Utility Week

UTILITY Week 16th October 2015

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

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4 | 16TH - 22ND OCTOBER 2015 | UTILITY WEEK National media Majority of public support nuclear A survey of 2,000 members of the public by the Institution of Mechanical Engi- neers has found the majority sup- port the UK using nuclear power in the future. 56% support the UK continuing to use nuclear power 82% of those who sup- port nuclear said it was because it would help keep the lights on 19% do not support nuclear power 77% of those who oppose nuclear said it was because it's too dangerous 25% are unsure whether they support nuclear Oil and gas groups back cleaner energy Up to ten big oil and gas groups have pledged to combat climate change by developing "cleaner" energy and cut harmful gas flaring. Industry insiders said a meet- ing of energy chief executives in Paris, including the heads of BP, BG Group, Total, Eni, Statoil and Rep- sol, would commit the companies to "delivering secure energy with reduced greenhouse gas intensity". Financial Times, 7 October Solar schools project under threat A charitable project that has installed more than 1,000 solar pan- els on schools in England and Wales will close next summer if govern- ment proposals to cut support for renewable energy go ahead. Campaigners said the "solar schools" project run by environ- mental charity 10:10 would become unsustainable under government proposals to dramatically cut the feed-in tariff for householders and communities who install solar panels on rooops. The Guardian, 7 October California commits to 50% renewables The governor of California, Jerry Brown, last week signed into law a bill requiring California to produce half its electricity from renew- able sources by 2030, a goal he said was key to combating global climate change. "A decarbonised future is the reason we're here," Brown said at a signing ceremony in Los Angeles. "What we're doing here is very im- portant, especially for low-income families." The bill also requires a doubling of energy efficiency in buildings by 2030. Reuters, 7 October STORY BY NUMBERS W ater company finances are set to re-enter the national spotlight this week with the National Audit Office (NAO) slamming Ofwat's price control regime for allowing companies to retain multi-mil- lion pound windfalls. The NAO says water com- panies pocketed £815 million between 2010 and 2015 as a result of the low interest rate environment and cuts to corpo- ration tax. It acknowledges Ofwat's efforts to encourage companies to share gains with custom- ers over the period, with an additional £435 million being returned to bill payers over that five-year period, but says more needs to be done in PR19 to "increase the pass through". Between 2010 and 2015, water companies gained around £410 million from lower-than- expected tax rates and £840 mil- lion from lower than expected interest rates NAO comptroller and auditor general Amyas Morse said cus- tomers had "not seen enough of the benefits" from the financial gains and that Ofwat's "price cap regime is not yet achiev- ing the value for money that it should". Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Meg Hillier also slammed the regulator for failing to force companies to pass on the financial benefits and said: "More work is clearly needed to ensure custom- ers share in savings made by water companies." Ofwat defended its record and said it had responded to concerns over companies' profits in its recent price review, PR14, with financial reward and penalties being linked to performance, and with "the lowest ever cost of capital in a regulated sector". Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross said she was "surprised" that the NAO had said the regulator did not deliver value for money, and said there was evidence of "strong delivery". She added that Ofwat's price reviews "shielded customers from increased financial risk which could have led to sig- nificant bill increases had rates increased" and that this was a "risk we did not think [custom- ers] should bear". MB NAO: Ofwat let companies keep £815m windfall Seven days... "Operation Black Start" This week the Daily Mirror reported that behind closed doors, Whitehall departments, the NHS, police, local councils and transport chiefs have taken part in secret government preparation plans to cope in the event of widespread power blackouts.

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