Utility Week

UTILITY Week 19th February 2016

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

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utILIty WeeK | 19th - 25th February 2016 | 31 Community Editor, Utility Week, and content director, Utilities: ellen bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellen. bennett@fav-house.com; Assistant editor (insights): Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: jane.gray@ fav-house.com; Associate insights editor: Mathew beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathew.beech@ fav-house.com; Deputy news editor: Lois Vallely, t: 01342 332080; e: lois.vallely@fav-house.com; Networks correspondent: Lucinda Dann, t: 01342 332083, e: lucinda.dann@fav-house.com; Reporters: Saffron Johnson, t: 01342 332050, e: saffron.johnson@fav-house.com and Tom Grimwood, t: 01342 332061, e: tom.grimwood@fav-house.com; Business development manager: richard Powell, t: 01342 332062, e: richard.powell@fav-house.com; Business development executive: Sarah Wood, t: 01342 332077, e: sarah.wood@fav-house.com; Publisher: amanda barnes, e: amanda.barnes@fav-house.com. General enquiries: 01342 332000; ISSN: 1356-5532. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Printed by: Buxton Press, Palace Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6AE. Published by: Faversham house Ltd, Windsor Court, Wood Street, east Grinstead, West Sussex rh19 1uZ 3,580 average circulation Jan–Dec 2014 Membership subscriptions: UK £637 per year. Overseas £749 per year. Top Tweets Appearance money These days companies go to considerable effort to make staff feel valued and appreci- ated. Aer all, who doesn't like some public recognition? Well, a long-service award didn't work out so well for Spanish water inspector Joaquin Garcia. Officials discovered he hadn't shown up to work for at least six years when they attempted to give him an award for 20 years of service in 2010 and they wondered where he was. A legal case was launched against him that year and was finally wrapped up last week, with Garcia being ordered to repay £21,000 to his employer. The 69-year-old started work- ing for the local authority in 1990 and was transferred to the water treatment plant in 1996. The investigation determined he hadn't been to his office for at least six years — and possibly as long as 14. The problem was that the water company thought the city council was in charge of him, and the council thought the water company was. Why it took six years for the case to go through is unclear except for the observation that things tend to move slowly in Spain. Well, you can't get the staff. Count your blessings Disconnector was taken with the story last week of the Russian Orthodox Church that settled a debt dispute with a local building firm in Nizhny Novgorod by promising to pay the claimants in prayers. Construction company Era designed and built a heating system for one of the church's buildings at a cost of 916,000 roubles (that's about £8,000 to you and me), but the church only came up with half the cash so the company filed a complaint with the civil courts. For reasons not disclosed, the building firm got cold feet and settled the claim in return for the church praying for the com- pany's mercantile success. Era sales manager Andrei Lepustin said: "We do not plan to check how the prayer agreement is implemented. We respect the diocese and we are all believers." But he did say he thought it was already working since the company's "prosper- ity indicators" were growing. The great man is not sure it's an idea that would get much traction here. We're sim- ply not as in awe of the church as we once were, as witnessed by water companies' attempts to whack up church water surface drainage charges a few years back. The churches were up in arms, but no-one sought to pay with prayers. Mind you, the great man thinks it does leave the Rus- sian Orthodox Church on some questionable theological ground. If the pious building folk at Era are indeed prosper- ing because of the church's prayers, presumably some other good building folk (who could be equally pious) are suffering in direct reverse. Bloc party Keeping our attention focused on the East, Disconnector is glad to see the countries in the former Eastern Bloc are trying to spread their capitalist wings and improve their lot, but thinks sometimes their enthusi- asm runs away with them. Take the Slovenian town of Zalec, for instance, nestled in the mountains and famed for its hop plantations. In a bid to increase tourism to the town, the local council has okayed a budget of £133,000 for its half share of the cost to build a beer fountain in the town square. It did not go through with- out some opposition, mainly from those who wanted the money used to improve the water supply to local villages instead, but in the end the motion was carried by two- thirds of councillors. The great man is all in favour of an entrepreneurial spirit, and everyone knows that you've got to speculate to accumulate, but a beer fountain? The good burghers of Zalec have not considered what sort of tourist they're going to attract. Neighbouring Budapest thought tapping into the Eng- lish penchant for stag week- ends was a money-spinner and is probably ruing its success in that sector of the market. Disconnector Graham Hiscott @Grahamhiscott So five energy firms have now announced price cuts. Four with exact same £32 a year saving and one £31. Not that they act like a herd. William Marchant @richonlyinname SSE almost always tops customer satisfaction league tables (of the Big 6). Yet it's also nearly topping out the complaints. Dissonant. Jay @Jayaram_ab 1 of Belgium electricity suppliers offering #tesla battery to their customers. Retail competition :) in electricity to a new level Luke Sussams @Suss_quatch High costs of #energy storage mean #EVs are not competitive until after 2035 #BPstats Conservative to say the least Mauricio Bermudez @Dr_Bermudez @ofgem Martin Crouch #solarPV capacity in UK that was meant 2 be installed over 18yrs happened in 3 years #energydisruption #ofgeminnovation Barbara Pollack @dirfooddrink RT ofgem .miller_klein - "Slowly, steadily, the #InternetOfThings is making progress with how we treat cities as a system." #ofgeminnovation EUPanelWatch @EUPanelWatch Not only is @ofgem presenting #ofgeminnovation with an #allmalepanel, but @TheFCA speaker says "bearded young men" @ heart of #innovation :( Jeremy Gordon @jrmygrdn ‹Exascale turbines 200m long...› I wonder how big they will get... These bad boys would rival tallest skyscrapers. James Herron @ja_herron Apparently Kanye West wants to get into nuclear power Doug Parr @doug_parr China's turnaround on #coal means its new policy isn't just stopping mines opening, it's also closing old ones

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