May 17, 2020

Hungary supports South Stream project

Admin
2 min
Pipeline construction rig in the Black Sea
With the attendance of both Russian and Hungarian government members alongside Gazprom representatives and energy experts, Tuesdays conference titled...

With the attendance of both Russian and Hungarian government members alongside Gazprom representatives and energy experts, Tuesday’s conference titled “South Stream: The Evolution of a Pipeline” discussed the importance of the pipeline in terms of economic stimulation, security of supply, diversification of energy sources and its role in the development of a strong partnership between the energy enterprises of Europe.

Opening the conference was Hungarian Minister of National Development Zsuzsa Nemeth, who reiterated Hungary's need for energy diversification and emphasized that South Stream would create a strategic partnership with neighboring countries. “South Stream is a unique initiative with strong political backing from all sides. It provides an excellent tool for diversification amongst these countries and contributes to energy security in the whole region.”

Nemeth further stressed that “Russia is a strategic partner to Hungary on security issues and we are a major market for Russian gas. Hungary has confirmed its support for the construction of South Stream and the pipeline will further contribute to Southern and Eastern European countries relations with Russia.”

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The South Stream pipeline, being built by Russian gas giant Gazprom, will stretch 2,385 kilometers long and involves the partnership of eight countries, including Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Russia. The project has required substantial agreements between governments and major energy enterprises. 

Gazprom supplies more than a quarter of the European market with natural gas. Analysts predict that the gas demand will increase from 312 billion cubic meters to 537 billion cubic meters over the next 15 years.

The Secretary of State for Energy Affairs, Pal Kovacs, underlined Hungary's energy dependence which currently stands to be greater than 60 percent. He highlighted the lack of infrastructure and a need for a survival strategy for the country which would address these issues.

“We need a strategy which will focus on promoting energy efficiency and improvement of energy infrastructure as well as security of supply,” Kovacs said. “We need to ensure access to natural gas and that is something that South Stream will guarantee by 2015.”

Closing the conference was Jose Maria Aznar, former Spanish prime minister, who analyzed the social and economic impacts of the South Stream pipeline and further reiterated the project's influence and importance in regards to EU integration in the context of helping provide Europe with a new source of desperately needed economic growth.

http://rt.prnewswire.com/rt.gif?NewsItemId=enUK201311191836_prnj&Transmission_Id=201311190729PR_NEWS_EURO_ND__enUK201311191836_prnj&DateId=20131119 Source: Natural Gas Europe

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Jul 26, 2021

Ofwat allows retailers to raise prices from April

Ofwat
Utilities
water
prices
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Ofwat confirms levels of bad debt costs across the business retail market are exceeding 2% of non-household revenue

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:   

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.

Anita Dougall, CEO and Founding Partner at Sagacity, said Ofwat’s decision comes hot on the heels of Ofgem’s price cap rise in April.

"While it’s great that regulators are helping the industry deal with bad debt in the wake of the pandemic, raising prices only treats the symptoms. Instead, water companies should head upstream, using customer data to identify and rectify the causes of bad debt, stop it at source and help prevent it from occurring in the first place," she said.

"While recouping costs is a must, water companies shouldn’t just rely on the regulator. Data can help companies segment customers, identify and assist customers that are struggling financially, avoiding penalising the entire customer in tackling the cause of the issue."

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 VenturesWave 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.

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