Utility Week

Utility Week 17th April 2015

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4 | 17TH - 23RD APRIL 2015 | UTILITY WEEK National media 14.3 million homes went cold this winter Research from comparison website Uswitch. com has revealed that 14.3 million homeowners avoided switching on their heating at some point during the past winter to cope with high energy costs. 54% of households went cold at some point 37% of homeowners said rationing their energy use affected their quality of life 49% percentage of customers who think price cuts will have no impact on bills £1,242 amount the average UK home is forecast to spend on energy this year Clean tech becoming a 'zombie industry' The EU's dysfunctional political system is turning clean energy companies into a "zombie industry" of the living dead, the head of one of Europe's biggest green power groups has warned. Manuel Sanchez Ortega, chief executive of Spain's Abengoa, said EU politicians were taking so long to decide what sort of energy mix they wanted, especially in the biofuels sector, that companies did not know if they should keep struggling on or shut down completely. "It's ridiculous," he said. Financial Times, 12 April Taiwan rations water because of drought Water supplies will be cut off entirely for two days each week, on a rotating basis, in several northern cities in Taiwan. The shortage is due to reduced rainfall, leaving water levels in reservoirs far below capacity. But a leaky delivery system, silt build-up in reservoirs and wastage are also being blamed. Late last month, the government said the dry spell was forecast to continue. BBC News, 8 April Hancock takes £18,000 from climate sceptic Conservative energy and climate change minister Matthew Hancock has accepted £18,000 from a key backer of the UK's leading climate sceptic lobby group. According to official records, Hancock accepted five donations over the years from City currency manager Neil Record, who has given money to the Global Warming Policy Foundation and is on the board of its campaigning arm. The most recent donation to the MP was £4,000 in November last year – aer Hancock became a min- ister with responsibility for energy. The Guardian, 10 April STORY BY NUMBERS T he UK's largest energy suppliers have refuted concerns that competi- tion in the energy market is not working, as the Competition and Markets Authority continues its investigation into the sector. Centrica said in its latest sub- mission to the CMA it "did not accept" key parts of the CMA's analysis, while SSE branded the authority's estimates inaccurate and "misleading". Centrica confronted accusa- tions that it profiteered at the expense of disengaged custom- ers by claiming that its margins had not increased and that it did not rely on loss-leading fixed tariffs, offset by inflated variable deals. In its initial March report on the probe, the CMA said the big six energy suppliers made higher margins on standard variable tariffs. These are more likely to be used by so-called sticky customers, who do not shop around for the best deals and subsequently pay above the odds. Both Centrica and SSE claimed their profit margins were not unreasonable, with SSE pointing out that by the CMA's own analysis, average margins on sales to domestic customers were only 3.3 per cent between 2009 and 2013. Although the CMA said that over 95 per cent of dual fuel energy customers could have saved between £158 to £234 a year by switching from a big six standard variable tariff, SSE insisted these estimates were "inaccurate and misleading". Both suppliers insisted the market was competitive and benefited from strong customer engagement, and that evidence of more new entrants and third- party players, such as switching sites, showed the market was competitive. JA See analysis, p21 Big six refute CMA competition findings Seven days... "They're being breath takingly illogical and idiotic" Trade group Renewable UK on the Conservative manifesto pledge to remove subsidies for new onshore wind projects. For more, see p19 £2.5m Wessex Water aims to save more than £2.5 million over AMP6 by following through on its company- wide zero waste policy Customers 'are engaged'

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