Utility Week

UTILITY Week 15th May 2015

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

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4 | 15TH - 21ST MAY 2015 | UTILITY WEEK National media Best energy supplier websites Digital marketing agency Inside Out analysed the per- formance of the top 21 websites in the energy supplier market in 2014/15 based on key trends, organic searches and social media interactions. 823,000 British Gas had the highest brand searches per month 10.12% Average growth in organic searches for energy supplier sites 253% M&S Energy had the largest growth in organic searches 48% Utility Warehouse had the largest fall in searches 297,341 Highest social media influence – Ecotricity Marriott signs up to demand response The Marriott hotel near Regent's Park in London has signed up to a demand response deal whereby air conditioning, ice coolers and fridges can be turned down at a moment's notice if the national electricity system requires. It is all triggered via an automated signal to a set top box installed by local technology company, KiWi Power. The Guardian, 6 May Community energy boosts US renewables Sewage and solar power may be odd bedfellows in the race to save the climate. But in Sonoma County, one hour north of San Francisco, an experiment is underway to install the nation's largest floating solar array on a series of wastewater treatment ponds. The sprawling 12.5MW "floto- voltaic" park due for completion in 2016 covers 38 acres, or the area of 35 football fields, in a farming and vineyard region where real estate costs are at a premium. The project signals the growing clout of Sonoma Clean Power, a new government-run agency that has made this county of 500,000 the lead producer of solar energy per capita in the US. At 310W of in- stalled power per person, Sonoma has five times the national average. The Guardian, 8 May Squeeze on water hits food and drink groups Drought and other water supply problems are taking a financial toll on some of the world's biggest food and drinks companies. Campbell Soup of the US and GrainCorp, one of Australia's larg- est grain handlers, have blamed drought conditions in California and eastern Australia, respectively, for a dip in earnings over the past six months Financial Times, 7 May STORY BY NUMBERS U K utilities received welcome relief from the political risk posed by the general election as govern- ment departments took shape this week, with familiar figures expected to bring continuity to energy and water policy. Energy companies were spared a heavily intervention- ist Labour Party and continued coalition wrangling as David Cameron acted quickly in form- ing his majority Tory govern- ment. Company share prices reflected the rising confidence (see page 19). For both the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the new minis- ters are expected to continue the direction of travel established in the previous government. Energy minister Amber Rudd joined Decc last summer as climate change minister and was promoted to energy secretary (rather than her more anti-wind counterpart Matthew Hancock), a move welcomed both by green groups and the onshore gas sector. Rudd has called for ambi- tious climate targets for the Paris climate talks this year. And she has backed the development on the UK's nascent shale industry, which suffered protracted delays under the previous Lib Dem-led department. Both Rudd and new energy minister Andrea Leadsom have previous experience at the Treasury, which may enable smoother relations between the two departments. Liz Truss retains the top job at Defra. At the time of going to press, the water minister portfo- lio was unassigned but will go to either George Eustice or Rory Stewart, who have both joined the ministerial team. JA More in Lobby, p6 Political risk recedes with election of Conservatives Seven days... Correction In the 1 May issue, Utility Week's 'Story by Numbers' highlighted Sutton and East Surrey Water's planned investment in AMP6. Please note: the company's commitment to spend £6 million on replacing water mains; £2 million for projects to improve water treatment works; £2.2 million on installing water meters; and £1 million on environmental improvements is for the year 2015/16 alone, and not for the entire AMP6 period. £7.6bn The government's Levy Control Framework is over budget, a new report has warned. More, p17 Cameron Rudd Leadsom Truss

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