Utility Week

UTILITY Week 8th January 2016

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18 | 8TH - 14TH JANUARY 2016 | UTILITY WEEK Policy & Regulation This week Swingeing cuts to FIT lighter than feared Reduction in domestic tariff significantly lower than 89 per cent mooted by government in August Ministers have announced their final decision on new rates for the feed-in tariff (FIT) for 2016 and beyond, including a 63 per cent cut to the domestic tariff. Domestic installations up to 10kW in size will now receive 4.39p/kWh, down from around 12p/kWh currently, but much less punitive than the original 1.63p/kWh proposed in the government's consultation. Small commercial projects of 10-50kW in size will see the feed-in tariff cut from 11.30p/kWh to 4.59p/kWh, as against a proposed 3.69p/kWh. Meanwhile, large projects of more than 1MW will receive 0.87p/kWh, 15.5 per cent less than the consulta- tion's proposed rate of 1.03p/kWh. All of the tariff changes will come into force from 8 February, with the deadline for projects to receive the current higher tariffs set at 15 January. The overall spending cap for all technologies (wind, solar, hydro and anaerobic digestion) will stay at £100 million until 2018 – about £35 million a year – as pro- posed by the government. The Solar Trade Association said the new tariffs would be "challenging" for commercial projects but it hoped that increasing corporate commitment to address- ing climate change would help drive the market. In its impact assessment released alongside the deci- sion, the government predicted that between 9,700 and 18,700 solar jobs could be lost as a result of the changes. Though dramatic, the cuts are lower than the 89 per cent mooted by the consultation in August. edie.net ENERGY Billing woes cost Npower £26m Npower will pay a redress pack- age of £26 million aer its billing and complaint-handling failures, Ofgem has announced. The £26 million package will be divided between the worst affected customers and charity. Npower introduced a new IT system in 2011. Between Septem- ber 2013 and December 2014, it issued more than 500,000 late bills. Some affected customers also received inaccurate bills with little or no detail about how they had been calculated. During this period, Npower customers made more than two million complaints. It oen failed to resolve these issues promptly, pursued disputed debts and failed to keep its own commitments to customers on billing, the regulator said. WATER Market closed to firms with poor data Water companies will be blocked from entering the shadow mar- ket in 2016 if they do not upload valid data to the central market operating system. Market Operator Services Limited (MOSL) said companies will have to submit performance improvement plans to address problems during implementa- tion of the new market. The firm said it would help companies establish and then monitor progress against perfor- mance improvement plans. MOSL has published guid- ance for companies planning to take part in the competitive market for non-household water customers, setting out key actions that participant companies will have to take with respect to market systems, data and processes. WATER Bristol Water's cost data 'not reliable' Bristol Water has failed to report reliable information on costs to stakeholders, and Ofwat has asked the water firm to carry out more detailed assurance. The regulator said the company's behaviour had led to a "reduction in trust and confidence", and has down- graded the firm from "targeted" to "prescribed" on its company monitoring framework. Ofwat said it had informed Bristol Water of its intention in early November and challenged the firm to provide a plan for how it will meet the require- ments of a prescribed company. Chief executive Luis Garcia said Bristol had developed a plan to provide the required assur- ance. "Ofwat is seeking greater assurance on our forecast data; this is not about our delivery and performance," he added. Solar firms say new tariffs will be 'challenging' Political Agenda Jillian Ambrose "Stewart has been rebranded as the 'floods minister'" Question: When is a water minis- ter no longer a water minister? Answer: When huge swathes of the country are up to their necks in the stuff. Rory Stewart, previously known as the government's water minister, has been uncer- emoniously rebranded as the more topical "floods minister"; responsible for tackling the nation's increasingly frequent flooding, and bearer of the government's increasingly frequent excuses. but luckily a particularly patient farmer saved the day by making a 30-minute trip by quad bike to the stranded ministers to escort them to the local meeting. The incident has already gone viral on social media, sparking comparisons with the kind of omnishambles usually found in an episode of political comedy The Thick of It. It might all be enough to leave Stewart feeling a little nostalgic about his simpler days as water minister. And now Stewart can add "scapegoat duties" to the list that already includes wielding wel- lies, high-viz jackets and damp apologies. Thousands of resi- dents in Cumbria focused their frustrations on the well-meaning minister aer a botched attempt to curry some favour over the first weekend of the year. Stewart, with transport secre- tary Patrick McLoughlin, set off to meet residents of the Cumbrian villages of Soulby and Pooley Bridge only to arrive 20 minutes late and find that the eponymous bridge had washed away. The ministers were le on the wrong side of the raging river without a proverbial paddle,

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