Utility Week

UTILITY Week 5th February 2016

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

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/635277

Contents of this Issue


Page 24 of 31

Customers This week Big six oppose plan to share prepay details CMA suggests that suppliers disclose data to encourage customers to engage fully with market The big six energy suppliers have lined up against a proposal that they share data on prepay- ment customers, put forward by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The proposal was one of the CMA's suggested ways of getting prepay customers to engage more fully with the market. It suggested that suppliers disclose details of any non- smart prepay customers to Ofgem. Details of customers who do not opt out would be entered onto a secure cloud database to be accessed by other suppliers on a regular basis, possibly annually. This remedy aims to encourage suppliers to compete "more intensively" for prepay customers, according to the CMA. The big six unanimously opposed the measure in their responses to the CMA's consultation on prepay, published last week. RWE, the parent company of Npower, stated that there is "no credible basis on which the CMA can justify remedies such as… sharing of customer data". It also expressed concern that suppliers could in effect "cherry- pick high consuming [prepay] customers". Eon and EDF suggested the remedy could reduce engagement instead of encourage it, while Scottish Power and Centrica, which owns British Gas, opposed it because of concerns over privacy and data protection. SSE noted that prepay customers, unlike direct debit customers, are not obliged to provide their supplier with any personal information, making the process of gather- ing the data "time-consuming and expensive". SJ ELECTRICITY Bidders succeed in transitional auction EDF, Eon, Anglian Water and Southern Water were among the successful bidders in the transitional capacity auction for demand-side response (DSR) measures and small-scale generation held this week. Other successful bidders included Tata Steel, Tempus Energy and DSR aggregator Flexitricity. The auction closed aer four days, securing 803MW of electricity capacity at a clear- ing price of £27.50/kW, nearly 100MW short of its 900MW target. The capacity secured will be delivered in winter 2016/17. The transitional auction is being held in addition to the main capacity auction, the sec- ond of which was in December. It is to ensure demand-side capa- bilities are fully exploited ahead of 2018, when the traditional capacity being sold into the main auctions comes on stream. WATER Call for domestic water charging in NI The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Northern Ireland has called for domestic water charg- ing to be introduced in the prov- ince by May 2019 to help provide high-quality water and sewerage services, and to avoid incurring EU infraction charges. The recommendation is outlined in ICE NI's Building Our Quality of Life manifesto. It includes the 2016 State of the Nation needs assessment across five sectors: flooding, water, waste, energy and transport. ICE NI said in the manifesto: "The EU recommends water charging to sustainably man- age water consumption, and currently Northern Ireland is the only region in the EU to not implement this strategy. With budgets set to remain static – at best – until the end of 2020, we ask the executive to consider the benefits of releasing c£280 mil- lion of the block grant through the introduction of domestic water charging." GAS 20,000 homes to receive 'free' boilers British Gas is offering 20,000 households a gas replacement boiler as part its commitment to delivering energy efficiency in 2016. The scheme will provide free or low-cost gas boilers to almost 20,000 homeowners and tenants in receipt of income-related benefits. Head of strategic projects at British Gas, Angela Needle, said: "This new scheme will deliver more efficient gas boilers to more people for less money. In fact, for most people it will be completely free." Prepay meters: customer data could be shared I am the customer Richard Lloyd "Bills could have been slashed further and sooner" Wholesale energy costs have been reported as falling by nearly a third in the past year, hitting a five-year low, yet energy suppliers appear to have been slow to pass on these benefits to their customers, leaving some to question whether these limited price cuts are enough. The recent reductions from SSE, Ovo Energy and Eon are of course welcome for consumers struggling with high energy bills, but some suppliers, notably Npower and EDF, have yet to act. paign is calling for the Competi- tion and Market Authority (CMA) to fix the broken energy market and ensure energy providers offer an improved service to their customers. The CMA's investigation is due to report in the coming weeks. We need to see measures that make consumers more con- fident to switch, ensure pricing is fair and make the market work effectively for consumers. Richard Lloyd, executive director, Which? Energy suppliers failing to pass on reduced costs to their cus- tomers is yet another example of how competition in this market isn't working for consumers. Last year we analysed real market data on the costs to suppliers of buying wholesale energy and compared this against what consumers have paid for wholesale costs through energy bills in the same period. We found that energy bills could have been slashed further and sooner than the price cuts we saw last winter, saving an equivalent of £145 per house- hold on standard energy tariffs over the past year. Our Fairer Energy Prices cam- UTILITY WEEK | 5TH - 11TH FEBRUARY 2016 | 25

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - UTILITY Week 5th February 2016