Strategy & management

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Installations of second-generation (SMETS2) smart meters held up strongly during the second English lockdown, figures from the Data Communications Company (DCC) reveal. The DCC says the huge disparity in the installation rates demonstrates how successfully energy companies, distribution network operators and installation engineers have adapted their working practices since mid-summer, to enable installations to continue safely in homes.
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Thames Water has reported a 6.5 per cent year-on-year drop in revenue for the first half of 2020/21, as it was hit by lower allowed revenues in AMP7 compared to AMP6 and reduced water consumption in the non-household market because of lockdown.
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A report into customer complaint procedures published by Ofwat and CCW has called on water companies to be more ambitious in their resolution time for billpayer grievances and publish their targets for 2021/22
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How has the pandemic catalysed change in field worker experience and field force management? Utility Week explores the experiences and ambitions of energy and water industry leaders in this new report.
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Long gone are the days when energy companies merely supplied power, Matthew Vickers believes. Today retailers are providing some of the most sophisticated types of customer service available, which the Energy Ombudsman chief executive describes as akin to social work. Speaking to Utility Week, Vickers explains why we must tread carefully when making comparisons with other industries, his caution around increasing digitsation and his fears about “empathy” becoming the latest corporate buzzword.
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The climate crisis is the biggest challenge we are facing and we cannot expect politicians to sort it out: we all have a part to play, writes Christine McGourty, chief executive of Water UK
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Latest in Strategy & management

The host of the UK's most popular radio show will be revealing the winners of the prestigious Utility Week Awards at next month's virtual awards.
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Anglian has had approval from Defra to accelerate investment in schemes that will benefit the environment. The company will invest £800 million in natural water treatment, river restoration and enhancing biodiversity in its region
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Business utility provider Yu Group says its newly implemented digital sales channel has “exceeded all expectations”, resulting in an £18.6 million increase in annualised revenue in H2 compared to H1. This was a result of introducing a third-party digital platform in H1 last year, which chief executive Bobby Kalar says represents the company’s shift towards a more digital-first model.
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The Independent System Operator proposed by Ofgem should form part of a National Energy Agency tasked with overseeing the wider transition to net zero emissions, a senior figure at KPMG has argued. Simon Virley, a partner at the firm and its head of energy and natural resources, said there are “plenty of precedents” for such an agency, both in Britain and overseas.
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Renewable developer Anesco has agreed to build a 200MW subsidy-free solar portfolio for investment firm Gresham House, with the “shovel-ready” sites ranging in size from 20MW to 50MW. Engineering, procurement and construction will all be handled by Anesco, which will also provide long-term operations and maintenance for the solar farms once they are powered up. Utility Week speaks to Anesco chief executive Mark Futyan.
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The Energy White Paper’s suggestion that in future customers could be automatically switched to cheaper deals has been met with warnings about unintended consequences. But Citizens Advice’s Elizabeth Blakelock tells Utility Week she believes it has the potential to break down consumer concerns about switching and boost engagement.
Interviews
Shell has agreed to buy Ubitricity, the owner of more than 2,700 charge points across the UK, representing a market share of more than 13 per cent. Shell said the acquisition marks its expansion into the fast-growing on-street EV charging market and would help it to scale its overall charging offer.
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In our latest review of sector coverage across the national newspapers, Eon has had to lock some online accounts after a security breach. Meanwhile, Hitachi has rejected pleas from unions to keep its Welsh nuclear power project alive; there are calls for Britain to build gigafactories to accelerate the electric vehicle transition and Schneider Electric has topped a global league of green firms
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Ofgem has recommended the full separation of the electricity system operator (ESO) from the National Grid. Following a review, the regulator concluded that key gas network planning functions should also be hived off, to create a new independent energy system operator.
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Smart meter manufacturer Landis+Gyr has struck a major deal to provide EDF with a further 650,000 SMETS2 gas and electricity meters over the next four years. 500,000 devices. Landis+Gyr has been involved in the rollout since 2013 and is under contract to supply 22 million smart meters in total and has already delivered around 12 million.
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Code administrator Elexon has been selected by Ofgem as the senior responsible owner (SRO) for the implementation of Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement (MHHS). Previous proposals had Ofgem as both programme sponsor and SRO. However in a consultation document the energy regulator unveiled plans to place responsibility for management and delivery of the programme with industry, with Elexon acting as SRO.
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