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Ofwat and CCW have said wastewater companies must review their responses to sewer flooding incidents after a report commissioned by the bodies found customers felt let down by slow action, poor communication and inadequate compensation. CCW chief executive Emma Clancy said the research had exposed “a cross-sector failure which is leaving people who experience sewer flooding in vulnerable circumstances.”
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National Grid has seen its profits surge to almost £4 billion following its acquisition of Western Power Distribution, the commissioning of two new interconnectors to France and Norway, and accelerated investment in the electricity transmission network. Utility Week spoke to chief financial officer Andy Agg about its financial results for the year to the end of March.
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Cadent workers will stage a 48 hour walk-out at the end of May in a dispute over pay, the GMB Union has confirmed. Gary Carter, GMB national officer, said Cadent is “out of touch” with its workers and with the cost-of-living crisis.  
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April saw a record low in the number of energy supplier switches started, the latest figures from Electralink have revealed. The company said with contracts ending each Spring April typically shows relatively high numbers of switches started as customers seek cheaper deals. Yet with a record increase to the price cap, Electralink said the appetite to change supplier has “flatlined”.
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The government has declared its support for further investment in sewerage systems in England and Wales in its response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s damning report on water quality in rivers. However, the committee's recommendations to address pollution from agriculture and homebuilding, which both play a significant role in preventing rivers from achieving good ecological status, were not accepted.
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Ofgem’s minded-to decision to introduce a quarterly price cap period from October has raised concerns that vulnerable customers could face large price hikes during the coldest months of the year. Peter Smith, director of policy and advocacy at the charity National Energy Action (NEA), said the move “opens the door to significant price rises” over the coming winter.
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Ofgem has altered the parameters for its Market Stabilisation Charge – a temporary measure introduced in April to limit suppliers’ hedging losses if wholesale prices fall substantially – to make it stronger and more easily triggered. The regulator said the adjustments will make the charge “more robust” in the face of increased hedging risks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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EDF has made its first investment in the UK heat pump market, forming a strategic partnership with Clacton-based heat pump installer CB Heating. Under the partnership, EDF will offer end-to-end installation services to its three million customers from CB Heating’s 500-strong Heat Pump Installers Network. Its investment will additionally support the development of a new academy, which could potentially train up to 4,000 new installers per year starting from Autumn 2022.
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Ofgem is pressing ahead with proposals to shorten the price cap period from six months to three to reduce the time lag between changes in wholesale energy prices and their reflection in the cap. The regulator said its minded-to decision, which is subject to consultation, would allow suppliers to more accurately predict how much energy they need to purchase, reducing the risk of further failures.
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In our weekly roundup of national news coverage from the weekend is news that the men behind behind energy suppliers that failed have launched a new energy company called Putney Energy; the impacts of the energy crisis continue to bite; government action over river water quality is criticised; and an interview with Octopus boss Greg Jackson asks if heat pumps are worth it;
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The government has pushed back the deadline for a decision by six weeks on whether to grant permission for EDF-backed plans to build a new nuclear power plant at Sizewell. Paul Scully, a junior minister in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, announced the delay in a written statement to the House of Commons on Thursday (12 May).
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