Utility Week

UTILITY Week 6th May 2016

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UTILITY WEEK | 6TH - 12TH MAY 2016 | 27 Customers This week UU supports plan to ease pressure on grid Supplier working with Sainsbury's and Aggregate Industries to balance energy supply and demand United Utilities has teamed up with Sainsbury's and Aggregate Industries in a new project – the Living Grid – to relieve pressure on the electricity grid through demand response measures. Brought together by non- profit group Forum for the Future, the three companies co-founded the movement of corporate energy users that aims to create 200MW of flexible power across the UK by 2020. Users will be offered incentives to shi electricity- consuming activities from periods of high demand to periods of low demand. By doing so, they expect to pro- vide 39MW of flexible capacity between them by 2020. The companies will be rewarded with extra revenue that they can plough back into making their busi- ness more energy efficient, through National Grid's frequency-response market. UU is projected to earn up to £5 million by 2020. The energy system is stretched to its limit to sup- ply enough electricity during peaks in demand, then as demand drops – or when renewable energy surges through the system – much of that electricity is wasted. Corporate energy users can influence the demand- side of the grid because their energy needs have a sig- nificant impact on peaks and troughs in electricity use. UU's sustainability strategy manager Jonathan Dobson said: "Energy is one of our biggest costs and it's vital that we get smarter at how we use it. We're proud to show the huge scope for the water industry to use electricity in a more flexible way." LV WATER Affinity improves developer services Affinity Water made the biggest improvement in developer services for water supply in the fourth quarter of 2015 with a score of 91.6 per cent, up from 74 per cent the previous quarter. Six companies – Anglian Water, Bournemouth Water, Bristol Water, Portsmouth Water, South East Water and Thames Water – showed a deterioration in their scores for water supply services since Q3. According to company performance data on meeting developer services targets, pub- lished by Water UK, Dee Valley was the only company to attain a perfect score for water supply in Q4, closely followed by Sut- ton and East Surrey Water and Southern Water, which scored 99.5 per cent. PAN-UTILITY UK utilities ranked second for service The utilities sector in the UK has ranked second in Europe for customer satisfaction, according to figures from the Institute of Customer Service (ICS). The ICS European Customer Satisfaction Index (EUCSI) gave UK utilities a score of 72.8 out of 100, just behind top-scoring Germany (73.4). This is the first time the Institute has compiled research into how customer satisfaction varies across Europe, and builds on its UK Customer Satisfaction Index, which has been running since 2008. ICS chief executive Jo Causon said: "It's encouraging to see that the UK's utilities sector is achieving higher levels of cus- tomer satisfaction, along with Germany, when compared to the rest of Europe." ENERGY Ofgem mulls further action on PPM tariffs Ofgem has expressed concern over a lack of competitive deals for prepayment customers, and said it is considering whether further action is needed. New figures released by the regulator revealed energy customer switching increased by 8 per cent in the first three months of 2016, compared with the same period last year. However, Ofgem senior partner Rachel Fletcher said the regulator was "very concerned" that suppliers are not offering people with prepayment meters the much cheaper fixed deals available to other customers. In its provisional findings, the CMA proposed a temporary price control for the 4 million customers on pre-payment meters pending the full rollout of smart meters and wider reform of the market by 2020. The Living Grid will reduce peaks in demand Business supplier Dong Energy is offering its customers renewable electricity for the same price as power from traditional sources in a bid to encourage companies to switch to cleaner power. The business utility will subsidise the extra costs of going green so UK firms can access renewable electric- ity and achieve sustainability targets without commercial disadvantage. Dong Energy Sales manag- ing director Jeff Whittingham ENERGY Dong Energy covers extra cost of green power for businesses said: "We are taking this bold step because we believe that all businesses should have access to renewable electricity supply without paying a premium. "If we are to embrace a truly sustainable energy future, we will need to take an integrated and forward-thinking approach to energy." In 2001, the government introduced the Climate Change Levy, a tax designed to encour- age businesses to use less energy. Businesses that bought renewable electricity could gain exemption from the tax by buying levy exemption certifi- cates. This drove a demand for renewable supply in the UK and resulted in renewable electricity selling at a similar or lower price to "brown" electricity. Last year the government announced that the exemp- tion would be phased out from August 2015. As a result, demand for renewable electricity has once again become a sustain- ability choice for businesses. Renewable Energy Guaran- tee of Origin certificates – used as evidence for the source of renewable electricity supply – now hold a value in the market, and renewable electricity is sold at a premium to brown. Whittingham added: "We are making this announcement at a time of tight budgets and fierce competition for businesses of all types and sizes who are under growing pressure to reduce carbon emissions and develop a sustainable business."

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