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UTILITY Week 19th June USE

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Page 26 of 31

UTILITY WEEK | 19TH - 25TH JUNE 2015 | 27 Customers This week Peers call for revamp of smart meter rollout Smart metering initiative lacks leadership and should be linked to Green Deal assessments The smart meter rollout came under political scrutiny this week, with Smart Energy GB chair Baroness McDonagh calling for an Olympics-style co- ordinating body to run the pro- gramme, while Lord Whitty suggested that every smart meter installation should be accompa- nied by a Green Deal assessment. Writing exclusively for Utility Week, McDonagh said the digitising of Britain's "creaking energy system is simply too important to be le to chance" (see executive view, page 6). Comparing the scale of the programme to the HS2 initiative and the need to deliver a success- ful 2012 London Olympic Games, McDonagh criticised the lack of overarching leadership for the programme, which has multiple stakeholders. "Successful infrastructure programmes are usually implemented either by a specially created non- departmental body, or with the appointment of an effective new leader who has a track record of delivery," she said. Her concerns add to growing criticism of the organi- sation and technical weaknesses of the national smart metering initiative, which will cost at least £11 billion. This week Labour peer Lord Whitty told Utility Week that the programme should have been integrated with a national energy efficiency audit from the start. Speaking exclusively to Utility Week, Whitty said if the rollout was associated with the kind of assessment already done under the Green Deal, it would effect a "step change within energy efficiency in total". JG/LD ENERGY Inenco urges action on metering changes Energy consultancy Inenco has warned that businesses are una- ware they could save more than £700 a year on metering-related contracts when half-hourly charging starts next year. Inenco said the majority of businesses affected by the changes to charging in meter profile classes 05-08 were unaware that they would be required to appoint an accred- ited meter operator (MOP) and a data collection (DC) agent. Shopping around early for DC and MOP contracts could be a "vital cost-saving exercise" that could achieve "annual sav- ings in excess of £700 for every metering point", Inenco added. A poll conducted for the con- sultancy revealed that some of the UK's largest energy consum- ers are unaware of regulation P272, which comes into effect from April 2016, and did not understand the cost implications of the change. ELECTRICITY Tesla ramps up Powerwall output Tesla is to more than double the power output of its Powerwall battery from 3.3kW to 7kW peak usage, while keeping the cost the same. Speaking at the firm's annual shareholders' meeting last week, chief executive Elon Musk said: "We actually took some of the negative feedback to heart and I'm very happy to announce that we've dramati- cally increased the power capa- bility of the Powerwall." The price of the units will remain at $4,000 (approximately £2,590), including installation. ELECTRICITY NIE to update 200,000 meters Distribution network opera- tor Northern Ireland Electric- ity (NIE) has started a project to replace 200,000 electricity meters in the country over the next two years. The project will update older electricity meters in around 25 per cent of homes and small businesses in Northern Ireland by September 2017. NIE said it will not be replac- ing the meters with smart meters "at this stage". Gerard Magee, head of market operations, said: "This project will replace any meter that has reached the end of its recommended life cycle. This will ensure customers continue to receive accurate information on their electricity usage." NIE has appointed two contractors to carry out the first phase. KJM Electrical will carry out work in Greater Belfast, while MD Electrical will begin work across the country before the end of June. Smart rollout: command and control needed I am the customer John Allan "Many businesses are not aware of available support" The Competition and Markets Authority will soon release its recommendations for making the energy market fairer and more transparent. The Federa- tion of Small Businesses (FSB) believes a new, improved market must empower small businesses to use less energy, as well as reducing their unit costs. Aer all, energy efficiency is the sin- gle best way of reducing these costs over the long term. FSB research shows huge support for energy efficiency the regulator, must do more to understand the circumstances and motivations of a diverse small business community. Energy efficiency is in all our interests, whether we are concerned with global emissions targets, energy security, capacity and supply, or simply cutting costs. Energy firms should take the lead by providing upfront and ongoing energy efficiency support and investment to all their small business customers. John Allan, chairman, FSB among small businesses, with nine in ten FSB members seek- ing to be more efficient. More than half (58 per cent) said they had already taken steps, such as installing energy-efficient light- ing, heating and equipment. The main obstacles for those seeking energy efficiency invest- ment were rented premises, investment uncertainty, payback time scales, poor understanding of options, and access to capital. Two-thirds of members believe tax relief encourages investment. However, many businesses are unaware of the support available. There needs to be better signposting to guidance, and policymakers, including

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