Utility Week

UTILITY Week 16th October 2015

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Customers This week Anglian wins Scottish public sector contract 'Most competitive bidder' snatches £80m-a-year water supply contract from Business Stream Anglian Water Business (AWB) looks set to provide water and wastewater services to more than 100 public sector organisations in Scotland. The Scottish govern- ment has named AWB "the most competitive bidder" for the long- awaited £80 million-a-year deal. The new deal to look aer water bills for Scotland's schools, hospitals and other public buildings will see millions poured back into public services. Keith Brown, cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities, said: "This is the best deal for Scotland under the rules that bind us, and save public bodies up to £10 mil- lion annually for the initial three-year period of the con- tract with the option to extend for a further 12 months." AWB will manage the contract from its Edinburgh office, and Scottish Water will still provide water for the 96.5 per cent of Scotland's population it supplies today. The existing contract with Scottish Water subsidiary Business Stream was to expire on 31 March, but will con- tinue until 31 December to allow a seamless transition. Business Stream chief executive Johanna Dow said: "We have a proven track record of delivering excellent results working in partnership with Scotland's public sector over the past seven years, with savings of more than £36 million delivered over the term of the existing contract. Our focus is firmly on the future. We remain the leading supplier in Scotland and we'll be looking to build on that position whilst acquiring more customers in England, ahead of the market opening up to competi- tion in 2017." MG ENERGY Smart meter rollout 'could destroy trust' The rollout of smart meters to energy customers in the UK "has the capacity to destroy trust and confidence" in the sector, according to the chief executive of Electricity North West. Steve Johnson was speaking at the Utility Week Lobby event at the Conservative Party confer- ence in Manchester. His view was supported by the Ombuds- man Services' chief ombudsman Lewis Shand Smith, who told delegates it is going to be a "very rough ride between now and the end of the rollout". He said the fact that it is a retailer-led rollout will make the programme less efficient, and added that the number of complaints during the rollout is likely to spike. However, he added that the number of complaints from customers is set to fall aer the technology has been installed. WATER Severn Trent to oust Thames at MoD site? Severn Trent Services could replace Thames Water as the sewerage undertaker for a Min- istry of Defence site and a devel- opment of 3,850 new homes under proposals from Ofwat. Ofwat said it is "minded to grant the variation" under its new appointment and variation regime, meaning Severn Trent Services may be granted permis- sion to serve the site in Wellesley near Aldershot, if it is approved aer a consultation. The regulator has the power to choose an out-of-area supplier of water and/or sewerage ser- vices to a site, provided custom- ers are no worse off. ENERGY CMA to probe deeper into rental market The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to conduct further research on specific bar- riers facing customers in rented accommodation for its investiga- tion into the energy market. The CMA said it has received information that suggests liv- ing in rented accommodation presents specific barriers to engaging with the energy mar- ket. The regulator has therefore appointed research agency Ipsos Mori to conduct further research into this area. The CMA's earlier research underpinning its provisional findings was published in July and revealed that 30 per cent of respondents responsible for energy decisions live in rented accommodation. Renters reported relatively low levels of awareness and of engagement in the energy mar- ket in the research, particularly among social renters. CEO Dow stressed Business Stream's track record I am the customer Caroline Abrahams "Cold homes are a daily reality for older people" It is a shocking fact that tens of thousands of older people in the UK suffer ill health or die as a result of the cold, every winter. At the very heart of this national scandal is an epidemic of cold, leaky homes. The government's now defunct Green Deal initiative failed to capture the interest of older people. Yet the problem of cold homes is a daily reality for at least a million older people. We know that older households tend to be over-represented in urgent need to reform ECO so it reaches far more people in need. But aer the closure of the Green Deal this summer we also need a financially attractive scheme for people who are able to pay. But the clock is ticking. Without meaningful targets and urgent reform, tens of thousands of older people will continue to face yet more hardship in the (dis)comfort of their own homes. Caroline Abrahams, charity director, Age UK housing with poorer energy efficiency ratings – older couples in particular spend significantly more on their energy than younger groups. We urgently need the govern- ment to make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority and drive forward an ambitious programme to li all fuel-poor homes up to EPC Band C by 2025. But this target will not be met with the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) in its current state, because it does not have the reach, scale or stability required to effectively bring the homes of people on low incomes up to a much higher standard of energy efficiency. There is an UTILITY WEEK | 16TH - 22ND OCTOBER 2015 | 23

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