Utility Week

UTILITY Week 11th September 2015

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UTILITY WEEK | 11TH -17TH SEPTEMBER 2015 | 9 Policy & Regulation This week Support for Corbyn is a wake-up call Tom Greatrex warns energy companies not to discount 'popular' calls to renationalise the sector A former Labour party shadow energy minister has warned the industry not to dismiss the "alarming" calls of party leader- ship contender Jeremy Corbyn to renationalise the sector. Corbyn is the current favour- ite to win the Labour party leadership contest this weekend despite two-thirds of people in a recent survey saying he would be unlikely to win a general election. However, while Corbyn's suggestions are far from becoming government policy, Tom Greatrex has urged utilities not to dismiss his attacks and instead focus "relentlessly" on changing their approach to the public in light of the popularity of his renationalisation call. In an exclusive column for Utility Week (see p11) Grea- trex says a costly renationalisation of the energy sector was never an official pledge, but Corbyn's campaign has not corrected the recent national news reports because the idea is popular with the electorate. "Stepping back to let opponents attack you for some- thing you didn't propose – because it is more popular than what you have suggested – may seem to be at odds with the anti-cynicism mantle being claimed, but it is what has happened," Greatrex says. Corbyn's ten-point energy policy makes no mention of renationalising the sector, which has been costed at £124-£185 billion. His policy points focus instead on "a fundamental shi" to reduce consumption and increase decentralised, community-owned low carbon energy with government as a "guarantor of last resort" for back up generation and interconnection. JA ELECTRICITY Drax goes to court over CCL U-turn Energy giant Drax and renew- able energy firm Infinis have launched a legal challenge against changes to the Climate Change Levy (CCL) exemption made by the government in the summer budget. The companies have initi- ated proceedings for a judicial review on the basis that the notice period of 24 days for the removal of the CCL exemption for renewable technologies was "not appropriate". The pair have asked the court to consider a "reasonable and proportionate notice period for withdrawal of such renewable support". Drax said the changes, announced by chancellor George Osborne in July, would cost the company £30 million in 2015 and £60 million in 2016. Analysis, p15 RENEWABLES Government blocks Welsh wind plans The UK government has blocked plans by renewables developers including RWE and Vattenfall to build four Welsh onshore wind- farms totalling 360MW. The Department of Energy and Climate Change drew a line under an almost three-year public inquiry into the proposed windfarms, consenting only to Scottish Power Renewables' 126MW Llandinam onshore wind repowering project. The schemes that were rejected include RWE's 130- 250MW Carnedd Wen project, Vattenfall's 59.5MW Llanbadarn Fynydd scheme, an application by Fferm Wynt Llaithddu Cyf for a 66.7MW Llaithddu windfarm, and the application by RES UK & Ireland for a 100MW Llanbryn- mair scheme. ELECTRICITY DNOs 'must be more transparent' Distribution network operators (DNOs) will be required to pro- vide more accessible informa- tion to customers about their performance, under new plans proposed by Ofgem. "We think this information could be presented in a short infographic-style report," the regulator said. "This would be targeted at consumers, their representatives and other inter- est groups." Every year, distribution network operators provide the regulator with extensive infor- mation as part of their regula- tory instructions and guidance submissions. However, Ofgem said it wanted the wider stakeholder community to have access to good quality information on company performance. Wishlist: reopening Welsh coal mines Political Agenda Mathew Beech "Pressure will mount on government to lower bills" With the summer recess over, the Westminster machine is firing up again, and the inboxes of the various secretaries of state and ministers are bulging. The two-week return before parliament breaks again gives the ministerial team a chance to set the tone for the rest of the year and to firm up their positions ahead of the party con- ference – and for Labour, their next five years as the party elects its new leader (see p10). Power, as always, will not comes around. With green levies already cut and the Green Deal panned, what wiggle room will Amber Rudd find to help force suppliers to reduce bills? Water minister Rory Stewart will need to keep his eye on the process of market reform, as the details start to become clearer. He will be eager for the process to go smoothly – not only for the customers that are set to benefit from being able to switch, but to avoid a stain on his political copybook. be far from the minds of those in power, especially as Hinkley Point C crawls towards a final investment decision. The need for a new power station – even if it is the most expensive one in the world – is great. The closure of old coal- fired plant, and the removal of unprofitable gas stations from the fleet, will see the UK lose 21,400MW of dispatchable gen- eration by next March, with only 6,000MW created. Cue cries for support and stability in policy to avoid a capacity crunch and keep the lights on. Pressure is certain to mount on government to act to lower energy bills as heating season

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