Utility Week

UTILITY Week 27th May 2016

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

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16 | 27TH MAY - 2ND JUNE 2016 | UTILITY WEEK Policy & Regulation This week Yorkshire fracking well gets go-ahead Planning approval for Third Energy is a major boost for the fracking industry in the UK In a major boost for the UK fracking industry, shale develop- ment company Third Energy has been given the go-ahead by North Yorkshire county council to hydraulically fracture an exist- ing well near the village of Kirby Misperton. The council's planning com- mittee voted in favour by seven to four, allowing the firm to test the process at the well over an eight-week period, fracturing it in five different places to gauge its productivity. This is the first time an application for fracking in the UK has been given council approval since a ban was lied in 2012. "The committee has sat for two days and listened to over 100 speakers before deliberating the planning officer's report and recommendation to accept Third Energy's application," the council said in a statement. "This has been a long and taxing process which the committee has undertaken with very careful considera- tion of all the issues raised." Third Energy chief executive Rasik Valand said: "We will have to deliver on our commitment, made to the committee and to the people of Ryedale, to undertake this operation safely and without impacting on the local environment." Valand said it would be some time before any frack- ing activity started on the site because the company need first to fulfil planning conditions and then get consent from the Environment Agency prior to receiving final approval from the secretary of state. LV ELECTRICITY EDF has Hinkley cash ready to go Hinkley Point C is "ready" and "the money is there" but EDF is consulting with unions before it makes a final investment decision, the chief executive of its UK arm told the Energy and Climate Change Committee this week. Vincent de Rivaz said: "A plan to address the overall situa- tion of EDF… has been presented to the EDF board by the chair- man with agreement from the French state." "The combination of the money coming from EDF and CGN, our Chinese partners, means the money is there," he added. De Rivaz was called back in front of the committee aer saying at a previous meeting it would be "very reasonable" to expect a final investment deci- sion to be made by mid-May. He said that it would hinge on the French government agreeing to provide further financial support for the company. ELECTRICITY Anti-diesel action 'will hit distributed generation' Measures being considered by the government to limit the role of diesel generation in the capacity market would mostly hit distributed genera- tion and would not favour new gas stations, the Association of Decentralised Energy (ADE) has warned. The government wants to reduce the "embedded benefit" enjoyed by small-scale distri- bution-connected diesel, which is able to avoid transmission charges. However, ADE warned that countermeasures would a also hit distributed generation. In addition, analysis by Cornwall Energy released this week said the measures would mean more contracts for old gas stations rather than new ones. WATER Water firms only allowed to back-bill for 16 months: Ofwat Water retailers will be permitted to back-bill customers they have under-charged for a maximum period of 16 months, under new rules laid out by Ofwat. The regulator has taken the latest step towards opening the business water retail market in England from April 2017 with the publication of a new code of practice to protect eligible busi- ness, charity and public sector customers in England. As part of the code, if custom- ers have been undercharged, retailers can send catch-up bills covering a period of up to 16 months only – down from the current six-year threshold. Testing times: final approval still needed Political Agenda Mathew Beech "This may not have been a high-profile Queen's Speech" The government set out its plans for the coming year in the Queen's Speech, with the man- tra that less (from the govern- ment) is more (for consumers). Prime minister David Cam- eron penned a "radical and bold" speech for the head of state to read out in the Lords. It included the Modern Trans- port Bill, designed to "ensure the UK is at the forefront of technol- ogy for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles". Finally, the Wales Bill will devolve further powers, includ- ing those relating to energy, to the Welsh Assembly. While this may not have been a high-profile Queen's Speech, it has stuck to the Conservative philosophy of small government and the belief that competition and markets will deliver better, and cost-efficient, outcomes for the public. Time will tell how much of this agenda will be achieved and how much it will deliver. Away from this, the Tories are set to hand over more planning powers to local communities – including giving them a greater input into whether renewable generation developments will get built. The Better Markets Bill is designed to give competition in the energy and banking sector a much-needed boost by making it easier to switch – following on from the government's desire to make 24 hours switching pos- sible. The bill includes a state- ment that the Competition and Markets Authority's remedies will be implemented in full, and gives the National Infrastructure Commission more authority.

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