Utility Week

UTILITY Week 6th March 2015

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UTILITY WEEK | 6Th - 12Th March 2015 | 11 Policy & Regulation United Utilities (UU) has been branded "reckless" and hit with a £750,000 fine this week aer it allowed seven million litres of raw sewage to flow into the Dud- don Estuary in south Cumbria. A judge at Preston Crown Court said UU was guilty of a "reckless failure" and ordered the company to pay the fine, as well as £38,501.95 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge. WaTEr 'Reckless' UU receives £750,000 pollution fine UU was charged with breaching three environmental regulations: allowing an illegal water discharge activity; failing to provide a 24-hour telemetry alarm; and failing to ensure the good working order of duty and standby pumps. The discharge occurred on 12 May 2013 at a pumping station in King Street, Millom, aer a pump failed. The standby pump had been removed for mainte- nance a month earlier and no alternative pump was fitted, breaching permit conditions. Since the incident, UU has spent £18 million upgrading sewage disposal and treatment at Millom, including refitting the pumping station, replacing the alarm system, and more than doubling the capacity of the nearby treatment works. This week Energy policy stifles innovation, MPs warn committee claims bias towards fossil fuels will lead to higher than necessary costs for consumers MPs have warned that the UK's energy policy is skewed against innovation in tackling rising costs and carbon emissions, in favour of a centralised model built on fossil fuel generation. In a report published this week, the energy and climate change committee called for a review of the legislated Electric- ity Market Reform to ensure that the capacity market includes demand-side technologies and the contracts for difference allow access to smaller developers. It also called for a resolution to the potential conflict of interest posed by National Grid in its role as system operator. Without these changes, the government risks shackling consumers to higher than necessary costs and carbon emissions, warned committee chair, Tim Yeo. He has criticised the "pitiful" and "shaming outcome" of the capacity market auction, in which just 0.4 per cent was paid to demand-side technologies, with the vast majority to be paid to existing fossil fuel plants. "Every consumer is subsidising spare electricity gen- erating capacity that may only be used for a few hours a year. But smart technology has made it possible to reduce unnecessary electricity demand at peak times, thereby reducing the number of polluting power stations that need to be switched on," Yeo said in the report. The root of the bias may be due to a reliance on National Grid modelling when determining government policy, the report suggested. "Given its existing role as the system operator and owner of the transmission network, it has a commercial incentive to procure addi- tional capacity when it recommends how much capacity the secretary of state should procure. This conflict of interest must be urgently resolved," the report said. JA WaTEr Water UK leads sewerage taskforce Water UK is leading a taskforce that will set out the future needs of the sewerage and drainage sector. The trade association told Utility Week it is heading up the group, which will inform the industry which infrastructure projects will be required over the next 40 years and what needs to be done to attract the investment to finance them. The taskforce will include the water companies, government bodies and the regulators. It will work through until March 2017. Water UK's head of corporate affairs, Neil Dhot, said it will address how the water compa- nies need to prepare for the "big risks on the horizon", including the effects of climate change and a growing population. He said: "There are big ques- tion marks over whether the sewerage systems are fit for the 21st century. There is work to be done to understand as best as we can and predict what kind of problems we are going to face in the future." WaTEr Welsh government consults on Suds The Welsh government has set out its proposals for its interim standards on sustainable drain- age systems (Suds). The devolved assembly is seeking to introduce the interim standards on an advisory basis until it determines "the most effective way to embed Suds principles" into new develop- ments in the longer term under the Flood and Water Manage- ment Act. The dra guidelines set out that surface water runoff should be collected for use or allowed to infiltrate the ground, with lim- ited discharges into the public sewerage systems. The consul- tation also proposes that Suds projects should be designed and constructed in a way that "mini- mises the use of scarce resources and energy", in a cost-effective manner. Other standards set out include provisions to: ensure designs minimise the potential pollution risks; enhance public spaces where possible; and increase biodiversity. The consultation closes on 30 April 2015. EnErgY EC calls for creation of 'energy union' Europe must establish a single energy market to ensure security of supply, sustainability and competitiveness, the European Commission has said. The energy union package, announced last week, lays out ways to create an energy union to strengthen European energy policy ahead of a global climate agreement to be reached in December. Measures include greater transparency when buying energy or gas from outside the European Union; a more interconnected, renewable and responsive electricity mar- ket; stronger focus on energy efficiency; and the development of next-generation renewables technology to help switch to a low-carbon economy. Energy union vice president Maroš Šefcovic said the project will "integrate our 28 European energy markets into one energy union, make Europe less energy dependent and give the predict- ability that investors so badly need to create jobs and growth". Policy is skewed towards fossil fuel generation

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