Utility Week

Utility Week 7th August 2015

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

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4 | 7TH - 13TH AUGUST 2015 | UTILITY WEEK National media Businesses unaware of half-hourly charging Research by supplier Npower has revealed that 81 per cent of British retailers are unaware of the imminent move to half- hourly charging starting in November, or that it could have cost implications for their business. 67% were unaware of any cost implications £230 the average increase businesses can expect from the move per year per energy meter £429 the highest increase businesses can expect for the same period 55% of retailers are not sure how many meters their business has Obama to unveil Clean Power Plan US president Barack Obama is due to unveil what he called "the biggest, most important step we have ever taken" in tackling climate change. The aim of the revised Clean Power Plan is to cut greenhouse gas emissions from US power stations by nearly a third within 15 years. However, opponents in the energy industry say Obama has declared "a war on coal". Coal-fired power plants provide more than a third of the US electricity supply. BBC News, 3 August Rio Olympic athletes risk illness from water Athletes risk serious illness from dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria in sewage- contaminated waters at the swim- ming and boating venues being prepared for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the Associ- ated Press reported on Thursday. Tests conducted by the AP found levels of disease-causing viruses as much as 1.7 million times the level that would be considered hazard- ous on a California beach. Pollution levels are equivalent to those in raw sewage, it added. Reuters, 30 July Gazprom production to hit post-Soviet low Gazprom's gas production is on track to fall to a fresh post-Soviet low this year as the state-controlled energy group is buffeted by reces- sion at home, declining demand in Europe and Russia's dispute with Ukraine. Output at the world's largest gas company fell 13 per cent in the first half of 2015 compared with a year earlier and is set to reach 414 billion cubic metres for the full year, according to data from the Russian economy ministry. Financial Times, 28 July STORY BY NUMBERS C hange is on the horizon for the water sector as more details emerge about the competitive market and as Ofwat starts discussions on what can be done to improve the regula- tory regime for PR19. Water companies have learnt they will be able to exit the non-household retail market from October 2016, under dra regulations published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The clarity, and the ability to exit prior to market opening in April 2017, will be welcomed by those companies consider- ing an exit and is likely to blow the starting whistle on mergers and acquisitions, with incoming companies or ambitious incum- bents buying customers from the companies planning to exit. Defra is also consulting on whether current legislation, which prevents a company that has exited the market being able to merge with or be acquired by another that has not, should be changed. Ofwat has also opened the door to changes in the way the sector is regulated with a series of discussion papers, which put on the table the length of the price control period, water trading and upstream reform, among other topics. Two options the regulator wants to discuss are the use of competitive tendering – such as that used for the Thames Tide- way Tunnel – and the greater separation of price controls, allowing "bespoke" arrange- ments in certain areas, such as sludge treatment. Ofwat was also keen to question whether stronger and longer term incen- tives are required to help drive the industry forward. In its learnings from PR14, the regulator stated it hopes "more powerful" delivery incen- tives will drive innovation and better outcomes for PR19. MB Analysis, p23 Water firms can pull plug on retail from October 2016 Seven days... 16 months Cuadrilla will not learn the outcome of its appeal against a decision to reject applications at two of its sites in Lancashire until November 2016, a Whitehall source told The Guardian "It's the way the world is going" Centrica chief executive Iain Conn on the company's move away from centralised energy assets. More on p14

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