Utility Week

UTILITY Week 11th December

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 11TH - 17TH DECEMBER 2015 | 3 Leader Ellen Bennett This week 4 | Seven days 6 | People & Opinion 8 | Interview Ben Jeffs, chief executive, MOSL 11 | Topic The whole-life cost of an asset is crucial, not the initial outlay – welcome to Totex 18 Policy & Regulation 18 | News Interconnectors bid into capacity auction 19 | Market view Competition's coming home in the retail water market 21 Finance & Investment 21 | News RWE 'still at risk' despite break-up plan 22 | Analysis Nine gas and electricity projects to build the grid of the future 24 Operations & Assets 24 | Market view Utilities could offer telecommunications services 25 | Analysis Five innovations made by water companies in 2015 26 Customers 26 | News Public to be quizzed on what it wants from competition 27 Markets & Trading 27 | News Oil price slides to near 7-year lows 28 | Market view Was electricity privatisation worth it? 30 Community 31 | Disconnector Water market must brace itself for TPIs A taste of things to come this week, with Ofwat's announcement that it wants to regulate third party intermediaries (TPIs) in the water market by proxy, ordering water companies to deal only with those TPIs that have signed up to a code of conduct. Whether this will be an effective means of regulating their behaviour remains to be seen. Certainly Ofgem has yet to win its ongoing battle to bring order and transparency to the TPI market in energy, shelving its latest plans for a TPI code of conduct this spring pending the Competition and Markets Authority findings on the energy retail market. That's not to suggest that TPIs are a bad thing. Indeed, the much higher customer satisfaction rating among business consumers of energy, as opposed to domestic consumers, is oen credited to the higher penetration of TPIs in that market. A TPI is well placed to help a business customer understand and manage their energy use and find the best deal for their particular energy profile. The same will be true of the water market when that opens to competition for business customers in 2017, as Ofwat is anticipating. Last week's surprise announcement that competition in the domestic water market is likely to follow as early as 2020 makes this all the more pressing. A natural consequence of opening the market to competition will be the entrance of TPIs and particularly of price comparison sites. Already key players in the energy market, price comparison sites will no doubt scent an opportunity in the water market – and the potentially more lucrative arena of bundling together utility services. But price comparison sites are not always the altruistic servant of the customer they may seem. There is sometimes murkiness around their independence and their commissions, which should be re- solved before their role in the essential utilities market is expanded. For Ofwat, this week's consultation may be just the start of a long task of protecting customers as a once simple market disaggregates and fragments. • As Storm Desmond continues to rage, the essential nature of  utilities is brought home to us once again this week. Utilities in the affected areas of the country have been working around the clock to restore water and power, and the government has promised a full review of the country's flood defences. Utilities must be at the table for this conversation if the devastating impact of increasing extreme weather is to be brought under control. Ellen Bennett, Editor ellen.bennett@fav-house.com GAS 27 | News Oil price slides to near 7-year lows 27 | News More gas storage capacity essential WATER 8 | Interview Ben Jeffs, chief executive, MOSL 18 | News Ofwat keeps TPIs at arm's length 19 | Market view The implications of household retail market competition 21 | News Wessex blames price controls for profit fall 25 | Analysis Five water innovations of 2015 ELECTRICITY 21 | News Smart EV charging eases strain on grid 27 | News UK coal generation dips by 40% in a year 28 | Market view Roger Barnard looks back on electricity privatisation ENERGY 11 | Topic The whole-life cost of an asset is crucial 18 | News Energy UK looks to CAB for top recruit 22 | Analysis Building the grid of the future 26 | I am the customer Lewis Shand Smith OpOwer: Eon UK rebuilt trust with cus- tomer engagement and digital transformation. http://bit.ly/1M8xxD3 Knowledge worth keeping Visit the Downloads section of Utility Week's website http://www.utilityweek.co.uk/ downloads Bain & Company: Utilities 2015: A policy positioning paper http://bit.ly/1jANeGB

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