Finance and investment

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
News
Utility Week’s Investor Summit heard how climate change and legitimacy are reshaping investment models. We present some of the key points from the day and round-ups from panel sessions.
Analysis
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.
Opinion

Latest in Finance and investment

Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak has earmarked £1.7 billion of new funding to help get one major new nuclear power plant off the ground before the next election. The Treasury’s spending review, published on Wednesday (27 October) alongside the Budget, contained few new energy investment commitments beyond confirming those announced last week in the government’s Net Zero Strategy.
News
The long-standing discipline of asset management is undergoing transformation in the utilities sector as the forces of decarbonisation and decentralisation make themselves felt, alongside rising regulatory expectations for service and operational efficiency. But do companies feel they have the asset information and understanding they need to underpin the shift? Utility Week explores the challenge in a new report.
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Disruptor brand Rebel Energy has postponed its launch until 2022 when it hopes to profit from a “decidedly different” competitive landscape. In a letter to customers Rebel’s chief executive and former BP trader Dan Bates and chief operating officer Penelope Hope highlighted how the energy crisis had caused a number of suppliers to fail in recent months. They added that once the current energy crisis has subsided Rebel exists to “stand in the gap”.
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As part of our Countdown to COP series, Utility Week speaks to Gordon Rogers, head of long term strategy, environment, planning and innovation at United Utilities. He discusses his company’s decarbonisation commitments as well as the wider need for action to adapt to a climate that is already changing.
Interviews
Affinity Water has issued its first green bond to the value of £130 million to fund projects that will improve the environment as the company works to improve biodiversity and energy efficiency, reduce and prevent pollution, and improve the sustainability of water supplies.
News
A more than £1 billion tax windfall should be used to help fuel poor households in the forthcoming budget, the head of the charity National Energy Action has argued. Adam Scorer warned that without emergency support, millions of households will sink further into debt or be forced to turn off their heating, becoming at risk of serious ill-health.
News
Utilities should work with mortgage and insurance providers to pinpoint moments when householders and drivers are most likely to respond to incentives to switch to low-carbon options. This was the view of senior industry figures speaking to Utility Week in the wake of the publication of the Heat and Buildings Strategy.
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Ofgem has been threatened with legal action by a number of small suppliers which said they no longer have confidence in the regulator and have demanded redress for what they deem as its failings. In a letter written by Jo Gilbert, the former chief operating officer of the recently failed PFP Energy, Ofgem was accused of helping to bring the energy market “to its knees”.
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As part of our Countdown to COP series, Utility Week speaks to Suleman Alli, director of customer service, strategy, regulation and information services at UK Power Networks. He discusses the legacy of COP26 but also delves into action his company is taking to facilitate on-street electric vehicle charging and how it aims to “write the book on green home heating”.
Interviews
Energy retailers have told Utility Week that Ofgem’s plans to make them refund customer credit balances will do nothing to address the affordability issue and simply heaps further pressure on suppliers at the worst possible time.
News
A recent Utility Week Innovate webinar explored the experiences of two utilities trialling open banking to help address mounting challenges around affordability and debt. Here we explore key lessons and talking points.
Analysis
Elexon has decided to expel business-only energy supplier MA Energy from the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) subject to approval by Ofgem. In a circular published this week, the code administrator said the decision followed the supplier's failure to sufficiently reduce its credit cover percentage after going into credit default.
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