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Utility Week 30th September 2016

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4 | 30TH SEPTEMBER - 6TH OCTOBER 2016 | UTILITY WEEK Businesses back the government investment in smarter energy Food and drink companies in the UK back government investment in a smarter energy market, according to a survey by Npower Business Solutions. 99% of participants said they believe the expected benefits will be worth the investment 82% of respondents said they participate in demand-side response 26% cited affordable energy as their primary reason for participating 46% said the move to a low-carbon economy is the most important element 100 The number of food and drink firms of more than 250 employees that participated in the survey STORY BY NUMBERS Suppliers 'would have to apply cheapest tariffs' Seven days... L abour will force suppliers to put consumers on their cheapest tariffs if the party wins the next general election. Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool on Monday, shadow energy secretary Barry Gardiner said his party will force suppliers to rename their standard variable tariff as the 'penalty rate tariff '. It will introduce new laws to make suppliers automatically transfer any customer who has been on the tariff for longer than 18 months to their cheapest one. Companies will also be obliged to notify customers of the best deal on the market based on their energy use over the previous year. "How can it be right that when the government found out that we were being overcharged by £1.4 billion a year on our energy bills they said 'It's all the customers' fault – we should shop around more!' We need to shop around for a new govern- ment," Gardiner told delegates. "A new Labour government will legislate to force the energy companies to put you on their cheapest tariff and to tell you if you can get a better deal elsewhere." In line with the energy manifesto launched by Jeremy Corbyn earlier this month, a new programme called Repowering Britain will put consumers "in control" of their energy. "We need to localise the way energy is produced and stored," said Gardiner. "I want people earning from the energy they produce on their rooop solar or their community wind turbines, not just consuming what the big six sell." The shadow energy secretary also confirmed that a Labour government would ban hydrau- lic fracturing in Britain. TG 1,932,600 The total number of measures installed under the Energy Company Obligation (Eco) up to the end of July 2016 National media Dutch parliament votes to close coal The Dutch parliament has voted for a 55 per cent cut in CO2 emissions by 2030, which would require the closure of all the country's coal- fired power plants. The unexpected vote by 77 to 72 would bring the Netherlands into line with the Paris agreement. It is not binding on the govern- ment, but the Liberal and Labour parties say they will now push for its speedy implementation. The country has five coal-fired plants in operation. Three of these came online in 2015, and have been blamed for a 5 per cent rise in the country's emissions last year. The Guardian, 24 September New material gives solar a diamond shine Scientists at GE's Global Research Center have been developing a better material for use in the solar industry. First discovered in attempts to produce artificial diamonds, silicon carbide (SiC) is likely to replace silica in the semiconductor and solar indus- tries, significantly increasing their efficiency and speed. SiC is a synthetic crystalline compound of silicon and carbon with diamond-like strength and resistance to high temperatures. Forbes, 23 September Minister: Opec plans fresh oil price talks Oil producers in the Opec group of countries will make another attempt this week to reverse a slump in crude prices, according to Algeria's energy minister. Noureddine Bouterfa said there would be an informal gathering of Opec members on the sidelines of an energy conference in Algiers on Wednesday: "We will not come out of the meeting empty-handed." Analysts remain gloomy about the chances of an agreement. BBC, 26 September

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