Utility Week

UTILITY Week 22nd July 2016

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4 | 22ND - 28TH JULY | UTILITY WEEK Summer switching hits all-time high Figures from Energy UK last week revealed that summer switching levels reached an all-time high with more than two million people switching so far in 2016. Energy UK chief executive Lawrence Slade said customers were shopping around "before winter hits". 360K number of switches in June 2016. 58% increase in switching compared with June 2014. 2.3m number of switches so far in 2016. 120k customers who switched to small and mid-tier suppliers in June 2016. STORY BY NUMBERS Thames Water to exit business retail market Seven days... T hames Water has announced that it will exit the non-household retail market when it opens to compe- tition, and will transfer all of its business customers to Scottish retailer Castle Water. The Scottish supplier will start to take on retail activi- ties for business customers on behalf of Thames Water from autumn 2016, with responsibil- ity transferring across in stages. Castle will acquire the business retail operation from April 2017, when the competitive market opens fully. It will also take on Thames Water's existing Scot- tish business customers. Thames chief executive Martin Baggs said the agreement would allow the company to "concentrate on its core regional household business". "The government is fully opening the national retail market for business customers in order to increase competi- tion, welcome new entrants, inject new ideas and create a more diverse range of services tailored for business needs," he said. "Today's decision will help to deliver those aspirations and we fully believe it is in the best interests of all our custom- ers – both households and businesses." Thames Water will continue to provide retail services to household customers, which make up more than 95 per cent of its customer base. The firm said it would invest heavily in a new customer relation- ship management and bill- ing system for its household retail business. Castle Water chief executive John Reynolds confirmed that all business customers are being notified directly of the change. LV "We have to get this right first time" SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies insists the infrastructure needed for the deployment of smart meters in the UK must be "fit for purpose and in place as soon as possible" after the Brexit vote. National media Siemens and Rolls- Royce talk energy investment in Iran Iran is stepping up the hunt for overseas investment in its energy infrastructure aer talks with Siemens and Rolls-Royce that point to the gradual opening of the country's economy following the liing of international sanctions. Hamid Chitchian, Iran's energy minister, met representatives of both companies in London last week to discuss collaboration in power generation technology. The Financial Times, 17 July Calls in Oz for inquiry into electricity prices Surging electricity prices in South Australia have sparked calls for a national inquiry into renewable energy and whether the electricity market is coping with the influx of wind and solar. Over the past month, South Australia has had surges in whole- sale electricity prices. Normally sitting below $100/MWh, they have fluctuated dramatically in recent weeks, hitting as much as $14,000/MWh and regularly jump- ing above $10,000. The Guardian, 19 July Mary Robinson in plea over Ethiopian drought Former Republic of Ireland presi- dent Mary Robinson has urged world leaders to turn their focus to the severe drought, brought about by shiing weather patterns, that has le millions of Africans in need of food aid. On a visit to Ethiopia in her capacity as UN special envoy for climate and El Nino, Mrs Rob- inson said there was a funding gap of $518 million for efforts to mitigate the effects of the drought in the country. The Irish Times, 5 July 50K Number of installations made so far under the Domestic Renew- able Heat Incentive.

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