Utility Week

UTILITY Week 25th September 2015

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8 | 25TH SEPTEMBER - 1ST OCTOBER 2015 | UTILITY WEEK Event Utility Week House of Commons reception, 15 September 2015 Community House calls A reception hosted by Utility Week gave the utility industry a chance to raise its voice in the House of Commons. O n 15 September Utility Week hosted a reception at the House of Commons in Association with the Energy Networks Association (ENA). The event was designed to bring the challenges fac- ing UK utilities into focus for policymakers and industry leaders, as well as providing an unparalleled networking opportunity. More than 100 executives and policymak- ers attended the event, where speeches were delivered by energy secretary Amber Rudd, Environment and Climate Change Commit- tee chair Angus MacNeil and ENA chairman Basil Scarsella (also chief executive of UK Power Networks). While these presentations were domi- nated by talk of challenge and change, they also praised the energy networks for their historical achievements in improving ser- vice, safety and reliability in gas and elec- tricity supplies across the UK. MacNeil, the hosting MP for the recep- tion, said it was essential that policymak- ers remember the achievements of the past 20 years as they develop frameworks and incentives for the continued decarbonisation and transformation of the UK energy sys- tem "because when we look at what we've achieved over that period, we see a reduction in prices, absolutely in line with the minister of state's [Rudd's] objectives". Rudd herself lauded the networks as Speaker perspective Five key points "the unsung heroes of energy security" in her speech and said she looked forward to working more closely with the UK's energy networks in the future to achieve shared innovation objectives. She also explicitly acknowledged the role of gas in a low-carbon society, something of a blind spot in energy policy conversations of recent years. In response to a question from Utility Week about the effects of cuts in subsidies on investor confidence, she insisted that "we have investor confidence" and added that changes to the subsidy regime were neces- sary to "get a grip on spending". "We have overspent on the Levy Control Framework due to successful renewable deployment," she said. "We will hit our car- bon targets, but this is a way of making sure it is done at the lowest cost to consumers." The reception was an important scene- setter for an upcoming programme of activ- ity being spearheaded by Utility Week at the major party conferences. As part of our Utility Week Lobby agenda, the brand has organised three party fringe events – again in association with ENA – and has prepared a utility policy document in association with Bain & Company (see Lobby, p12). Together, these initiatives are designed to give direc- tion and momentum to policymaking, which is in the interests of both industry and consumers. Amber Rudd, energy secretary, Department of Energy and Climate Change "With gas and the national gas grid – it will remain important for many decades to come. I'm excited by the possibilities, at the innovations in the gas networks, the projects which are already ongoing." • 100-plus company  executives and energy policy makers came together to acknowledge the challenge ahead and the achievements behind the utilities sector. • Energy secretary  Amber Rudd told guests she was "excited" by the focus on innovation in energy networks.

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