Utility Week

UTILITY Week 19th May 2017

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

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/825252

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 31

8 | 19TH - 25TH MAY 2017 | UTILITY WEEK Policy & Regulation This week Industry hits back at Labour's water plans Labour Party manifesto 'does not do justice to the water industry's record following privatisation' The water industry has defended the privatisation of the sector, claiming water bills would be 30 per cent higher if it had remained under public ownership. "The Labour Party appears to have forgotten that the original reason for privatisation was that the public sector had been unable to deliver the required investment for many years," Wessex Water chief execu- tive Colin Skellett told Utility Week. He said that, at the time of privatisation, the UK was the "dirty man of Europe", with below-standard drinking water quality, poor bathing water quality and polluted rivers. "According to industry regulator Ofwat, bills would be 30 per cent (or £120) higher if the water industry had remained under public ownership." Water UK said the Labour party manifesto "does not do justice to the water industry's record following priva- tisation". "Access to private capital and other sources of funding, repaid through dividends and interest pay- ments, has been key to that record of success." Labour has announced plans to re-nationalise the UK water industry if elected to power on 8 June. Its manifesto, published on 16 May, said water bills have increased 40 per cent since privatisation. It said the party would replace the "dysfunctional" water system with a network of regional publicly owned water companies. The Labour manifesto also outlined plans to "regain control" of energy supply networks through the altera- tion of operator licence conditions, and transition to a publicly owned, decentralised energy system. LV ENERGY SSE boss fears 'stark' decisions after cap The chief executive of SSE has warned that energy suppliers may face "stark decisions" about how to cut costs while continu- ing to deliver "decent customer service" in the wake of price regulation being introduced. Writing in the Sunday Tele graph, Alistair Phillips-Davies set out his concerns about Conservative plans to introduce price regulation in the energy retail market. He promised SSE would "work constructively throughout the consultation and implemen- tation processes" for a price cap but insisted that "as a major energy supplier we believe cus- tomers' best interests are served by competition, not caps". Phillips-Davies warned the pledge to deliver a £100 annual saving on energy per household would be unsustainable "with- out other measures to reduce the cost of energy" or "stark deci- sions for suppliers about how to cut costs while continuing to deliver decent customer service". ENERGY Firms call for carbon price commitment A group of energy companies has called on politicians to make a clear commitment to the car- bon price support aer 2021. In an open letter to all UK political party leaders, the group – including SSE, Drax and Intergen – calls for a clear manifesto pledge from all the parties to keep supporting the mechanism, which it says "has been a key driver of the huge progress made in power sector decarbonisation". "In 2016, emissions from coal plants fell 58 per cent and thanks to Carbon Price Sup- port, unabated, coal-only power stations are well on course to be closed by 2025," the letter states. ELECTRICITY Nuclear Watch sets out 'must-haves' New Nuclear Watch Europe has urged all political parties in Britain to adopt a list of seven energy policy "must-haves" ahead of the upcoming general election. These include commitments to provide public loans for new nuclear projects and to remain a member of Euratom post-Brexit. "Without nuclear, the only reliable source of low-carbon energy in the energy mix, the UK's climate change commit- ments simply cannot be met," said New Nuclear Watch Europe chairman, Tim Yeo. "Investor confidence in the UK has been unsettled by Brexit. Investors need to be reassured that energy policy will not be subject to sudden change." Skellett: 'public sector was unable to deliver' Political Agenda David Blackman "Every political party needs to differentiate itself " The about-turns in British poli- tics are happening at a dizzying pace. Nowhere is this the case more than in the area of utilities. Energy price caps, an idea branded as Marxist meddling by ex-prime minister David Cam- eron when they were mooted by Labour a couple of years ago, looked set to be one of the main pledges in his own party's mani- festo when Utility Week went to press this week. Not to be outdone by what many see as shameless Tory and early noughties, pushing the Conservatives into increas- ingly fringe right-wing positions. The same is happening now in reverse, with Labour piling on commitments to restore public ownership across large areas that were privatised, adding water companies to the list this week. Cynics on Labour's right wing mutter that the leadership has drawn up the manifesto with an eye on mobilising supporters for the contest that matters to them: control of the party. cross-dressing, Labour's now genuinely hard le-wing leader- ship went one step further by proposing that default tariffs should be kept below £1,000. On issues from enhanced workers' rights to building more social housing, the Tories are moving into the centre ground of politics that Labour's leadership seems happy to surrender. Pledges such as the energy cap enable the Tories to distance themselves from the uncaring image that dissuaded many from voting for them in recent years. Every party needs to dif- ferentiate itself from its opposi- tion. New Labour performed the same trick in the late nineties

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - UTILITY Week 19th May 2017