Utility Week

UTILITY Week 18th March 2016

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 18TH - 24TH MARCH 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; Membership enquiries: Peter Bissell, t: 01342 332507, e: peter.bissell@fav-house.com. 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 2015 Membership subscriptions: UK £637 per year. Overseas £749 per year. Contact Peter Bissell on: 01342 332507 Top Tweets Certain peril There's no such thing as a sure thing – everyone knows that. But does everything have to be quite so up in the air? The energy industry, in particular, keeps crying out for "certainty", but Disconnector sees little prospect of ever get- ting it. As the country hurtles towards a referendum on Europe, Cameron and chums have bigger things on their minds than coming up with a realistic picture of where we're going to get our energy from. We don't know whether the UK will remain in Europe, or what Brexit would mean for all our climate change commit- ments. It would be typical that just when we'd finished knock- ing down all our coal-fired power stations, we decided to embrace the black stuff again and to hell with windfarms. Mind you, the fancy brick- work involved in erecting those chimneys requires lost skills, so we'd probably have to import the labour from eastern Europe to do it. Which would be ironic. Brexit would almost cer- tainly mean the departure of David Cameron – he's anyway said he's not going to serve another term. But who would replace him? A Tory Outer, pre- sumably. Gove? Unlikely. Boris Johnson? Virtually a shoo-in. How certain an investment climate would that be for utili- ties? Boris's bumbling charm might start wearing a little thin once people had to make billion-pound investment deci- sions based on his assurances. A Medway Airport, anyone? Of course any uncertainty we Brits can muster pales into insig- nificance next to what our US cousins can pull off; the Yanks have beaten us hands down with Donald Trump. If he gets to be president he could solve the migrant crisis by importing all the labour he needs to build his wall with Mexico. At least it would take our minds off climate change. With Trump at the helm of the free world, our concern would be avoiding a nuclear holocaust. Leave it to the professionals The rise of Trump in the US, and Jeremy Corbyn here, is indica- tive of people's disillusionment with politics in general – and politicians specifically. It's a contempt for "professional" politicians, although why peo- ple think politics is the one field better served by amateurs is a mystery. "Professional" is not considered an insult if applied to a teacher or a surgeon, so why do we so disdain profes- sionalism in our politicians? Disconnector was struck thus when hearing of a mara- thon filibuster in South Korea, when 38 MPs attempted to talk down a piece of anti-terrorism legislation. What makes this filibuster so noteworthy is its scale: MPs talked for 193 hours straight in an attempt to talk the legislation out. They wore trainers for comfort and refrained from drinking to minimise toilet breaks. However, the rebels made a schoolboy error because even though they managed to keep it going for nine days, the govern- ment had allowed 18 days for the chamber to discuss the legislation, and in the end they gave up and the bill was passed anyway. Amateurs. Irrational fear Hats off to professor Gerry Thomas of Imperial College London, who has embarked on a one-woman mission to get us to love radiation – or at least to address our irrational fear of it. She argues that not only is there a large amount of background radiation in our everyday lives, but all manner of medical machinery uses radiation to our benefit. Even a disaster such as the Fukushima reactor meltdown has not resulted in any radiation-related deaths, she points out, because the expo- sure time of clean-up workers was properly managed. In fact, she says, an operational coal-fired power station emits three times the radiation of a working nuclear power station because of the natural radio- activity of fossil fuels. Everything she says is true, of course, but it is typical of a scientist to think that ration- ale and people's fears have anything to do with each other. Just ask Donald Trump. Disconnector Leo Murray @crisoturnity Unfortunate turn of phrase here "Nuclear experts are urging the chancellor to press the button" William Marchant @richonlyinname Slightly surprised CMA feels need to tell Ofgem it shd set up a Chief Economist's office. It *is* an economic regulator for crying out loud. Richard Black @_richardblack Beijing is clearing up by reducing #coal burning. What is London doing? (Rhetorical question - we know the answer). Craig Morris @PPchef No one here in Germany ever expected coal to disappear overnight, 2030/40 would be ambitious. Climate Hour @Climatehour The Earth's circumference is 24,901 beautiful miles! Don't forget there is no Planet B. Graham Hiscott @grahamhiscott Reaction from three of the Big Six energy firms. None critical of CMA report. Very telling indeed. Luke Sussams @suss_quatch Predicting bottom of #oilprice is a mug's game Liberate Tate @liberatetate We are thrilled at the news this morning that @Tate is doing the right thing and stopping taking BP's dirty money. Fuel Poverty Action @fuelpovaction Lobbying by #BigSix has led to pathetic watered-down recommendations by CMA. We need public energy, not competition! Jeremy Gordon @jrmygrdn All that said, '225mw' really would be a small reactor. Rob Cairns, @robbiepoet Climate change --- soon hot weather all year round like the easter eggs and xmas tinsel.

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