Utility Week

Utility Week 9th March 2018

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

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Community Lights off , gloves back on As the Beast from the East ravaged the UK last week, plunging thousands of house- holds into darkness as power lines failed in the extreme weather, the network compa- nies were once again hailed as heroes – a er all, their front- line operatives are the poor sods we call upon to brave the freezing conditions and get the power back on. Which probably explains why backbench MPs have got o- their soapboxes about the pro€ ts of distribution network operators – at least temporarily. In the freezing cold and snow blizzards it seems churlish to suggest these companies don't deserve their money. Don't expect it to last for long, though. Gratitude has a very short shelf life when there's political advantage to be had by identifying a whipping boy, and the intro- duction of the price cap has rather inconveniently taken energy retailers out of the equation. It remains to be seen whether there's much traction with the proles when it comes to shaking a € st at those out in‡all weathers keeping the lights on, but Disconnector's best guess is that we'll be € nding out – when spring € nally arrives. That's the spirit! Water companies, of course, are now € rmly in the sights of angry Joe Public. For excessive pro€ ts. For opaque govern- ance. But mostly, for costing anything at all, since as we all know, water falls from the sky so it ought to be free. In the long term, what will probably save the water indus- try's reputation is the dawning realisation that we in the UK are lucky to have access to enough water at all. As readers will doubtless be aware, Cape Town in South Africa is peril- ously close to running out of water altogether. The city's inhabitants have been inundated with missives to conserve water, including appeals to keep bathing to an absolute minimum. One enterprising business that has adapted is Pienaar & Son Distillery, which is launching a Drought Edition of its gin. Basically, it is nearly 80 per cent proof, which is twice the strength of regular gin, and the company claims it saves about 500ml of water for every bottle manufactured. Save water; get drunk. Now there's a public education message that should have no trouble getting through. China crisis? Talking of water shortages, Dis- connector noted that Chinese o— cials at a press conference in PyeongChang faced an uncomfortable grilling from journalists about the possible environmental impact when their country hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics in Bejing. At issue is the fact that many of the venues in China, including the sliding centre and Alpine skiing facility in Yanqing, will be built from scratch, and environmentalists challenged o— cials about lack of water supplies to form snow. Chang Yu, head of publicity for Beijing 2022, dismissed the claims, saying he was certain the areas chosen for the Games would get enough natural snow. So who's telling porky pies? The truth is, we have no way of knowing what the truth is. Last week it was revealed that to pave the way for li ing the constitutional limit on how long a president can hold o— ce – which e- ectively will allow Xi Jinping to rule for life – the censors on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, have banned the search terms "disagree", "personality cult", "lifelong", "immortality", "emigrate", and "shameless". Websites across China have also erased all references to George Orwell's Animal Farm. Disconnector Editor, Utility Week, and content director, Utilities: Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellenbennett@fav-house.com; Deputy editor: Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: janegray@ fav-house.com; Associate editor: Suzanne Heneghan, t: 01342 332106, e: suzanneheneghan@ fav-house.com Features editor: Lois Vallely, t: 01342 332080, e: loisvallely@fav-house.com; Deputy news editor: Katey Pigden, t: 01342 332082, e: kateypigden@fav-house.com; Content editor: Alice Cooke, t: 01342 332102, e: alicecooke@fav-house.com; Energy correspondent: Tom Grimwood, t: 01342 332061, e: tomgrimwood@fav-house.com; Reporter: Clare Ruel, t: 01342 332069, e: clareruel@fav-house.com Policy correspondent: David Blackman, e: davidblackman@fav-house.com; Sales executive: Ben Hammond, e: benhammond@fav-house.com. t: 01342 332116; Conference sponsorship manager: Sophie Abbott, t: 01342 332062, e; sophieabbott@fav-house.com; Publisher: Amanda Barnes, e: amandabarnes@fav-house.com. General enquiries: 01342 332000; Membership enquiries: Peter Bissell, t: 01342 332057, e: peterbissell@fav-house.com. ISSN: 1356-5532. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Offi ce. Printed by: Buxton Press, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6AE. 2,500 Average circulation Jan–Dec 2017 Membership subscriptions: UK £669 per year. Overseas £781 per year. Contact Peter Bissell on: 01342 332057 Utility Week is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK's magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors' Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards and want to make a complaint please contact the editor, Ellen Bennett, at ellenbennett@fav-house.com. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors' Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit www.ipso.co.uk UTILITY WEEK | 9TH - 15TH MARCH 2018 | 31 Dept for BEIS @beisgovuk Ministers @GregClarkMP & @claireperrymp want to see the energy price cap introduced for next winter. It is encouraging to see @ofgem commit today to making sure it is protecting people with their bills by the end of the year. Duncan Carter @Duncan_E_Carter It only took @ofgem 1 week to publish this letter on price cap following govt announcement and they have committed to producing papers 'very shortly'. Demonstrates price cap at top of their agenda. I can't recall the words 'very shortly' ever being used in an Ofgem letter! Jan Rosenow @janrosenow UK Government announces energy price caps to save households up to £100/year. Cost- effective energy effi ciency would save them £270/year as research by @UKERCHQ @CIEDresearch @ecioxford shows. Aurora @AuroraER_Oxford Heading into current cold snap, GB had just two days' worth of gas in storage – the lowest in 5 winters @nationalgriduk Thomas Edwards @NotionalGrid Thanks heavens for the wind, as we showed yesterday without the 10GW of wind online we'd need an additional 10% of daily gas demand Phil MacDonald @PhilMacD1 The Social Democrats have approved the grand coalition with Merkel - First item on the agenda must be to set a #coal phase-out date for Germany @spdde @CDU Richard Lowes @heatpolicyrich Imagine the potential of 750GWh electricity storage in the UK energy system. That's what 25 million fully charged 30kWh EVs would bring. Nicci Russell @nicci_vasey Thoughtful and impressive as ever from @OfwatChair @ofwat. Financial resilience in water company licences is a great idea. Why not service and environmental resilience too? We'll need to make the water we do have go further. See Cape Town for what can happen otherwise @Waterwise Top Tweets

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