Utility Week

UTILITY Week 10th March 2017

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UTILITY WEEK | 10TH - 16TH MARCH 2017 | 17 Policy & Regulation This week Call for energy code governance overhaul Variation between regimes could be a barrier to the growth of newer, smaller companies Data transfer company Electra link has called for the set up of a common governance regime for the codes that administer the use of the UK's energy system. Differences between the regimes that are currently in place could be preventing the rise of newer, smaller compa nies, according to the firm's acting head of governance services, Stefan Leedham. "What you see is, as the codes have developed over the years and you've had new codes come along, every body is taking new approaches to code governance," he told Utility Week. "It's not to say any particular code is right and there fore all the others are wrong, but I really think there's a good opportunity now for a review of the different codes and the processes and governance across the industry." Leedham said the variation between regimes, which all have individual nuances, could be a barrier to the growth of newer, smaller companies that oen lack the resources to represent their interests and engage with code governance processes. Putting in place a common regime with "one route to change across the industry" would make code governance "more efficient and more representative". He said even larger companies were concerned that "resourcing the level of change in the industry is becoming harder and harder to do". Leedham called for a review into code governance aer several parties raised concerns that the Connection and Use of System Code (CUSC) panel, which reviews changes to the code governing the use of the transmission net work, is dominated by the employees of incumbents. TG WATER Retail market gets government nod Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom has confirmed that the competitive water retail market for business, charities and pub lic sector customers will open as planned on 1 April 2017. The government recently completed an assurance process to confirm that appropriate structures and preparations had been put in place for the new market and Leadsom said: "It's great news over a million busi nesses will be able to find the best water deal that works for them from 1 April. "It's right this government is giving companies the same choice over their water retailer as they currently have for energy." ELECTRICITY BEIS to get 'back on track' with SMRs The government hopes to get its delayed nuclear research compe tition for small modular reactors (SMRs) "back on track" soon, energy minister Jesse Norman told the House of Lords. In March last year, the now disbanded Department of Energy and Climate Change launched a competition to identify the best value SMR design for the UK. Giving evidence last week to a House of Lords science and technology committee inquiry into priorities for nuclear research and technologies, Nor man admitted the competition timetable had been derailed. "It had been expected that it would be finished by the end of last year. The change of govern ment had disturbed the timeta ble but we are certainly hopeful about getting it back on track soon," he said, adding: "We want to see where the market is developing before committing public money to it." ELECTRICITY Ofgem denies rushing review Ofgem has denied rushing through a review of embedded benefits, saying the process has been going for more than a year and that swi action is needed to prevent investor uncertainty and market distortions. The regulator has also disputed claims that the process was led by the interests of large scale coal and gas generators at the expense of smallscale distributed generators. "We don't agree that it's a rushed review. We set out our concerns last March and have been reviewing this for almost a year now," said a spokesman for Ofgem. "We are expected to reach a decision in May, which will be 14 months from when we announced the review, during which time we have engaged heavily with industry." Transmission: incumbents dominate CUSC panel Political Agenda David Blackman "BEIS needs to make more progress on the 'e' in its title" Greg Clark's intray must be mighty crowded these days. When he's not going to foreign capitals to talk to multinational companies such as Citroen, the BEIS secretary of state has been charged with developing an industrial strategy for the UK. A host of energyrelated deci sions, inherited by Clark from Decc following its absorption into the soupedup business department last summer, have been pushed down the pile. Reuniting energy and busi competition since before Decc's postEU referendum dissolution. More than six months aer its creation, Tindale observed, BEIS is running out of excuses for not making more progress on the 'e' in its title. Figures showing the UK's carbon emissions plunging to Victorian levels will give BEIS breathing space on the energy and climate change front. But as the recent furore over utility bills has shown, energy has a habit of biting ministers in the back. ness in the same Whitehall ministry, essentially recreating the oldstyle DTI, is generally perceived to be good if it deliv ers a more integrated policy. Decc had become a "Whitehall minnow", as exenvironment ministry special adviser Stephen Tindale referred to it at a confer ence last week. However, losing its dedicated champion at the Whitehall top table brings risks for utilities. The concern is that energy issues will be sidelined amid the focus on higher profile business issues. For example, announcements have been pending on both the emissions reduction plan and the small modular nuclear reactor

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