Siemens Energy wins major service agreement in Middle East
Kuwait’s Minister of Electricity and Water (MEW) has awarded Siemens Energy a five-year service contract for the maintenance of 116 high-voltage substations, the energy giant says.
It represents Siemens Energy’s largest transmission service order in the country and is one of the biggest service agreements in the Middle East’s power transmission sector.
The project aims to ensure reliable power supply throughout Kuwait, with the service stations set to undergo maintenance to enhance their reliability and safety while providing power to both residential and commercial areas, Siemens Energy says.
A substation is key to power supply as it is used for transmitting and distributing electricity to distant locations. It is for that reason that safety, security, reliability, and efficiency are essential.
Through preventative maintenance Siemens Energy aims to ensure that the people of Kuwait have a stable and reliable source of energy, the statement adds.
Ananthnarayan Iyer, VP (Transmission Service), Siemens Energy Middle East, said: "It covers preventive maintenance and emergency repair of the substations, including various voltage levels switchgears, power transformers and various assets in each substation."
"We are looking forward to contributing further to Kuwait’s long-term energy demands in a sustainable manner. The services to these substations will help maximise performance, lower operating costs and deliver better network operations for the ministry," he adds.
“This agreement builds on our strong legacy of successful projects in Kuwait,” says Herbert Klausner, managing director of Siemens Energy Kuwait.
“We remain committed to driving power sector efficiency across Kuwait and helping the Ministry of Electricity meet the increasing demand for power for domestic, industrial and municipal use,” he adds, highlight that around a quarter of the power transmitted in the country utilises Siemens Energy’s technology.
The awarding of the contract is the second major coup for the energy giant in the GCC, following news that Siemens Energy has been appointed to upgrade and expand services at Jebal Ali L2 power and water station in Dubai.
The integrated 20-year long-term service agreement for that project includes an intelligent gas turbine controller, which has been jointly developed by DEWA and Siemens Energy.
As per that agreement Siemens Energy will supply an intelligent controller for each of the four SGT5-4000F gas turbines, the latest SPPA-T3000 control system, services for generators, as well as added upgrades for outage reduction and operational flexibility.
The intelligent controller was co-developed by DEWA and Siemens Energy in 2019 and is the world’s first thermodynamic Digital Twin Gas Turbine (GT) Intelligent Controller. The controller uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning to systematically give power plant operators a complete and continuous overview and scenario-based assessment of power plant operations.
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.
"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 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.