Utility Week

Utility Week 1st June 2018

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

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Community Crypto-Czechs Czech gas and energy company Prazska Plynarenska wants to branch out into green energy projects and, taking its cue from the young people, has hit upon the novel idea of bankrolling them with a spot of crowdfunding. More groovy still, the company is invit- ing investors to pay in Czech koruna or digital cryptocurren- cies such as bitcoin. Chairman Pavel Janecek said the initiative is a means to attract a younger genera- tion of customers, saying: "We are trying to go to the young customers across the street, we do not want to be perceived as old dysfunctional moths." Something got lost in trans- lation, thinks Disconnector, but you catch Pavel's dri. He says the company is also launching a payment gateway this year that will let custom- ers pay for services with digital currencies if they wish. All of which raises several questions, one of which is: why are the Czechs so keen on cryptocur- rencies? Some of them will be indulging in some speculative currency investment, of course, but they're hardly likely to want to cash some in to pay an energy bill. But the real question is why Prazska Plynarenska is crowd- funding investment in the first place. It has 42,000 customers and counting, and last year recorded pre-tax profits of $55 million. Disconnector doesn't see that avenue for raising funds catching on with energy suppli- ers in the UK. Crypto-copshop Talking of cryptocurrencies, Disconnector has been alerted to the fact that an undisclosed number of policemen in Ukraine have been suspended for using their office – and its electricity supply – to mine cryptocurrencies. Officers Ukraine were said to have installed a cryptocur- rency mining farm at their offices the Rivne Oblast region police headquarters. They have all been suspended and could lose their jobs. It's a tale that doesn't improve Ukraine's image – that of a country riven by corrup- tion, cronyism and thuggery. On the plus side, at least the police are technologically liter- ate – even if they have applied that talent to scamming. It's better not to know… One of the selling points of the smart meter rollout is that it will encourage people to reduce their energy consump- tion – principally because they will be able to tell in real time which devices are eating up the power. It was a lesson learnt in spades by Philip Kenchington, a 59-year-old engineer and customer of British Gas who checked his monitor and found that the month's electricity usage so far came to £43,156. Alarmed, he did what any Englishman would do and made himself a cup of tea and took another look. This time it was £46,338, which meant it had cost him £3,082 to boil the kettle. He was quoted in the press saying: "I thought: 'That can't be good'." British Gas reportedly said it was a problem with his moni- tor, not the meter, which was sending the correct readings back to the supplier, so the nosebleed-inducing monitor readout wouldn't affect his bill. Despite the undoubted benefits of smart meters, per- haps this is a textbook case of ignorance being bliss. Hole in one Disconnector was amused to read that a small sinkhole has appeared on the lawn of the Whitehouse in Washington. As more than one wag has pointed out, maybe Donald Trump really is draining the swamp aer all. 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; Policy correspondent: David Blackman, e: davidblackman@fav-house.com; Production editor: Paul Newton, t: 01342 332085, e: paulnewton@fav-house.com; Business development manager: 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 Office. 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 | 1ST - 7TH JUNE 2018 | 31 Doug Parr @doug_parr #Wylfa #NuclearPower Hitachi to UK govt: "We'll use your money to build it, if it doesn't work or blows up it's your problem. Then pay us again, probably over the odds, if it works." UK govt: "Errr… yeah, OK" Duncan Burt @DBBurt Over the coming week, the number of coal- free hours in 2018 is likely to exceed figure for the whole of 2017. You can track it here. @myGridGB Leonie Greene #FBPE @LeonieGreene Good to see @Ofgem blog clocking the system value of smart homes! I hope we start to see as much focus on prosumer *benefits* as we've seen on costs. Unfortunately markets aren't there yet for the flexibility services smart homes can offer. sandbag.org.uk @sandbagorguk SSE's pledge is progress, but not enough. Large power companies like SSE need to commit to meeting the CCC's recommended carbon intensity of less than 100gCO2/kWh by 2030. StewhorneCA @StewHorne_CA My highlight of #UWL18 – the vulnerability hackathon. Here are three great ideas, a reminder service for consumers with impaired memory, a priority services notification tool and a doorbell assurance tool for visits. Alexander Anderson @DouneFarm Great to see SNP, Labour & Tory MPs join forces to demand the UK government axe a loophole that lets some energy suppliers avoid paying OAPs the £140 Warm Homes Discount. Sarah Merrick @SpeakSarahSpeak I'm loving the beautiful sunshine followed by a 30-minute thunderstorm thing that's going on at the moment. Garden gets a good soak and we get a glorious day. Everyone's a winner. William Marchant @richonlyinname Energy supply resembles a gold rush with an explosion of new entrants. One of the features of gold rushes is that for every guy who hits the jackpot there are half a dozen who lose their shirts. Top Tweets

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