Utility Week

UTILITY Week 17th July 2015

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26 | 17TH - 23RD JULY 2015 | UTILITY WEEK Customers This week Water challenge work 'must be impartial' CCWater finds customer challenge groups must be transparent and have independent chairs Water companies must ensure their customer challenge groups (CCGs) are transparent and have impartial chairs, research from the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) has claimed. The report shows that cus- tomers believe this impartiality and their legitimacy could be undermined if the CCG chairs are directly funded by a water company. CCWater said customers supported the use of a levy or pooled funding from the water industry as an alterna- tive to chairs being funded by individual companies, in an effort to safeguard their independence. CCWater also stated that customers wanted a formal recruitment process for CCGs, including a structured interview process. Furthermore, they said CCGs should be required to refresh their membership regularly. The report emphasised the customer desire for trans- parency, and recommended that CCGs publish the min- utes of meetings as well as feedback from the groups. Additionally, customers stated they wanted the customer voice recognised through formal research or consultations, and for them to have a direct say in the proposals of their respective water companies. CCWater's chief executive Tony Smith said: "Every CCG must be seen to have legitimacy in the eyes of customers. But that will only ever be achieved with an independent chair who customers can trust to be completely impartial." CCWater will now begin working with water com- panies currently without CCGs to ensure they meet the standards expected by customers. JM WATER Private supplies 'pose health risk' There is "compelling" evidence many small private water sup- plies in England are contami- nated and this strengthens the case for stricter regulatory inter- vention, according to the Drink- ing Water Inspectorate (DWI). There are 37,717 private sup- plies known about in England; of these, 5,840 either serve 50 or more people or are used in a com- mercial or public activity, said the report. Of the remainder, 25,231 serve a single domestic property and 6,474 serve a small number of households on a shared basis. The DWI said of those used to provide supply to the public – which are subject to more rigor- ous scrutiny from local authori- ties and the DWI – 69 per cent had completed a risk assessment and had a sample taken in 2014. Of 8,054 samples tested from this group, 7.8 per cent did not meet the essential safety stand- ard for E.coli. But of the smaller shared domestic supplies, which are sampled less oen, there was a failure rate for E.coli of 23 per cent. ELECTRICITY Small firms face smart meter barriers Microbusinesses face obstacles that could prevent them from realising the full benefits of smart meters, Smart Energy GB has warned. The campaign group for the national smart meter rollout suggested small businesses are not fully informed about smart meters, with only 5 per cent having proactively requested one so far. It said it will extend its domestic consumer message to more than 2 million micro- businesses to ensure they are "positive about the benefits". Barriers include: perceived disruption to business as usual; a lack of awareness or belief in the benefits of smart meters; and confusion between advanced metering and smart metering. WATER Yorkshire planning water saving apps Yorkshire Water is planning to introduce water saving applica- tions for smart phones following the presentation of ideas from members of the public. A number of "gamification apps" were presented to York- shire Water at its data dive event in Leeds on 10-11 July, and these are set to be developed further by the company. These apps would also feed data back to Yorkshire Water on how water is being used and allow it to target water saving campaigns at certain house- holds. This will support the com- pany's plan to save 5 litres per day per customer during AMP6. Smith: 'Every CCG must have legitimacy' I am the customer Lauren Darby "Budget news of a Plan for Productivity is positive" Although a number of announce- ments in the 2015 Budget are of interest to businesses in the ceramics sector, until further details are released it is difficult to gauge their full impact. Little attention was given to energy in the Budget, although the government's proposal for a review of the business energy efficiency tax landscape and approaches to simplification and improving effectiveness are appreciated. We look forward to the consultation in the autumn. Annual Investment Allowance to £200,000 per year for small and medium-sized enterprises. This will help stimulate capital investment and so improve manufacturing productivity. News of a Plan for Productivity is also positive and we look to more detail around how an ambi- tion to establish the UK as the most prosperous major economy in the world will be realised. Lauren Darby, sustainability manager, British Ceramic Confederation The government has indi- cated that it will continue to promote low-carbon investment and innovation to support action on climate change, but we are disappointed that no tangible measures have been announced. As a responsible sector that has worked with government to develop a decarbonisation and energy efficiency roadmap, extra funding and extension of the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme to cover a broader range of heat reduction technologies would have furthered this work, while providing value for money. Our members were really pleased that the chancellor took the opportunity to raise the

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