Utility Week

UTILITY Week 5th February 2016

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UTILITY WEEK | 5TH - 11TH FEBRUARY 2016 | 5 Distribution network operators Northern Powergrid and Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) reconnected 42,000 customers between them by Saturday (30 January), as engineers battled the fallout from Storm Gertrude last week. Northern Powergrid reported that by Saturday it had reconnected the last 45 customers of 25,000 homes and businesses affected. SHEPD reported on the same day that it was no longer on yellow alert, after more than 17,000 customers had their power restored. Scottish Power and SSE cut gas tariffs Scottish Power and SSE announced cuts to their gas tariffs this week, following Eon in heeding calls from the Cabinet to respond to falling wholesale prices. Eon said last week it would cut average bills by 5.1 per cent, starting 20 January. SSE upped the ante with a 5.3 per cent price cut, effective from the end of March, announced on 28 January. Scottish Power topped that with a 5.4 per cent price cut, announced on 2 February and effective from mid-March. Despite the cuts, the big six suppliers still came in for criticism from consumer groups and competitors. Uswitch.com director of consumer policy, Ann Robinson, said: "Scottish Power is doing the right thing by following British Gas, Eon and SSE with a price cut but – yet again – it falls well short of what customers have a right to expect. "This is yet another demonstration that the energy market is broken. In a healthy, competitive market, drops in wholesale prices – which make up around half of bills – would be passed on. We should be seeing reductions of at least 10 per cent on standard gas and electricity tariffs." GAS Hinkley doubts cast long shadow The ongoing uncertainty over EDF's Hinkley Point C has cast doubt over the UK's second planned new nuclear plant, Horizon's Wylfa Newydd project, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph. The newspaper reported last weekend that Hitachi chairman and chief executive Hiroaki Nakanishi expressed his concerns to the foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, when Hammond visited Japan earlier this month. Meanwhile, The Sunday Times reported that a get-out clause in the government's contract with EDF, allowing the Treasury to back out of financial support if the French energy giant's troubled Flamanville nuclear plant is not up and running by 2020, could put further pressure on the project. ELECTRICITY £11.7m Amount in dispute between Ofgem and the Data Communications Company, which has hit back at the regulator's proposal to trim "unacceptable" forecasted costs that would otherwise be passed on to users of the network. "The scope of tidal lagoons for economic growth and jobs in Wales and the UK is clear" Simec, owned by the Gupta family, makes an eight-figure investment in tidal power in the UK, a much-needed boon for the sector. "I cannot imagine influencing the competitiveness of the European energy system nearly as well from the outside" Centrica boss Iain Conn tells The Times the UK should stay in the EU. 78% The proportion of the public that backs the use of renewables, according to the latest figures from Decc. Photo: Press Association 80% Chance of blackouts this year, according to Energy Managers Association chief executive officer Lord Redesdale

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