Ofwat has dismissed claims that its PR19 final determinations were focused on short-term savings over long-term investment as a “false dichotomy” and told the Competition and Markets Authority that companies must be in better shape.
A start-up incubator has been launched to harness the skills of furloughed workers in the energy sector for low-carbon projects. Spinning Reserve, which has been created by Rosa Stewart, the head of external affairs for SSE Energy – now part of Ovo Group, aims to tackle negative issues of unemployment and seize an opportunity to upskill fledgling net zero projects.
Eon UK is combining its business retail arm with Npower Business Solutions as part of the merger between the two energy giants. The move will create one of the UK’s largest business energy retailers, with both brands having around 57,000 I and C customers combined.
Good Energy founder Juliet Davenport explains why she continues to view furloughing staff as a “last resort” and insists “this can't just be about saving money for shareholders”. She tells Utility Week how the company is coping with the downturn in the business retail market, which now accounts for 50 per cent of its customer base, and its focus on supporting both the physical and mental wellbeing of its staff.
Mark Sussex, head of international, illion Digital Tech Solutions, discusses how smaller suppliers can differentiate themselves through the way they handle customers experiencing payment difficulties. Sussex argues that harnessing technology to assess affordability is key.
After six years of underinvestment, Northern Ireland Water has been granted £2.1 billion to spend on capital investment programmes to improve infrastructure as well as to meet climate and environmental goals. The increase in capital investment will enable the company to provide wastewater treatment services that have lagged behind the rate of housing growth.
Subsidiaries of Invinity Energy Systems and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy have signed an agreement to jointly develop a “next generation” grid-scale vanadium flow battery. Upon the completion of the design, which will incorporate Gamesa Electric’s power conversion systems, they will also work together to manufacture the battery systems.
Octopus Energy chief executive Greg Jackson has said his company’s net loss for 2019/20 was driven by the supplier’s “relentless investment” in new technologies, international expansion and customer growth. The retailer, which is this year celebrating its 5th anniversary, saw its revenue grow 160 per cent from £477 million to £1.24 billion and estimates a revenue of £2 billion as of year end April 2021.
Macquarie has sold its more than 600,000-strong industrial and commercial smart meter portfolio Cortex Metering Solutions. Cortex, which rents out the devices to more than 80 energy suppliers, has been acquired by multi-utility metering and data services business Energy Assets Group.
Centrica says it is continuing to face tough trading conditions as a result of the pandemic but added that its restructure remains "on track". In a trading update issued ahead of its AGM the company said the factors impacting its 2021 outlook remain “broadly unchanged” since its preliminary results in February in which it announced a £360 million loss.
Water sector investors do not feel listened to by Ofwat according to its annual survey, which nevertheless showed overall support for the regulator’s policies and methods. The poll found 48 per cent of respondents did not feel the regulators was taking their views on board.
In Utility Week’s latest round-up of people moves across the sector, the Heat Trust gets a new managing director; a former Centrica director is to head up Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment and the first chair of the UK Infrastructure Bank is unveiled.
Ofgem has rejected protestations by energy retailer Symbio that a £100,000 penalty for failing to pay into renewables schemes on time was disproportionate. Symbio said the regulator had “failed to make sufficient allowance for the particular challenges posed by Covid" for smaller retailers.
In our latest review of sector coverage across the national newspapers, Goldman Sachs is said to be in advanced negotiations to inject capital into Ovo Energy. Meanwhile, BP is considering bidding in the Scotwind auction as it ramps up its green ambitions. Lobbying efforts to promote investment in hydrogen and the future of desalination for drinking water are also analysed.