Utility Week: essential Easter reading

With the long bank holiday weekend upon us, here are Utility Week’s top picks for some Easter reading

Moorside – Are Toshiba’s and Engie’s exits mortal blows?

The collapse of the NuGen consortium reflects endemic weaknesses in new nuclear projects across Western Europe, says Nigel Hawkins.

 

“The last few days have seen very contrasting news for UK new nuclear-build.

“On the positive front, the first cement pour has taken place at the long-delayed and highly controversial £24 billion 3,200 MW Hinkley Point C plant. It is due to be commissioned in the mid-2020s.

“On the negative front, the Moorside new nuclear-build project in Cumbria, which plans to build three AP-1000 Westinghouse plants near the Sellafield nuclear re-processing site, is in deep trouble – the damage may be terminal.”


To read the full analysis, click here.


Vulnerability and accountability

Supplier growth means Ofgem needs new and robust ways of holding suppliers to account on their treatment of vulnerability.

 

“The issue of consumers in vulnerable circumstances – and what regulators are doing to help them – has been in the spotlight recently.

“Vulnerability is contextual and can be permanent or temporary with a wide range of circumstances that can put people at a disadvantage such as disability, mental illness or financial difficulty.”

 

To read the full blog by Ofgem head of consumer vulnerability strategy Meghna Tewari, click here.


Interview: Sir Ed Davey, former energy and climate change secretary

Last month, Utility Week met former energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey. The former Liberal Democrat MP pulled no punches in slamming the Conservative government for ripping up the framework and policies he put in place during his tenure as secretary of state, from February 2012 to May 2015.

 

“The government doesn’t know what it is doing. There is no clear vision.”

 

To read the full interview, click here.


Brexit and the IEM

The UK’s departure from the European Union is going to have significant impacts on the country. One looks set to be its likely departure from the internal energy market.

 

“The UK doesn’t have to be less energy secure outside of the IEM, but it will have to invest in more domestic capacity to make sure it is, warned Grubb.

“And there will be an impact on customers’ bills, added Hassan, as much of that home-grown capacity will be installed to back-up the inevitable fluctuations in renewable generation.”

 

To read the full analysis, click here.


The risk and reward of brokers in the competitive water market

As preparations ramped up for the opening of the non-domestic retail water market on 1 April, brokers anticipated a boom in business. Utility Week provides an in-depth guide of the utility broker market as it stands, and considers how it is likely to change after market opening.

 

“Anecdotal evidence suggests as many as two-thirds of transactions in the non-household water retail market could be intermediated. Energy brokers are set to move into water in force – but to succeed in a market with such thin margins, these brokers must offer efficiency advice and negotiating skills rather than just a simple transactional service.”

 

To read the full analysis, click here.

To sign up to Utility Week’s new sister brand which looks at the new competitive water market – water.Retail – click here.


The reign of the water big six?

Northumbrian and Anglian have announced plans to merge their business retail arms to create Wave. This is the third high-profile merger seen in the sector. Utility Week looks at whether this is a sign that the water retail market is on the road to a big six.

 

“Following electricity deregulation, the supplier pool diminished as the regional companies merged into six large energy players: Eon, SSE, Scottish Power, British Gas, Npower and EDF Energy. It is only recently that new entrants have begun to swipe some of the market share of these companies. By the end of 2015, the market share of the independent suppliers had grown to 13.4 per cent, and the number of suppliers in the energy market has more than doubled – to around 40 – in the past four years. And yet, the big six continue to dominate.

“Now, it seems, the non-household water retail market is following a similar pattern.”

 

To read the full analysis, click here.

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