Utility Week

UTILITY Week 26th February 2016

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 26Th FEbrUarY - 3rd march 2016 | 3 Leader Ellen Bennett This week 4 | Seven days 6 | People & Opinion 8 | Interview matthew bell, chief executive, committee on climate change 13 Policy & Regulation 13 | News Whitehead: rethink emergency gas helpline 14 | Market view What happens after the carbon tax freeze? 15 | Analysis Seven-figure fines for polluters 17 Finance & Investment 17 | News rWE to reveal details of Npower overhaul 19 | Analysis centrica says it has a plan to restore its fortunes 21 | Market view could a Pipeco take the heat? 22 Operations & Assets 22 | High viz a multi-turbine wind platform for the dounreay Tri Project 23 | Expert view robert Whiteside, Gocardless 24 | Market view battery storage can balance intermittent renewable generation 25 | Market view Should we start again on code governance? 26 Customers 26 | News Water firms face flak for 'unearned profits' 27 Markets & Trading 27 | Market view 2015 was tough for suppliers 30 Community 31 | Disconnector The transformation of energy giants What turns a struggling energy behemoth into a beautiful butterfly? The need for metamorphosis among the market's established players has never been clearer as this week we see the eye-watering impact of deteriorating market conditions on the bottom line. Take RWE – a €2.1 billion writedown on its conventional generation assets and a suspension of the dividend were announced this week. At Centrica, 2015 adjusted operating profit was down 12 per cent at group level, and E&P and power assets were written down by nearly £2 billion. At Drax, pre-tax profit plummeted 64 per cent. Money talks, and it doesn't take the Competition and Markets Authority probe to tell these companies that life as they know it is over. As we report this week, Centrica is well on its way to achieving its billion-pound strategy overhaul, while RWE is preparing to reveal details of a "comprehensive restructure" of Npower's supply busi- ness and its global operations in traditional generation early next month. Drax's conversion to biomass is, of course, well advanced. The change will be painful. Centrica has already shed 2,000 jobs, with a further 1,000 to go this year and 3,000 more by the end of the decade. Job cuts seem likely at Npower too, as the promised restructure is designed to cut costs by €2.5 billion at group level by 2018. Specialised players are set to benefit, with companies such as the Czech utility EPH snapping up traditional assets at a low price from established players seeking to get them off their books. On the retail side, fleet-of-foot independents continue to benefit as switch- ing rates rise. In splitting out their businesses into traditional generators and energy services with renewables and grid operations, the big players will be hoping to benefit from just such specialisation. Not all will succeed. Hamstrung by their legacies, their brands, and their sheer scale, some energy players will doubtless be unable to achieve the necessary transformation in time. For those that do, a very different future beckons. • Calls for a government strategy for carbon capture and storage  have become deafening. As we report this week, shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead and Matthew Bell, chief executive of the Committee for Climate Change, are the latest figures to point out (news p13 and interview p8) the glaring gap in policy aer the eleventh-hour cancellation of the competition to develop the new technology last year. How much longer can government hold out? Ellen Bennett, Editor ellen.bennett@fav-house.com GaS 13 | News Whitehead: rethink emergency gas helpline 17 | News bG thrives as parent centrica struggles 19 | Market view centrica looks to the future 21 | Market view Funding models for district heat 26 | News 'Fuel poor need access to cheap gas' 27 | Market view Falling gas prices contribute to tough year for suppliers WaTEr 13 | News Ofwat to reassess price control period 15 | Analysis Fines for pollution hit seven figures ELEcTrIcITY 17 | News Greencoat defies low power prices 17 | News drax profits down by two-thirds ENErGY 14 | Market view carbon tax after the freeze 24 | Market view Grid-scale battery storage 25 | Market view Time to rethink code governance? 26 | News most of big six favour doorstep selling ban 26 | News Supplier switching up by 15% in 2015 Knowledge worth Keeping Visit the DownloaDs section of Utility week's website http://www.utilityweek.co.uk/ downloads Arcadis: Water sector innovation and perceptions of totex. http://bit.ly/1SaTP9F Archilles: how can utility suppliers get noticed by big industry buyers http://bit.ly/1KaByWW

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