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.
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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

SSE Thermal and Equinor have purchased Triton Power from Energy Capital Partners for £341 million as part of the companies’ hydrogen ambitions for the Humber region. Triton Power operates the Saltend power station – a 1.2GW combined-cycle gas turbine and combined heat and power plant to the north of the Humber Estuary – that is expected to become a primary offtaker for Equinor’s planned H2H Saltend hydrogen production facility.
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As Ofgem presses ahead with plans to protect customer money from unsustainable business practices, a rift has emerged in the energy sector. On the one hand Octopus Energy has concerns about the impact of costs to consumers, while Centrica believes it will be shareholders who will shoulder the burden. Adam John explores the division.
Analysis
Ofgem has proposed to extend its market stabilisation charge and ban on acquisition-only tariffs until the end of March 2023. The temporary measures, which came into effect in mid-April, were introduced by the regulator in response to the massive surge in gas and electricity since last autumn. Both are currently set to expire at the end of September.
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A report into the feasibility of developing multi-sector reservoir (MSR) systems has warned there are likely to be “trade-offs” between the benefits of collaborating and the risks that could be introduced. In responding to the analysis, Ofwat stressed that public water supply customers must not end up subsidising other users’ access to a MSR.
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Ofgem’s proposals to obligate suppliers to ring-fence customer credit balances are “a positive” for Centrica, an industry expert has said. Senior Investec analyst Martin Young talks to Utility Week about the impact of the proposals and the balance of encouraging sustainable businesses while preserving competition in the market.
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Industry analysts have predicted that the price cap on default tariffs will rise to £2,980 when the next period begins in October. This would represent an increase of more than £1,000 - or 51% - over the current record-high level of £1,971.
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Scottish Water is expanding its “intelligent asset base” across its wastewater infrastructure after positive results from trial schemes. The company is in the early stages of investing £100 million in the rollout of remote sensors and other technologies designed to provide real-time insight of sewage pipes and treatment works.
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There is a “huge gap” in the market for banks to offer loans to encourage the uptake of heat pumps, an industry expert has suggested. Andrew Sissons, deputy director at innovation charity Nesta, made the comments to Utility Week following the publication of research into consumer attitudes towards the devices. 
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Anglian Water has unveiled plans for a "hugely ambitious" wetlands programme, comprising 26 sites across its region that will be used to naturally remove nitrates and phosphates from wastewater without the need for chemical dosing. The plans were announced as the company reported its largest ever single-year capex programme in its financial results for 2021/22, which also included a net penalty of £8 million on outcome delivery incentives after it missed pollution and flooding targets.
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