Utility Week

UTILITY Week 19th May 2017

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4 | 19TH - 25TH MAY 2017 | UTILITY WEEK Switching numbers grow The latest switch- ing statistics from Energy UK show switching numbers continue the year- on-year growth seen over the past three years. 14% Growth in switch- ing numbers for April 2017 when compared with April 2016. 501,312 Number of switches in April this year. 1.8m Number of switches so far in 2017. 2 There have been more than 500,000 switches in con- secutive months for the first time. 155,558 Number of energy customers switch- ing away from larger suppliers. 10% Switches from small and mid-tier suppliers to large suppliers. STORY BY NUMBERS Seven days... National media Key CMA recommend ation on hold One of the energy companies' main arguments against a price cap has collapsed aer the competition watchdog's alternative plan to help consumers was shelved indefinitely. The industry had argued that reforms proposed by the Competi- tion and Markets Authority (CMA) last year should be allowed to work before the government intervenes further in the market. However, the CMA's principal recommendation, a database giving rival suppliers the contact details of households that have not switched, has been kicked into the long grass aer problems in trials. The Times, 15 May SSE profits boost SSE, one of the big six energy providers, is tipped to say that its full-year pre-tax profit rocketed 147.6 per cent to £1.5 billion, due in part to the gains it has made on its commodities and currency derivatives, insurance contracts that it took out to protect itself from wild market swings. Analysts also predict that SSE will hike its dividend by 2.2 per cent from 89.4p to 91.4p per share, which would result in more than £920 million being paid out to shareholders. The Express, 14 May Innogy says UK supply is loss-making Innogy, the German energy com- pany, said its UK gas and electricity business Npower would make a loss this year amid a "worsening market environment" and "extremely fierce competition" in the sector – even without the Conservatives' pro- posed price cap on standard tariffs. Innogy said overall earnings rose 4 per cent to €1.62 billion in the first quarter, on the back of a strong performance in its grid business, and it confirmed its guidance for the full year. Financial Times, 12 May National Grid hits pause on Moorside connection P lans to build a 160km power line connecting the proposed Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria to the transmission network have been placed on hold, National Grid has revealed. The news comes aer devel- oper NuGen confirmed earlier this month that it was conduct- ing a "strategic review of its options" following reports that its main shareholder, Toshiba, may mothball Moorside. A spokeswoman for National Grid said: "In line with NuGen's review, we are pausing work on our connection." National Grid unveiled plans for the North West Coast Con- nections project – "the biggest new power line since the elec- tricity network was built" – in October last year. Under the proposals, more than a quarter of the line would be underground to reduce visual impact. National Grid would spend £460 million running an underground section through the Lake District and a further £1.6 billion on a 21km tunnel under Morecambe Bay. The NuGen consortium would not comment directly on the pause, but said in a state- ment: "NuGen is undertaking a strategic review of its options following well-publicised share- holder and vendor challenges." However, the statement concluded: "NuGen remains a key player within the UK nuclear industry, has a vital role to play within the UK industrial strat- egy, and the Moorside project remains a key infrastructure project." Moorside has been beset by problems since Toshiba announced in January it was reviewing its overseas nuclear operations as a result of a multi- billion pound writedown on the value of its US nuclear arm, Westinghouse. Westinghouse then filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protec- tion, prompting Engie to offload its 40 per cent stake in the NuGen consortium by invoking a contractual right to transfer its stake to Toshiba in the event of a default. Toshiba will be le as the sole shareholder once the sale is complete. TG "Effectively, we will pass on decreases on the wholesale market" Paul Rawson, chief executive of energy solutions, Engie UK, on its launch into the domestic market (see news, p28)

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