Utility Week

UTILITY Week 7th October 2016

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

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UTILITY WEEK | 7TH - 13TH OCTOBER 2016 | 3 Leader Jane Gray This week 4 | Seven days 6 | Interview Peter Emery, chief executive, Electricity North West 9 Policy & Regulation 9 | News UK signs construction agreement for Hinkley 10 | Lobby News and gossip from the Conservative party conference 22 Finance & Investment 22 | News Profits at First Utility plummet by 84% 23 | Market view We may not have the gas capacity we wanted, but the direction of travel is right 24 Operations & Assets 24 | Analysis Digging starts for the Thames Tideway Tunnel. But is it necessary? 26 | Market view Identifying the difficulties and benefits of real-time monitoring of distribution networks 27 | Market view How 'distributed ledgers' can facilitate trade between consumers and utilities 30 Customers 30 | News Suppliers may share vulnerability data 24 | Market view Is Apple planning an assault on the utilites sector? 32 Markets & Trading 32 | Market view Busting five water market myths 34 Community 35 | Disconnector DCC delays risk more than programme timeline It will come as no surprise to observers of the troubled national smart meter rollout that there has been a fresh delay to the pro- gramme. The Data and Communications Company (DCC), which is respon- sible for the central IT system for tracking and transmitting smart meter readings, admitted to Utility Week on Friday 30 September that its go-live date had once again been missed. It's the fourth time the launch of the system – which is integral to extracting value from smart meters – has been pushed back. Previous delays, which rolled from late 2015 to April 2016 to Sep- tember 2016, have elicited criticism from consumer groups, which have warned that deviating from the programme's already demand- ing timeline could end up adding cost for consumers. It will also clearly compress the timescale in which suppliers have to install SMETS2 meters, which require the DCC in order to realise their promise of interoperability. But there may also be deeper negative fallout from the DCC hold up. If suppliers continue to hold back on SMETS2 installation because the DCC is not live, then the rollout of sub-optimal SMETS1 meters will continue. The clunky SMETS1 meters do not have sophisticated func- tionality and, although they are meant to be transferable between suppliers, there have been many instances where customers with SMETS 1 meters have had to abandon their "smart" gadget in order to complete a supplier switch. In short, delaying the release of SMETS2 meters – which sup- pliers will not start ordering before the DCC is active – is causing customer aggravation, hampering switching and ultimately stunting competition in the energy market. This is the very thing that smart meters are meant to promote. It's also notable that the ability of DNOs to benefit from the smart meter rollout is entirely dependent on the DCC. Without access to this central IT system, network operators will not be able to access the customer data that experts hope will lead to innovation in domestic demand-side management and improved customer service. The DCC says it is conducting final testing for the system. Let's hope it's for the final time. Jane Gray, Acting Editor janegray@fav-house.comsw GAS 23 | Market view We don't have the new-build gas capacity we wanted WATER 9 | News Experts call for metaldehyde ban 22 | News £9m for Scottish Water solar schemes 24 | Analysis Will Tideway stay on track? 30 | News Ecotricity rekindles water market plan 32 | Market view Busting five water market myths ELECTRICITY 6 | Interview Peter Emery, chief executive, Electricity North West 27 | Market view Direct trade between utilities and customers ENERGY 9 | News Government to act on £2bn detriment 22 | News Ovo's customer base soars 26 | Market view Real-time monitoring 30 | News CMA to probe price comparison tools 30 | News Comparison tool for heat networks 31 | Market view Can Apple teach utilities a thing or two? Visit the Downloads section of the website TCS: Cloud Technology and UK Utilities http://bit.ly/2cSMTMt Schneider Electric: Discover Premset, the new generation of MV switchgear http://bit.ly/2cSNttw CGI: Energy Flexibility Transforming The Power System By 2030 http://bit.ly/2bR3zXB

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