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Enzen and Bit Stew Partner to solve data integration challenges for Energy and Utilities

24 August 2016

Bit Stew systems, developer of the premier platform that solves the data integration challenge in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), today announced that Enzen, has joined Bit Stew to bring its MIx Core platform to the global energy and utility market.

As a gold level partner with Bit Stew, Enzen will leverage Bit Stew’s MIx Core platform to offer complex data integration services to its power, gas and water customers in India, Europe, Australia and the US. Enzen will deploy it’s deep industry expertise to identify relevant use-cases that can be addressed through the deployment of Bit Stew Systems MIx Core data platform.

“Enzen’s broad expertise in structured business transformation, digital enablement of enterprise solutions, business operations and network operations will drive the rapid adoption of BitStew’s MIx Core platform in the global energy markets,” says Michele Morgan, managing Director, Europe at Bit Stew. “Through this partnership, Enzen will Integrate Bit Stew’s MIx Core platform into their solutions offering customisation, implementation and managed services”.

“We are pleased to join hands with Bit Stew Systems to combine their deep data integration expertise with our business transformation, system integration and strategy experience to solve the complex IIoT data challenges for our energy and utility companies,” says Harish Gopal, CEO, Enzen Spain. “With solutions from Bit Stew, data integration will soon be a challenge of the past allowing our customers to realise better business outcomes turning what traditionally took weeks or months to implement into days.”

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Enzen announces equity investment in Optimitive to strengthen energy efficiency offerings

26 August 2016

Enzen Global announced this week that is has completed an equity investment into Optimitive, a Spanish firm incorporated in 2008. Optimitive is a spin off from one of the leading European Applied Research Centres and is a provider of dynamic and real-time optimisation solution (OPTIBAT) to industrial processes. The OPTIBAT Energy Saver connects to the industrial process control systems and makes adjustments in reaction to changing conditions such as raw material being used, atmosphere or production rate etc. to achieve the maximum possible energy efficiency without sacrificing output or quality.

Through the inclusion of Optimitive solutions into its portfolio, Enzen will be able to further strengthen its Energy Efficiency offerings to existing and new marketing.

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Ofgem Secures Free Energy for Npower Customers

21 Jul 2015

Some npower customers’ Ombudsman rulings have been left outstanding for over 28 days. Ofgem has ensured they will now receive free energy until npower has fully implemented the rulings.

Customers affected by this up to 21 July will also have any outstanding debt on their account written off by npower. For those consumers affected by late remedies after this date, npower will provide them with free energy on their account. They will also consider clearing debt on these customers’ accounts on a case by case basis.

Npower will now write to the affected consumers to confirm the actions they are taking. Ofgem’s investigation into npower’s customer services issues continues.

Anthony Pygram, senior partner at Ofgem said: “We’re pleased that we have been able to secure free energy for npower customers waiting longer than 28 days for a resolution to their Ombudsman complaint. And we welcome the company’s commitment to working with us to put things right.

“We expect npower to implement Ombudsman decisions on time. Our intervention has only been necessary because of npower’s failure to do this. This has led to further frustration for affected customers who have already been waiting some time to have their issue resolved. We are continuing our investigation into npower’s customer service issues and expect significant improvements from the company to address these.”

Source: Ofgem

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Ofgem Publishes Latest Estimates of Costs and Revenues for a Typical Large Energy Supplier

Sep 2014

Ofgem has published its latest monthly projection of costs and revenues for a typical large energy supplier over the coming 12 months.

As a regulator it is important that Ofgem provides these figures to make the market clearer for consumers. The supply market indicators (SMI) help them to understand the relationship between their bill and the different costs faced by these suppliers.

As part of the SMI, we include a forward looking estimate of margins. They do not represent the profits of the individual six largest suppliers as the companies still have to pay taxes and fund debt payments from the margin they make. Reporting margins in this way is common across various sectors.

The actual margins earned by any of these suppliers will depend significantly on their own particular hedging strategy, cost efficiency and particularly on actual consumption levels, which are themselves affected by weather, especially in gas.

The latest indicators show that the average dual fuel bill from August 2014 to August 2015 will be £1330. The portion of the dual fuel bill made up by suppliers’ wholesale costs is £598. This is a similar amount to wholesale costs Ofgem reported in the July update. Network, environmental and social costs make up £386 of the bill. Our estimate of supplier operating costs for the next 12 months is £174.

Our estimate of the pre-tax margin that a typical large supplier could make over the same period is £102 or 8%. This is a decrease of £4 on last month’s estimate.

View this month’s Supply Market Indicator analysis in full here.

Since 2009 Ofgem has required the six largest energy suppliers to produce annual statements showing actual costs, revenues and profits for their generation and supply businesses. You can view these at Energy Companies’ Consolidated Segmental Statements.

Story appears courtesy of Ofgem.

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SSE Sells Gas Pipeline Business for £52.7 Million

01 Sep 2014

SSE plc today (1 September 2014) completed the sale of SSE Pipelines Ltd, one of the UK’s largest licensed independent gas transporters, to a new fund, the Environmental Capital Fund (ECF) for a total consideration estimated to be £52.7m. ECF is managed by Scottish Equity Partners LLP (SEP).

SSE Pipelines Ltd has over 130,000 gas connections, providing this service to new residential and commercial developments throughout the UK. No employees will transfer as part of the disposal. The sale is part of SSE’s value programme of planned asset and business disposals announced in its Notification of Close Period Statement on 26 March.

SEP has raised a commitment of £135 million for the infrastructure fund to invest in UK-based clean energy projects, which SSE Pipelines Ltd will anchor. SSE will initially invest £13.8 million for a significant minority stake in the fund, which is also backed by a syndicate of financial investors led by Lexington Partners, the world’s largest independent manager of secondary private equity and co-investment funds.

ECF complements SEP’s Environmental Energies Fund (EEF) launched in 2011, which acquired a portfolio of venture capital and private equity cleantech investments from SSE plc.

Gregor Alexander, Finance Director of SSE plc, said:
“We have identified a range of assets and businesses which are not core to SSE’s future plans and this disposal represents the latest step in the programme to significantly simplify the SSE group and secure proceeds and debt reduction estimated to total around £1bn.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to complete the disposal and, at the same time, participate in SEP’s new fund targeted at small-scale clean energy projects throughout the UK.

“This transaction will ensure resources are fully focused on what is important and relevant to SSE plc’s core purpose of providing the energy people need in a reliable and sustainable way whilst supporting future investment in clean energy.”

Story appears courtesy of SSE.

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Ofwat Draft Decisions Keep Bills Down

29 Aug 2014

Draft proposals by Ofwat, published today, mean average bills for water and wastewater customers would fall by around 5% in real terms between 2015 and 2020.

At the same time customers would see better levels of service. This would be supported by a substantial investment programme – worth more than £43 billion – or almost £2000 for every household in England and Wales. The benefits this investment would bring include a reduction in the time lost to supply interruptions (down 40% on average), cleaner water at more than 50 beaches, and more than 340 million litres a day saved by tackling leakage and promoting water efficiency – enough water saved to serve all of the homes in Birmingham, Liverpool and Leeds.

Ofwat has changed its approach to setting prices to put the onus on companies to take responsibility for understanding what their customers want and can afford. As a result, when companies submitted their plans to Ofwat in December, all but two were already proposing bills that were either held at, or below, inflation. Ofwat’s challenge has further reduced bills for all companies. For example, its scrutiny of companies’ financing costs would save customers more than £2 billion over the next five years.

Cathryn Ross, Chief Executive of Ofwat said: “This is good news for customers – with bills held down and better service. Our challenge to companies has resulted in the sector’s biggest ever customer conversation. Delivering for customers rather than ticking regulatory boxes will drive what companies do over the next five years. Some will find this tough, but companies which really stretch themselves will reap the benefits of increased customer trust and confidence.”

Sonia Brown, Chief Regulation Officer said: “Some companies provided excellent, customer-focused plans. Others did not include sufficient evidence to justify their plans, and so we stepped in to make sure customers get a fair deal. These are draft decisions and things could still change. Companies will be looking hard at where they need to submit new evidence and we will also continue to challenge hard to make sure that our final decisions result in the best possible deal for customers.”

There now follows a period of consultation when companies and other stakeholders can make representations. Final decisions will be published in December.

Story appears courtesy of Ofwat.

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EDF Energy Fined £3 million by Ofgem for Complaints Handling Arrangements

26 Aug 2014

EDF Energy is to pay £3m to benefit vulnerable customers after Ofgem’s investigation found that the company breached complaint handling rules.

The investigation was prompted following an increase of over 30% in the levels of complaints recorded by EDF Energy during the mass migration stages of introducing a new IT system in 2011. Ofgem found that between May 2011 and January 2012, EDF Energy did not have appropriate procedures in place to properly receive, record and process all customers’ complaints in accordance with complaints handling rules.

EDF Energy encountered a number of unexpected technical problems that resulted in many customers experiencing unacceptably high call waiting times with many deciding to hang up before getting through to a customer services operator. When customers did get through, there was evidence of complaints where the supplier had failed to record all the required details for the complaints received. This included the date of receipt, a summary of the complaint and action taken, which could have led to difficulties in tracking progress of consumer complaints. At times when the new systems were down, complaints were not logged until sometime after they were actually received.

EDF Energy staff took action quickly to rectify the problems and to mitigate the effects on consumers. The company has acknowledged that their customers were caused significant disruption and have publicly apologised for this. The agreed payment reflects these factors as well as the seriousness of the issues.

Sarah Harrison, Ofgem’s senior partner with responsibility for enforcement said: “EDF Energy failed to have sufficiently robust processes in place when they introduced a new IT system and this led to the unacceptable handling of complaints. Their commitment to putting things right and paying £3m to the Citizens Advice ‘Energy Best Deal Extra’ scheme and the Plymouth Citizen Advice Bureau’s Debt Helpline to benefit vulnerable customers is a step in the right direction to rebuilding consumer trust.

“It’s now vital for EDF Energy and the industry as a whole to truly put customers first and put adequate resources in place to deal with complaints. Following our reforms, it has never been easier for consumers to switch supplier and therefore those unhappy with the service they receive are able to vote with their feet.”

Story appears courtesy of Ofgem.

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Greencoat UK Wind to Acquire Four Wind Farms for £90 Million

21 Aug 2014

The Board of UKW has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a 51.6% stake in Sixpenny Wood, Yelvertoft, North Rhins and Drone Hill Wind Farms from subsidiaries of The AES Corporation (“AES”), a global power company, for a total consideration of £90.6 million.

The acquisitions, which are expected to complete on 22 August, will include the prepayment of existing indebtedness and will be funded through reinvestment of UKW’s cash resources and its acquisition debt facility provided by RBC, RBS and Santander.

Sixpenny Wood Wind Farm is located near Goole in the East Riding of Yorkshire and has a total capacity of 20.5 MW, a forecast net load factor of 31.0% and has been operational since July 2013.

Yelvertoft Wind Farm is located east of Rugby in Northamptonshire and has a total capacity of 16.4 MW, a forecast net load factor of 28.6% and has been operational since July 2013.

North Rhins Wind Farm is located on the North Rhins peninsula, west of Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway and has a total capacity of 22.0 MW, a forecast net load factor of 37.8% and has been operational since December 2009.

Drone Hill Wind Farm is located west of Eyemouth in the Borders and has a total capacity of 28.6 MW, a forecast net load factor of 23.7% and has been operational since August 2012. All four wind farms were developed and constructed by AES and receive 1 ROC per MWh.

Tim Ingram, Chairman, said: “We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Sixpenny Wood, Yelvertoft, North Rhins and Drone Hill Wind Farms from AES and to increase our investment portfolio to 16 UK wind farms with net generating capacity of 271.5MW. AES is the fifth seller of wind farms to UKW, a testament to the Company’s independence and to its ability to be selective in its acquisitions.”

Following completion, at £225 million, UKW’s total outstanding debt is expected to be approximately 38% of Gross Asset Value (leverage limit 40%).

As previously announced, the Company will be paying a dividend of £10.6m (3.08p per share) on 29 August 2014 in respect of the six months to 30 June 2014.

Swiss Life Funds (Luxembourg) Global Infrastructure Opportunities S.C.A., a fund managed by Swiss Life Asset Managers will co-invest alongside UKW and acquire the remaining 48.4%. The acquisitions will be made through a joint holding company. Colville Partners advised.

Story appears courtesy of Greencoat UK Wind.

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SSE plc Response to CMA Statement of Issues

14 Aug 2014

SSE plc has today (14 August 2014) submitted its response to the Statement of Issues relating to the supply and acquisition of energy in Great Britain published by the Competition and Markets Authority on 24 July 2014.

In its response published as an Executive Summary here, SSE confirms its appetite for reform that gives customers confidence, allows regulators to regulate and encourages investors to invest in the Great Britain energy market.

The response addresses each of the CMA’s four potential Theories of Harm in turn, highlighting that many features of the GB energy markets are functioning well and benefitting customers through effective competition. In addition there are significant market reforms that have only recently been introduced which should have a positive impact upon GB energy markets.

In its response SSE has also highlighted specific areas where it believes there may be potential for reforms that produce additional benefits for competition and customers. These include: examining whether the Carbon Price Floor could be reformed to improve longer term liquidity; continuing to build transparency around financial reporting; lowering and simplifying customer bills by paying for Government policy through taxation; reviewing regulations that complicate bills and tariffs; and examining whether the different regional costs of transporting electricity could be passed on to suppliers as one national charge to make price comparisons easier.

SSE agrees with the summary of many stakeholders’ views included in the CMA’s Statement of Issues: that an independent, authoritative market investigation will help to address key issues and begin to restore the confidence of both customers and investors.

Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive of SSE, said:
“The Great Britain energy market is highly competitive but SSE continues to have an appetite for reforms that further benefit customers. For example, we believe that reviewing and amending energy bill regulations so that customers’ bills are simpler or taking Government policy costs off those bills are two possible reforms that could benefit customers. Over the coming few months SSE will keep trying to ask the right questions and remains committed to trying to find the right answers for our customers in an open and transparent way.”

Story appears courtesy of SSE.

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E.ON UK Sales and Profits Fall but Investment Continues to Increase

15 Aug 2014

E.ON has announced details of its half-year financial performance for January to June 2014.

E.ON UK Chief Executive, Tony Cocker, said:
“Our supply business has seen a £422 million decrease in sales when compared to the same period last year, which is primarily due to milder weather. Although parts of the UK faced widespread storms, the first six months were actually considerably warmer in comparison to the same period in 2013. This has meant customers have used less energy.

“This fall in demand has also had a direct impact on profits, with EBITDA decreasing by £85 million to £188 million. Despite this, we continue to invest significantly in our supply business and I’m pleased to say that in the first half of this year we have increased our investments to £33 million.

“This boost in investment has predominantly been in smart meter installations. We’ve now installed more than 330,000 meters in our customers’ homes, which will help them control their energy use. We’ve also further enhanced the level of our customer service through a wide range of programmes including upgrading our IT systems in order to provide our colleagues with the best available technology to support our customers.

“Our overarching goal is to keep making improvements to the services we offer our customers as we believe there’s always more that can be done. For example, we’ve noticed a massive increase in the number of customers wanting to access our online tools via their mobile devices. As well as ensuring the majority of our website is now accessible in this way, in January we also updated our ‘Best Deal For You’ service so customers can ensure they’re on our best tariff quickly, easily and wherever they are, through their mobile device.

“We’re also investing in new recruitment processes which we believe will help tackle the skills shortage within the sector, support the government’s youth unemployment agenda and deliver improved training and development for our colleagues. For instance, our industry leading Customer Service Apprenticeship scheme will give 16-24 year olds, who live in the local communities in which we operate, the opportunity to embark on a career in the energy industry. This innovative scheme will also help us build on the progress we have already made in improving our services for our customers.

“We want to ensure that we’re playing our part in restoring confidence in the industry and are therefore pleased that the energy market has been referred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) – something we first called for back in 2011. We feel that through our own actions, and the CMA investigation, we can take another step towards becoming our customers’ trusted energy partner.”

Commenting on the results across E.ON’s other activities in the UK, Tony Cocker said: “EBITDA has increased by £49 million when compared to the same period last year, following increased production in our upstream oil and gas activities. However, our fossil fleet continues to experience difficult market conditions and increasing regulatory costs which have significantly affected turnover for the first half of the year.

“Despite this we continue to invest large sums in new and existing projects throughout the UK. For example, our £120 million Blackburn Meadows biomass facility has recently generated electricity and synchronised with the local distribution network for the first time. Also, earlier this month we opened our £4 million Humber Gateway Offshore Wind Farm Operations and Maintenance base which will support the current construction stage and day-to-day running of the 219MW site. Once completed, the wind farm will produce enough energy to power around 170,000 homes.”

“This investment in a mix of generation assets will help ensure future security of supply and help create an energy infrastructure in the UK of which we can all be proud.”

Story appears courtesy of E.ON

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