Utility Week

UTILITY Week 4th August 2017

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Customers 28 | 4TH - 10TH AUGUST 2017 | UTILITY WEEK London mayor Sadiq Khan has been accused of getting cold feet over his plans to establish a pan-London municipal energy company. In a blog for the Le Foot Forward website, published last week, London Assembly member Caroline Russell wrote that plans by the mayor to set up a not-for-profit energy company are behind schedule. ENERGY Khan accused of 'getting cold feet' over London energy firm plan When he stood to become London mayor last year, Khan pledged that Energy for Londoners would provide a comprehensive range of energy services to help people in Lon- don generate more low-carbon energy and increase their energy efficiency, and support local and community energy enterprises. He also said the company would buy clean energy gener- ated across the city to power Greater London Authority (GLA) and Transport for London facili- ties. However Russell, who rep- resents the Green Party on the assembly, said the mayor had yet to commit sufficient funds for the feasibility study – the GLA earmarked £120,000 in its budget earlier this year for the feasibility study into setting This week 'Whopping' price hike from British Gas Supplier announces first price hike in more than three years, blaming increasing input costs B ritish Gas has announced a 12.5 per cent increase in electricity prices, in a controversial move that will take effect in mid-September. Shadow energy minister Alan Whitehead described the increase as "whopping", adding that it "doesn't appear to be justifiable". The average annual dual fuel bill for a typical house- hold on a standard variable tariff (SVT) is to rise by £76 to £1,120, an increase of 7.3 per cent. It is the first time the British Gas SVT has been increased since November 2013. Overall, 3.1 million customers will be affected by the hike, leaving 5.3 million unaffected. British Gas promised it would protect its most vulnerable customers. Its 200,000 SVT customers who automatically receive the Warm Home Discount will be credited with £76 into their accounts. Despite the price rise, British Gas insisted it remained one of the most competitive energy retailers in the UK. It said it had cut the SVT four times, reflecting reductions in wholesale costs, since its last price hike. This week's price rise was blamed on increasing gov- ernment and environmental input costs. Iain Conn, chief executive of British Gas parent company Centrica, said these costs ought to be more evenly distributed among energy retailers to create a more level playing field for all suppliers. Smaller suppliers are exempt from some policy costs, such as the Energy Company Obligation. Over the past year and a half, British Gas claimed the increasing cost of energy supply had resulted in it selling electricity at a loss, and that profit margins have been borderline for a longer period of two and a half years. PT ELECTRICITY UKPN fast-tracks battery connections UK Power Networks (UKPN) has launched a fast-track application process for connecting small- scale battery storage to the local power grid. It claims the online service will save time and money for customers who generate power from solar panels or wind tur- bines and want to install storage in their homes and businesses. The distribution network operator is also leading the development of guidance for con- necting small-scale batteries to distribution networks, which will be published by the Energy Net- works Association to provide a uniform approach to the process. "This move underlines our commitment to listening to our customers and delivering practical solutions," said Barry Hatton, UKPN director of asset management. The launch coincided with the announcement by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of the Faraday challenge, a £246 mil- lion investment programme to support the development of battery technology. WATER Business water complaints rise as switches hit 36,000 The Consumer Council for Water has received more complaints from businesses since the water market opened. The rise is "in line with the consumer group's expectations", with many of the complaints relating to "teeth- ing problems" which the group expects to be "swily resolved" as the market develops. Meanwhile, Market Opera- tor Services Ltd has published its first switching data, which revealed that 36,302 supply points have so far switched – just 1.4 per cent of the market. At the end of the first quarter, there were 25 wholesalers and 35 retailers in the market, of which 22 were national, 12 were regional and one was a self- supply retailer. Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross said "more can be done" to improve the functioning of the market. WATER Anglian wins Pure Gym contract Anglian Water Business has been appointed to provide water retail services to the UK's largest pri- vate gym operator – Pure Gym. The three-year contract involves all of the company's 180 sites in England and Scotland, and will also include any new sites added during that period. Anglian Water Business has been providing these services to Pure Gym in Scotland for the past two years, and the gym operator opted for an early contract renewal in Scotland in order to consolidate all its English and Scottish sites with a single supplier. Vulnerable SVT customers will be protected up Energy for Londoners. The Greens earmarked £1.5 million in their proposed amendment to the GLA budget, based on the sums spent by Nottingham City Council on an equivalent study. She told Utility Week the level of spending so far indicated that the GLA would opt for a "white label" offer using an existing supplier rather than establishing its own fully licensed operator.

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