American majors opt out of European corporation-led request to UN for help on climate change
For twelve days beginning on Nov. 30 of this year, the worlds’ nations will meet in Paris to discuss how to slow down global warming, and possibly arrive at an agreement. Six major European energy companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Britain’s BP Plc, have reached out together to the United Nations in preparation for Paris, increasing the chance of its success. ExxonMobil and Chevron, America’s two largest oil producers did not join the European contingent.
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The Financial Times broke the story on Sunday, when it reported that the companies requested direct talks with the United Nations and governments on designing a global carbon pricing system ahead of U.N. climate talks in Paris.
The FT reported that in a letter to the same newspaper explaining their plan, the companies’ chief executives said, “We owe it to the future generations to seek realistic, workable solutions to the challenge of providing more energy while tackling climate change.”
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The remaining four companies are France’s Total SA, Norway’s Statoil, Italy’s Eni and Britain’s GB Group. Together, the group argues that stopping the use of coal to generate electricity would help reduce carbon emissions, according to the FT.
The companies’ chief executives wrote on Friday to the U.N.’s top climate official, Christiana Figueres, asking for direct meetings with the U.N. and willing governments to discuss an international carbon scheme, reported the FT.
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“We have important areas of interest in and contributions to make to creating and implementing a workable approach to carbon pricing,” said the chief executives, according to the newspaper.
In a recent report, Reuters communicated that around 200 governments are prepared to sign a global deal at the U.N. meeting in Paris in six months.
Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April
Retailers can recover a portion of excess bad debt by temporarily increasing prices from April 2022, according to an Ofwat statement.
The regulator confirmed its view that levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue, thereby allowing "a temporary increase" in the maximum prices. Adjustments to price caps will apply for a minimum of two years to reduce the step changes in price that customers might experience.
Measures introduced since March 2020 to contain the spread of Covid-19 could lead to retailers facing higher levels of customer bad debt. Retailers’ abilities to respond to this are expected to be constrained by Ofwat strengthening protections for non-household customers during Covid-19 and the presence of price caps.
In April last year, Ofwat committed to provide additional regulatory protection if bad debt costs across the market exceeded 2% of non-household revenue.
Georgina Mills, Business Retail Market Director at Ofwat said: “These decisions aim to protect the interests of non-household customers in the short and longer term, including from the risk of systemic Retailer failure as the business retail market continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19. By implementing market-wide adjustments to price caps, we aim to minimise any additional costs for customers in the shorter term by promoting efficiency and supporting competition.”
There are also three areas where Ofwat has not reached definitive conclusions and is seeking further evidence and views from stakeholders:
- Pooling excess bad debt costs – Ofwat proposes that the recovery of excess bad debt costs is pooled across all non-household customers, via a uniform uplift to price caps.
- Keeping open the option of not pursuing a true up – For example if outturn bad debt costs are not materially higher than the 2% threshold.
- Undertaking the true up – If a 'true up' is required, Ofwat has set out how it expects this to work in practice.
Further consultation on the proposed adjustments to REC price caps can be expected by December.
United Utilities picks up pipeline award
A race-against-time plumbing job to connect four huge water pipes into the large Haweswater Aqueduct in Cumbria saw United Utilities awarded Utility Project of the Year by Pipeline Industries Guild.
The Hallbank project, near Kendal, was completed within a tight eight-day deadline, in a storm and during the second COVID lockdown last November – and with three hours to spare. Principal construction manager John Dawson said the project helped boost the resilience of water supplies across the North West.
“I think what made us stand out was the scale, the use of future technology and the fact that we were really just one team, working collaboratively for a common goal," he said.
Camus Energy secures $16m funding
Camus Energy, which provides advanced grid management technology, has secured $16 million in a Series A round, led by Park West Asset Management and joined by Congruent Ventures, Wave Capital and other investors, including an investor-owned utility. Camus will leverage the operating capital to expand its grid management software platform to meet growing demand from utilities across North America.
As local utilities look to save money and increase their use of clean energy by tapping into low-cost and low-carbon local resources, Camus' grid management platform provides connectivity between the utility's operations team, its grid-connected equipment and customer devices.