Utility Week

Utility Week 3rd March 2017

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

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UtILItY WEEK | 3rd - 9th March 2017 | 5 The Consumer Council for Water and Southern Water have joined forces to launch a campaign called "The Unflushables", to warn customers about the impact of internal sewage flooding and what can be done to stop it. Every year in England and Wales water companies deal with more than 300,000 blockages, which costs £90 million to clear. Total costs, including damage from pollution and clean-ups, is estimated to exceed £200 million a year. 1.6tWh Amount of energy generated by offshore windfarms in 2017 to date. Read more about UK prospects for offshore wind, p9. SSE and Ebico part ways Big six energy company SSE has told not-for-profit supplier Ebico that its decision to launch a prepay tariff in collaboration with Robin Hood Energy breached their long- standing supply contract. SSE and Ebico have now ended their 20-year partnership, via which Ebico had been supplying 60,000 SSE customers. Ebico denies that its collaboration with Robin Hood Energy – which led to the launch of a prepay tariff for low income households in January this year and was described as a "match made in heaven" by Labour's shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead – contravened its supply agreement with SSE. Ebico's managing director, Phil Levermore, said in a letter to SSE's domestic business director Stephen Forbes that he was "very sad" that SSE had terminated their partnership, which he pointed out had brought many direct and indirect benefits to fuel poor customers. "We have moved price controls now across all the utilities to six years. One of the reasons for that is to give the companies … more time to get a reward for their innovation" Brian McHugh, finance and network assets director, Utility Regulator. Speaking at the WWT Northern Ireland Water Conference, McHugh vowed the regulator would "get out of the way of innovation". New data from Ofgem reveals that 7.7 million gas or electricity switches took place in 2016. This is the highest annual number of switches recorded since 2010 and represents a 28 per cent increase compared with 2015. Of these switches, nearly half (47 per cent) were to small or medium-sized suppliers, as they continued to attract growing numbers of cus- tomers. Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said that while the figures show "good pro- gress", the market is not as competitive as the regulator would like, with around two-thirds of customers still on standard variable tariffs. Switching rates hit six-year high 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 ANNUAl coNsUMEr sWitcHiNg rAtEs EnErgY 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Electricity Gas

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