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UTILITY Week 20th March 2015

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6 | 20TH - 26TH MARCH 2015 | UTILITY WEEK Policy & Regulation Deputy first minister of Scotland John Swinney has said the Scot- tish government is "determined" to "do all it can" to avoid the pre- mature closure of the Longannet power station in Fife. Swinney added his voice to political calls to avoid closing the coal-fired plant at a visit there on Monday. He advised the Scottish government against accepting a "position where its ELECTRICITY Scottish government will fight to save Longannet levels of security are threatened by UK energy policies" and to consider the "full implications" of closing the plant. "The [UK] government's objective is to secure Scotland's electricity supplies through a bal- anced energy mix where conven- tional power stations play a key role alongside renewable energy," he said. "Longannet plays a key role in security of electric- ity supply, voltage control and 'black start' capability, as well as supporting over 1,000 jobs. "Experts advising the Scot- tish government have ques- tioned many of the assumptions made by National Grid. They believe these assumptions may be over-optimistic, especially when capacity margins in the UK may fall to as low as 2 per cent this winter," Swinney said. This week RIIO-ED1 will begin despite call for probe Ofgem says ED1 framework will begin on 1 April even if the CMA does launch a networks inquiry Ofgem's new price settlement, RIIO-ED1, will push ahead as planned despite the chance of a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) inquiry. The regulator told Utility Week that even if the CMA does launch an inquiry into five of the six power networks, the ED1 framework "will come into force on 1 April as planned and will be adjusted retrospectively according to the CMA ruling". The CMA says it is still uncertain of the timescale for a decision on whether to proceed with a full investiga- tion. However, if it does decide to investigate, it will have six months to determine the appeals. British Gas announced early this month that it is appealing against Ofgem's £17 billion eight-year price settlement, having previously criticised the regulator for being too lenient in its price controls. At the same time, one of the networks, Northern Powergrid, also sought permission to appeal against its RIIO-ED1 settlement on the grounds that the price control is too tough. The appeals come against a backdrop of increasing concern over the impact of network costs on consumer bills, with the Energy and Climate Change select com- mittee concluding late last month that Ofgem's price settlements have been "too generous, and performance targets too low". Industry body the Energy Networks Association declined to comment on the potential impact that a retroactive change to the new price controls could have on the networks, which could be extensive, saying there is "too much uncertainty" surrounding the matter. LV WATER Labour pledges to place sustainability duty on Ofwat Labour has pledged to place a primary duty for sustainability on Ofwat as part of its cost- cutting plans, should it win the general election. The move is outlined in the party's Zero-Based Review, which sets out a potential £192 million of savings Labour claims it can make from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) budget over the next parliament. Placing the primary duty on Ofwat will, according to the party, deliver "preventative measures" and reduce the need to spend up to £4 million a year on improving water quality. It adds that its water reforms will include directing more Euro- pean subsidies towards environ- mental protection and establish- ing a "rigorous water catchment management approach" promot- ing best practice across the industry to boost water quality. Labour said it will also review the abstraction charging regime for water companies, energy generators, and large-scale agricultural producers. ENVIRONMENT Welsh government to set climate targets The Welsh government will include statutory climate change targets for Wales in its forthcom- ing Environment Bill. The targets aim to provide certainty for low-carbon invest- ments in the country and create a "workable and affordable model for the future". The Welsh minister for natural resources, Carl Sargeant, said: "Including statutory targets will allow us to better evaluate progress, and confirm achieva- ble targets to work towards, with the overall target of reducing greenhouse emissions by 80 per cent in 2050 against 1990 levels. "Climate change is perhaps the biggest long-term threat to our future generations and the Environment Bill provides us with a platform to ensure that we continue to tackle it and increase action across all areas." The Environment Bill is expected to be introduced in the coming months. WATER MPs: ban automatic sewer connections The government must ban the automatic right for developers to connect homes to the public sewer to promote the develop- ment of sustainable drainage systems (Suds), according to the Environmental Audit Committee. MPs have made the recom- mendation as part of a suite of measures the government should take to help the UK adapt to the impacts of climate change, with flooding being "the biggest adaptation risk". In a report, the committee said removing the right to con- nect housing developments to the public sewer would "provide an incentive for them to include Suds" in their projects. The committee also called on the government to enforce its power under the Flood and Water Management Act to require Suds in developments, saying it is "reluctant to use it" and that this is allowing devel- opments to take place that are adding to the flood risk. Committee chair Joan Walley said: "With flooding likely to increase, the government should enforce existing powers to require Suds in all development." Coming down the line: ED1 will begin on 1 April

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