Utility Week

UTILITY Week 11th November 2016

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Page 10 of 31

UTILITY WEEK | 11TH - 17TH NOVEMBER 2016 | 11 Policy & Regulation This week Ofgem drops probe into SSE connections Regulator calls off investigation after accepting commitments from supplier to improve services Ofgem has closed an investiga- tion into SSE with no decision made on whether the supplier infringed competition law. The regulator has accepted legally binding commitments from SSE to improve the services its competitors need to connect their customers to its distribu- tion network. A Competition Act investigation was launched into SSE's network business last year aer a review of the sector uncovered potentially anti-competitive behaviour. The investigation specifically identified SSE's behav- iour in providing services needed for competitors to connect new developments to its distribution network in the south of England. These included inconsistencies in providing essential services needed to let competitors compete effectively, including inconsistency in quotes. SSE will adopt new processes and procedures to make sure it provides these essential services consist- ently. It will separate the team that provides essential services to the connections market from the team that competes in the connections market, and third party companies will audit and report on SSE's compliance. The market for electricity connections in Great Britain is worth over £500 million a year, as independent com- panies compete against regional distribution network operators, such as SSE, to connect new customers. Ofgem has recently introduced a code of practice and associated licence condition to force all electricity distributors to open-up competition in the connections market. SJ ENERGY ETI sets out multi- vector energy plan A report from the Energy Tech- nologies Institute (ETI) has laid out possible strategies for an integrated approach to energy system planning. The research shows why cur- rent energy system governance and regulatory frameworks are not fit for purpose in a low car- bon, decentralised energy future. It calls for a new "whole system" approach to adapt and enhance current energy net- works so climate change targets can be met and the full potential of new energy technologies realised. The report says govern- ment must incentivise and target investment in multi-vector energy solutions in the near term. Liam Lidstone, ETI strategy manager for energy storage and distribution, said: "Choices need to be made soon about which networks to build, develop, maintain or decommission." WATER MPs demand bigger flood role for firms Water and sewerage companies must have a greater role in flood management, and their remits extended to cover local drainage. MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee have urged the government to overhaul the way flooding is managed in the UK. The committee insisted that water companies must take on the land drainage responsi- bilities currently held by local authorities. Water company regulation would remain with Ofwat but the Floods Commis- sioner – a new role proposed by EFRA – would agree a forward programme of measures with Ofwat as part of the five-year business planning process. GAS Trade body slams plan to ban fracking Representative group UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) has hit back at a decision by Scottish Labour to propose a members' bill to ban fracking in the country. Claudia Beamish, Labour's environment spokesperson in the Scottish parliament, launched a public consultation on 4 November in a bid to ban the process north of the border. UKOOG chief executive Ken Cronin said the bill was "clearly politically designed to set one party against another". In her consultation docu- ment, Beamish wrote: "My reasons for proposing a ban on [unconventional oil and gas extraction] are specific and evidence based. They are princi- pally about the imperative need to tackle climate change." SSE must help competitors connect to its network Political Agenda Mathew Beech "Britain may be viewed as a climate change passenger" The COP21 summit in Paris last year is viewed as a historic one that could limit the impact of global warming. The follow-up, COP22, being held in Marrakech, is tasked with "deciding on the rules so that the goals of Paris are not only achieved but overachieved". The conference is crucial for countries like Morocco, which are already suffering the effects of climate change. However, it is also important for the UK as it seeks to retain its posi- the thorny issues of how to get everyone in line and to take the Paris targets seriously. Anything less may be viewed as Britain becoming a climate change passenger. This would not only harm the UK's international standing, but it could potentially harm further investments and trade deals, and raise more questions from the domestic renewable industry about how seriously the govern- ment views the transition to a low-carbon economy. tion as a leader in tackling the problem. The UK government crows about how it played a vital part in securing the Paris Agree- ment, but in the wake of Brexit, international attention will be following its every move. Prime minister Theresa May, energy and business secretary Greg Clark and environment secretary Andrea Leadsom have all spoken out about how they aim to protect the environment and how important this is to this government. The UK must now, if it seeks to retain its position of influence as a climate leader, continue to push ahead with tackling

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