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UTILITY Week 6th May 2016

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UTILITY WEEK | 6TH - 12TH MAY 2016 | 11 Policy & Regulation This week Decc won't quantify smart meter success Energy minister will not set target for uptake of smart meters by end of rollout in 2020 A row broke out in the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) this week when energy minister Andrea Leadsom refused to quantify what the Department for Energy and Cli- mate Change (Decc) will deem as a successful uptake in the smart meter rollout. ECCC member James Heappey asked Leadsom what percentage of customers would have to accept smart meters by 2020 for the rollout to be deemed a success, but Leadsom refused to give a figure. She said: "I am resisting setting a target because, frankly, for the life of me I cannot understand why the committee would expect that… What would be the merit of guessing how many people would accept the offer?" While Decc's stated goal for the smart meter rollout is for every household in Britain to be offered a smart meter by 2020, Heappey said Decc "must have a measure of success". He said: "This is a huge public infrastruc- ture project, and I am not sure that you have a target in mind for what level of uptake you are hoping for." Heappey did not accept Leadsom's argument that it is not appropriate for Decc to set a target because smart meters are not obligatory. "The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have managed to set a target for what they consider to be a reasonable uptake on the back of the state aid broadband programme. "That target is 30 per cent, which is quite low. It could be 15 per cent. But I just wondered if Decc has ever set a figure by which it measures success for the uptake of the smart meter rollout." LD ENERGY Ofgem 'needs power to effect change' The Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) is backing government plans to give Ofgem more powers to effect industry change and usher in competition to onshore transmission assets. The ECCC said government proposals in the dra legislation on energy "put the needs of cus- tomers front and centre". But it accepted industry concern about giving Ofgem powers to change industry codes to drive faster switching and half-hourly charg- ing, and recommended amend- ments to ensure transparency. ECCC chair Angus MacNeil said: "The energy industry has for too long been able to decide when to change the way it engages with the energy market. This has not served consumers well. But in the interests of clar- ity and transparency, we believe that Ofgem should publish an impact assessment of any changes it proposes to make." ENERGY Ministers 'must back carbon budget' The Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) has called on ministers to adopt the fih car- bon budget, and to set a power sector carbon intensity target of 100 gCO2/kWh by 2030 to help achieve it. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published its advice on the fih carbon budget in November 2015, recommend- ing that the budget should be set at 1,765 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, including inter- national shipping emissions. ECCC chair Angus MacNeil said: "We can see no basis for downgrading the UK's ambition to reduce emissions of climate- changing greenhouse gases." WATER Industry supports flooding rule The water sector has urged MPs to support a "vital" new clause added to the Housing and Planning Bill by the House of Lords, which would ensure flood prevention measures for new housing developments. Amendment 110 would remove the automatic right to connect surface water to the pub- lic sewer systemy. Representative body Water UK said it will ensure the use of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) is considered for all new developments regard- less of scale, because developers would not have the "simple alter- native" of disposing of surface water through the sewer system. Currently, developers are encouraged through the plan- ning system to install SuDS, but retain the legal power to demand a connection to the sewer system to handle water runoff. Customers do not have to accept a smart meter Political Agenda Mathew Beech "Leadsom is not setting out what smart meter success is" The phrase "shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you'll land among the stars", is well known, but seemingly not inside the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), at least when it comes to the smart meter rollout. Energy minister Andrea Leadsom, giving evidence to the Energy and Climate Change select committee, steadfastly refused to even suggest what Decc would consider a success- ful smart meter rollout by 2020. within Decc to set a target for a government-backed project was Greg Barker, with his now infamous sleepless nights com- ment if the Green Deal failed to hit 10,000 plans by the end of 2013. It only reached 15,138 plans in progress at the end of October 2015. Even if the programme lands among the stars, missing the moon would be seen as a failure. One Leadsom is dodging by avoiding Barker's mistake and not setting out what success is. "I am resisting setting a target because, frankly, for the life of me I cannot understand why the committee would expect that," she said. "What would be the merit of guessing how many people would accept the offer?" Decc says that modelling in its impact assessment for the £11 billion project assumes that replacing "97 per cent of the meter population with a smart meter equates to effective com- pletion of the mass rollout". And former energy minister Baroness Verma said the programme will replace 53 million meters. However, one of the last members of the ministerial team

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