Select Committee on Science and Technology Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by United Utilities

  I offered to provide further information for the Committee about United Utilities' interests in supporting a low carbon future, and specifically the challenges which face our electricity distribution business.

  United Utilities is a FTSE-100 multi-utility company with international business interests. Our core business is the operation of water and electricity infrastructure, though we also have significant presence in metering and connections for all utility services, business telecommunications and outsourced customer management.

  Our interests and commitment to energy reduction and low carbon generation span our businesses:

    —  we are a leading developer of small-scale renewable energy schemes (UU Green Energy), with over 66MW installed capacity operational or under construction, and plans to develop a further 200MW in the next five years;

    —  we own and operate the regulated electricity distribution network in the north-west (UU Electricity plc);

    —  some 7% of our power needs for waste water treatment is generated from renewable sources at treatment works (UU Water plc);

    —  we offer energy efficiency solutions to business and have over 200 schemes in place nationwide (UU Energy Services);

    —  we have won environmental and energy efficiency awards for the way we manage our offices including the prestigious "Environmental Impact Award" at this year's British Institute of Facilities Management Awards.

  Looking beyond our own business interests, we instigated a partnership with the Northwest Development Agency to establish Renewables Northwest Ltd, a new, not-for profit company to champion the cause of renewable energy in the North West of England. RNL works with public agencies and developers to build support for renewable projects and address issues, including barriers presented by statutory consents and infrastructure capacity.

  The paper attached to this letter discusses the issues for infrastructure providers, and the approach United Utilities is taking to responding to the demand for connections from renewable electricity generators. We believe that there are actions which distribution network operators can and should take to plan for transformation of networks, but there are limitations to what can be achieved before important regulatory issues are resolved. There are also technological issues for the rapid and widespread growth in domestic generation and CHP.

December 2002

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