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UK Energy Industry News



Modified: 2017-06-19T15:01:23Z

Copyright: Copyright (c) 2017, energylinx
 



E.ON Launch Cap and Track Tariff

2017-06-19T15:01:23Z

Last week, E.ON launched a new one-year energy tariff that promises to remain £100 below the average price of all energy tariffs on the market. The 'Cap and Track' tariff will follow the Energylinx Price Retail Index, which tracks the price of all energy tariffs across the UK. The tariff price will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. If the average cost has dropped over the quarter then the price of the tariff will also fall £100 below the average figure. If the market average goes up after a quarter then the tariff price will increase, but will never be more expensive than when the customer signed up.

(image) Last week, E.ON launched a new one-year energy tariff that promises to remain £100 below the average price of all energy tariffs on the market.

The 'Cap and Track' tariff will follow the Energylinx Price Retail Index, which tracks the price of all energy tariffs across the UK.

The tariff price will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. If the average cost has dropped over the quarter then the price of the tariff will also fall £100 below the average figure. If the market average goes up after a quarter then the tariff price will increase, but will never be more expensive than when the customer signed up.

Whilst the E.ON tariff isn't the cheapest on the market, the price can drop. The average price for customers signing up today is £955. The current cheapest tariff on the market is £850 and comes from Farnborough based supplier, OneSelect.

Chris Lovatt, director of residential operations at Eon, said: 'Eon Cap and Track provides peace of mind to customers that their prices are capped at the level they sign up to and are reviewed every three months.
'By capping the price for the duration of the 12-month tariff, we guarantee the price the customer pays will not rise above their start price.

'For many, this takes away the hassle of shopping around for energy, especially for those who don't feel they have the time to do so. This is one of the many ways we're helping to boost engagement in the energy market, particularly with people on standard variable tariffs.'

E.ON's Cap and Track Tariff is only avaliable from E.ON directly. Energylinx compares the whole market, so you can see what tariff saves your household the most money by doing a quick online comparison or call one of our energy advisors on 01259 220000.




Billing Code Audit 2017: Who got gold?

2017-06-06T15:32:52Z

The Billing code results today showed that energy suppliers are delivering more accurate bills for millions of UK consumers. The Billing Code, an initiative established in 2006 by Energy UK to drive more accurate domestic billing, has recorded year-on-year progress. Suppliers are measured against five criteria: switching, meter reading, energy bills and statements, payment and refunds and back billing. Following an independent audit by PWC, today's Billing Code results have seen one supplier attain the highest gold award, meaning they are fully compliant with all areas of the code, while three others achieved silver and one bronze.

The Billing code results today showed that energy suppliers are delivering more accurate bills for millions of UK consumers.

The Billing Code, an initiative established in 2006 by Energy UK to drive more accurate domestic billing, has recorded year-on-year progress. Suppliers are measured against five criteria: switching, meter reading, energy bills and statements, payment and refunds and back billing.

Following an independent audit by PWC, today's Billing Code results have seen one supplier attain the highest gold award, meaning they are fully compliant with all areas of the code, while three others achieved silver and one bronze.

Supplier Results

Gold: EDF Energy
Silver: British Gas, E.ON, ScottishPower
Bronze: nPower

Tina Tietjen, Independent Chair of the Billing Code said:

"This year has been a fantastic year for the Code. As well as gaining a new member, we've seen one supplier achieve an award for the first time. Given the rigour of the audit process, maintaining the highest award is challenging and although we've had the best overall results, only one supplier was able to retain the Gold from last year.

"Together the Billing Code members send out more than 200 million bills each year and I'm delighted that they have risen to the challenge of improving processes. In terms of taking control and keeping costs down, clear and accurate information about energy use benefits customers enormously."




Project Nexus Explained

2017-05-19T08:58:11Z

Energy regulator, Ofgem, has sponsored an initiative called Project Nexus. The aim of Project Nexus is to replace the UK Link System which is operated by XOSERVE and provides a number of functions for the gas industry. Nexus is due to go live on 1st June 2017. As a result of this go live, there will be a period of transition that may increase customer switch times for gas. It's unusual for an upgrade of this size to take place but once the new system is live, it will provide a host of new benefits.

Energy regulator, Ofgem, has sponsored an initiative called Project Nexus. The aim of Project Nexus is to replace the UK Link System which is operated by XOSERVE and provides a number of functions for the gas industry.

Nexus is due to go live on 1st June 2017. As a result of this go live, there will be a period of transition that may increase customer switch times for gas. It's unusual for an upgrade of this size to take place but once the new system is live, it will provide a host of new benefits.

Here are just some of the benefits we can expect after Project Nexus is completed:

• Faster switching.
• Better reporting of gas consumption.
• Improved support for the smart meter rollout.
• Introduction of new settlement classes.

Does this Affect Me?

Rest assured, you won't experience any impact on your gas supply during the upgrade.

If you arrange to switch your gas supplier or a dual fuel transfer during this period then you will likely experience delays in the process. Electricity only switches will not be impacted by the upgrade, as it only effects the gas network. If you are arranging a dual fuel transfer then both may be delayed, so that you have the same start date. The welcome pack you receive from your new supplier will provide further details of your official go live date.

If you are considering switching your energy supplier and you are on a fixed term tariff that ends at the end of May, then you will be put on to your current suppliers' standard tariff until you go live with your new supplier.

The below provides guidelines for the increased timescales for switching:

• Switches between 3rd - 18th May will take approximately five weeks.
• Switches between 19th - 31th May will take approximately four weeks.

If you are unsure or have any questions, our energy advisors will be able to provide you with more information, call 01259 220000. You can also arrange your energy transfer online.




Tories Pledge to 'cap' Energy Prices

2017-05-10T14:45:13Z

This is an invitation to Greg Clark. We'd love to have you visit our head office. As Energy Secretary, you are in a position to make policies and are paid by the taxpayer to do so. You therefore should have experience of just how effortless the energy transfer process is before dismissing it to the electorate. Yesterday the Conservative Party outlined their policy to cap energy bills, despite the idea of any form of capping being rejected by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last summer. Based on the way pre-payment meters have worked since April, it would be an "absolute" cap. The Tories rejected the idea of a relative cap, which would limit the difference between the cheapest fixed-price deal and the more expensive Standard Variable Tariff (SVT) to a set percentage. That model was particularly controversial, as critics said suppliers would simply increase the price of fixed-rate deals, to maintain the differential with SVTs. How would it work? If the Conservatives win the election, the regulator Ofgem would be asked to introduce a price cap along the lines of one introduced in April to cap prices on households with pre-payment meters. As many as 4.5 million people use prepayment meters for electricity, while 3.5 million use them for gas. Prepayment customers face higher energy bills. The CMA ordered a cap on their charges because such households do not benefit from the competition that exists for all other consumers. Under this system, the CMA has come up with an initial maximum figure for prices in each region of the UK, usually in line with the cheapest existing pre-payment meter tariff. That number is adjusted every six months, taking into account wholesale energy costs, inflation, environmental obligations and the cost of transporting energy around the network. The Effects of a Potential Cap Consumer groups are generally opposed to the idea, as it would tend to give consumers a false sense of security. In New Zealand, a price cap resulted in a loss of competition and energy prices going up before the cap. Householders might think they are getting a good deal, so would make even less effort to switch suppliers. This makes the market less competitive which isn't good for consumers. The news of this policy comes in a month where thousands of UK households will be moved on to supplier's standard tariffs this month as their fixed rate tariff is ending. Consumer group Which? found a total of 17 fixed deals from 10 suppliers expire this month, including a £396 jump for customers with SSE, £373 for Scottish Power, £358 with EDF and £236 with Npower. The smallest increase is the £79 extra that people on another Scottish Power fixed tariff will pay when moved on to the company's standard variable tariff. About two-thirds of people - 17 million - are on standard variable tariffs, which are what the Conservatives have pledged to cap. Although the Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, admitted that energy prices would still go up under the proposed price cap. He then caused outrage by saying he had never switched energy supplier because it was "too much hassle" despite years of the UK Government promoting how simple it is to switch energy supplier and that it is the best way to save money on your energy bills. This is an open invitation to Greg Clark. We'd love to have you visit our head office. As Energy Secretary, you are in a position to make policies and are paid by the taxpayer to do so. You therefore should have experience of just how effortless the energy transfer process is before dismissing it to the electorate. Switching energy supplier is a simple and straight-forward process and it's a quick way to save money on your energy bills. If you can't do it online, you can call one of our advisers and they'll compare the tariffs available to you. By offering you free and impartial advice they will help you secure the best deal for your household. Call 0800 849 7077. [...]



British Gas to lose 1 million customers in 2017

2017-05-08T14:41:30Z

British Gas is on course to lose a million customers by the end of the year, after dropping 261,000 customers in the first few months of 2017. This is despite British Gas being the only "Big Six" supplier not to announce a price rise in the first few months of this year. The fall comes on top of the 400,000 customers that switched away from British Gas in 2016. This takes the suppliers to below 14 million UK customers for the first time since the 1970s. The Conservative Party has pledged to cap energy prices if they win the general election next month and Centrica, the owners of British Gas, is hoping to reassure shareholders that it can withstand the plans. The Tories aim to cut around £100 from annual household energy bills by capping prices for the seven out of ten households on standard variable tariffs.

(image)

British Gas is on course to lose a million customers by the end of the year, after dropping 261,000 customers in the first few months of 2017. This is despite British Gas being the only "Big Six" supplier not to announce a price rise in the first few months of this year.

The fall comes on top of the 400,000 customers that switched away from British Gas in 2016. This takes the suppliers to below 14 million UK customers for the first time since the 1970s.

The Conservative Party has pledged to cap energy prices if they win the general election next month and Centrica, the owners of British Gas, is hoping to reassure shareholders that it can withstand the plans. The Tories aim to cut around £100 from annual household energy bills by capping prices for the seven out of ten households on standard variable tariffs.

Analysts have warned that the Government intervention on prices will come at a significant cost to Centrica. The supplier currently supplies more than 6 million UK households with energy on standard variable tariffs.
Centrica has warned any practice of price regulation would lead to reduced competition in the market, with customers having less choice and higher bills overall. Centrica has proposed alternative ways to improve the market, without resorting to price regulation.

John Penrose, a Conservative MP who has led calls for a relative price cap, said Centrica's comments were an empty threat. "It isn't sustainable for the big six to threaten they'll scrap their cheapest tariffs. They would condemn themselves to a slow commercial death, milking a declining customer base because they wouldn't win any new business."

Centrica remains the UK's biggest domestic energy supplier. They also earned the highest profit margins in the industry on their customers last year, at 8.8% of earnings before interest and tax, versus an industry average of 5.6%. However, the company is expected to cut 1500 jobs this year to generate cost saving of £250m in addition to the £384m it reported in the previous year.

Wondering if you could save money on your energy bills? Energylinx provide a free and impartial comparison and switching service. You can find on what you could save online or by calling one of our energy advisors on 01259 220000.




Over half a million customers switched energy supplier in March

2017-04-20T11:14:11Z

Energy UK released switching numbers for the first 3 months of 2017. They show an increase of 13% in March 2017 compared to the same month in 2016 with a total of 536,658 UK households switching energy supplier. That brings the amount of energy switches to above 1.3 million in the first quarter of 2017. Last month consumers switching from larger to small and mid-tier suppliers represented more than a quarter of all switches (27%) reaching just over 145,000. There's been increased press coverage around price increases from five of the "Big Six" energy suppliers. British Gas have announced a price freeze until August this year.

(image)

Energy UK released switching numbers for the first 3 months of 2017. They show an increase of 13% in March 2017 compared to the same month in 2016 with a total of 536,658 UK households switching energy supplier. That brings the amount of energy switches to above 1.3 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Last month consumers switching from larger to small and mid-tier suppliers represented more than a quarter of all switches (27%) reaching just over 145,000.

Switch to Save before the Price Hike

There's been increased press coverage around price increases from five of the "Big Six" energy suppliers. British Gas have announced a price freeze until August this year.

• E.On is increasing electricity prices by an average of 13.8%, and gas prices by 3.8%, on 26th April.
• SSE raised gas prices 14.9% effective from April 28th.
• Npower raised its standard tariff electricity prices by 15% from 16th March and gas prices by 4.8%.
• Scottish Power's standard electricity prices increased by an average of 10.8% and gas by 4.7% on 31st March.
• EDF putting up prices for the second time this year. From June 21st customers will pay 9% more for electricity and gas prices will increase by 5%.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK said:

"1.3m consumers switching already this year is further demonstration of competition in action in the retail market. Competition is driving up standards, innovation and investment as suppliers compete to keep and attract new customers. There has never been a better time to check you are on the best deal for you - and the Energy Switch Guarantee gives consumers extra confidence the process will be simple, speedy and safe."

We would urge any customers to run a comparison and see what they could save today. Energylinx offer a free and impartial switching service. You can do it online or by calling one of our expert advisors on 01259 220000.




1.5m EDF customers face higher bills this year

2017-04-12T14:28:19Z

"Big Six" Energy Supplier, EDF, has announced further rises in gas and electricity prices for UK customers. The energy company has blaming rising wholesale prices and the costs of delivering UK energy policy for the decision. The supplier was the first major energy provider to announce an increase in electricity prices last December. Four of the other "big six" providers have since followed suit, with only British Gas keeping prices on hold From 21 June, customers on EDF's standard tariff will see electricity prices increase by 9% and gas prices go up by 5.5%. The supplier previously increased electricity prices by 8.4% on 1 March, although it cut gas prices in January.

(image) "Big Six" Energy Supplier, EDF, has announced further rises in gas and electricity prices for UK customers. The energy company has blaming rising wholesale prices and the costs of delivering UK energy policy for the decision.

The supplier was the first major energy provider to announce an increase in electricity prices last December. Four of the other "big six" providers have since followed suit, with only British Gas keeping prices on hold.

From 21 June, customers on EDF's standard tariff will see electricity prices increase by 9% and gas prices go up by 5.5%.

The supplier previously increased electricity prices by 8.4% on 1 March, although it cut gas prices in January.

The two rises together will affect around 1.5m customers, and lead to a whopping 8.5% increase in bills for a dual fuel direct debit customer. This equates to an extra £78 a year and an average annual bill of £1,160. The bulk of EDF's customers (1.8 million) are on fixed term deals, so will not be affected until their deal ends.

The energy regulator, Ofgem, has criticised the decision. Dermot Nolan, its chief executive, said:

"EDF's second price rise in four months, when there has not been a dramatic rise in wholesale energy prices since it last put up prices, is difficult to justify and is further evidence that the energy market is not working in all consumers' interests."

So far this year, 5 of the "Big Six" energy suppliers have announced price increases with only British Gas announcing a "prize freeze" until August.

• E.On is increasing electricity prices by an average of 13.8%, and gas prices by 3.8%, on 26th April.
• SSE raised gas prices 14.9% effective from April 28th.
• Npower raised its standard tariff electricity prices by 15% from 16th March and gas prices by 4.8%.
• Scottish Power's standard electricity prices increased by an average of 10.8% and gas by 4.7% on 31st March.

Energylinx would like to urge all customers that are on a standard tariff to compare the whole market and see what deals are available to you. You could take hundreds off your annual energy bill in just a few minutes. You can use our website or call one of our friendly advisers who will sort it for you and answer any questions you may have. The number to ring is 01259 220000.




Ofgem promises new security for consumers from back-billing

2017-04-03T15:10:17Z

Energy suppliers will no longer be able to charge customers for gas and electricity used more than 12 months ago, under new rules proposed by regulator Ofgem. Currently, energy suppliers have a voluntary agreement that was put in to place in 2007. Ofgem is now concerned, in part due to receiving case studies from Citizens Advice, that the voluntary principle is not being applied consistently and that not all suppliers have appropriate back-billing protections in place.

(image) Energy suppliers will no longer be able to charge customers for gas and electricity used more than 12 months ago, under new rules proposed by regulator Ofgem.

This would mean if a customer has been paying an incorrect amount on their energy bills, their energy supplier won't be able to bill them for anything that they owe from more than 12 months ago.

Currently, energy suppliers have a voluntary agreement that was put in to place in 2007. Ofgem is now concerned, in part due to receiving case studies from Citizens Advice, that the voluntary principle is not being applied consistently and that not all suppliers have appropriate back-billing protections in place.

Back-bills mainly result from suppliers using estimated bills until they take an actual meter reading which may show that the customer's consumption is higher than expected. Suppliers then send a 'catch-up' bill to recover the difference. Sometimes this can result in large amounts being owed and financial difficulties for the customer to pay it back.

Rachel Fletcher, Senior Partner, Ofgem said:

"Getting billing right is an essential part of customer service, but when things go wrong we want to ensure that all customers benefit from the same protection against back-billing. We cannot be certain that this is the case now under the voluntary commitment. We expect suppliers to put their customers first, which is why we are proposing a new enforceable rule to provide this protection."

Ofgem is also considering whether to introduce a shorter time limit on supplier's back-billing customers as smart meters are rolled out. Smart meters enable suppliers to remotely obtain actual, rather than estimated meter readings, which should allow them to reduce the length of time they need to back-bill these customers.

Ofgem expects the new rule to go live this winter.




Do you know who to call when the power goes out?

2017-03-27T15:01:07Z

There is a new emergency number that UK households should familiarise themselves with - 105. This is the number that you can call if you experience a power cut or if you notice any damage to electricity power lines or substations that could put you or someone else in danger. So, remember the number 105. It's a free service and is available to people in England, Scotland and Wales. Electricity Network Operators Electricity Network Operators keep the lights on in Britain. They are responsible for managing and maintaining the underground cables, overhead wires and substations that provide homes and businesses with electricity. They need to be made aware if you experience a power cut - no matter who your energy supplier i

(image) There is a new emergency number that UK households should familiarise themselves with - 105.

This is the number that you can call if you experience a power cut or if you notice any damage to electricity power lines or substations that could put you or someone else in danger. So, remember the number 105. It's a free service and is available to people in England, Scotland and Wales.

Electricity Network Operators

Electricity Network Operators keep the lights on in Britain. They are responsible for managing and maintaining the underground cables, overhead wires and substations that provide homes and businesses with electricity. They need to be made aware if you experience a power cut - no matter who your energy supplier is.

Many people don't know who to call when they experience a power outage and mistakenly call their supplier. This is why the electricity network operators have introduced the new 105 number. Calling 105 will put you through to the electricity network operator in your area as there are six throughout the UK. Any calls to 105 will be answered by local people who can help you.

What should I do in a Power cut?

• First of all you should switch off any appliances that shouldn't be unattended.
• Leave a light on so you know when the power cut is over.
• Check on any neighbours and make sure they are ok.
• Keep warm!
• Phone 105 and report the outage.

Power Cut Preparation

• Candles can be dangerous - keep a torch handy and some batteries.
• Again, keep warm. A blanket and warm clothing should be kept handy.
• Keep your mobile, laptop and tablets fully charged. Your Network Operator's website or social media will offer updates throughout the power cut, so this will give you a clear idea of how long it will be down for.
• Stock your cupboards with food that doesn't require electricity to prepare!

Energylinx can help you find a cheaper energy tariff. We are 100% impartial, free and accredited to the Ofgem Confidence Code. You can see what you can save online or by calling one of our friendly advisors on 0800 849 7077.




SSE to raise electricity prices in April

2017-03-13T17:02:33Z

SSE has become the latest big energy supplier to put up its energy prices. Unless loyal customers switch their energy supplier, from April 28th they will be charged 14.9% more for their electricity. Gas prices will remain the same. SSE has said that 2.8 million customers will be affected and the typical dual fuel customer could see their annual bill rise by 6.9% or £73. SSE blamed the increase on government policies and the cost of smart meter installation. This is SSE first electricity price rise for three and half years.

(image) SSE has become the latest big energy supplier to put up its energy prices. Unless loyal customers switch their energy supplier, from April 28th they will be charged 14.9% more for their electricity. Gas prices will remain the same.

This is SSE first electricity price rise for three and half years.

SSE has said that 2.8 million customers will be affected and the typical dual fuel customer could see their annual bill rise by 6.9% or £73.

SSE blamed the increase on government policies and the cost of smart meter installation.

Four of the other "Big Six" suppliers have already announced price rises this year, while British Gas has held prices until August 2017.

• E.On is increasing electricity prices by an average of 13.8%, and gas prices by 3.8%, on 26th April.

• EDF Energy cut its gas prices by 5.2% in January but its electricity prices rose by 8.4% on 1st March.

• British Gas is freezing its gas and electricity prices until August.

• Npower is raising its standard tariff electricity prices by 15% from 16th March and gas prices by 4.8%.

• Scottish Power's standard electricity prices will increase by an average of 10.8% and gas by 4.7% on 31st March.

Additional Funds

While making its announcement, SSE said it was launching a £5m fund to provide "additional financial support for those who need it most." No further information has been given on when this will launch.

The managing director of its retail division, Will Morris, said: "We deeply regret having to raise electricity prices.

"This is the first increase since 2013 andnergy bills. we've worked hard to keep them down for as long as possible by cutting our own costs, putting in place a winter price freeze and holding gas prices, but we have seen significant increases in electricity costs which are outside our control.

"Without an increase we would have been supplying electricity to domestic customers at a loss."

The message is clear - Switch supplier

In the UK there are around 20 million customers on standard tariffs and it is usually with a big supplier. SSE said that as much as 85% of its customers were on its standard variable tariffs, so they will be affected by April's price rise.

Last December, industry regulator Ofgem published figures showing how much money customers could save by moving from a standard variable tariff to their supplier's cheapest fixed tariff. For SSE customers that was £98 a year. After this price rise this will be more. Switching energy supplier is simple. You can arrange it online or you can call one of our advisors who can arrange it for you and can answer any questions that you might have. The number to call is 01259 220000. If you're affected, act now and out what you could save today.




Energy Switching up by 30% in 2016

2017-02-28T15:10:25Z

The number of households switching energy supplier hit a six-year high last year as savvy consumers shopped around for a better deal. 28% more customers switched in 2016 than in 2015 - a total of 7.7 million transfers. This included 4.4 million electricity switches and 3.4 million gas switches - this is an increase of 30% for electricity and 24% for gas switches. Officially making it highest level of switching since 2010. Of these switches, nearly half (47%) were to small or medium suppliers as they continued to attract growing numbers of customers.

The number of households switching energy supplier hit a six-year high last year as savvy consumers shopped around for a better deal.

28% more customers switched in 2016 than in 2015 - a total of 7.7 million transfers. This included 4.4 million electricity switches and 3.4 million gas switches - this is an increase of 30% for electricity and 24% for gas switches. Officially making it highest level of switching since 2010.

Of these switches, nearly half (47%) were to small or medium suppliers as they continued to attract growing numbers of customers.

In recent weeks some suppliers have announced price rises for customers on standard variable tariffs, which are typically more expensive than fixed deals.

With savings of around £230 a year on offer from switching to the cheapest deals, it's even more important now to compare tariffs.

It's never been easier to change supplier, as the vast majority of switches take three weeks to complete including a 14 day 'cooling off' period. Compare this to three years ago when it took around five weeks to switch supplier.

Despite rising switching rates, however, around two-thirds of customers still remain on standard variable tariffs and are spending more than they need to on their energy bills.

Ofgem's CEO Dermot Nolan comments:

"This welcome increase in switching should serve as a warning to supply companies. If they fail to keep prices under control or do not provide a good service, they risk being punished as customers vote with their feet.

"While today's figures show good progress, the market is not as competitive as we would like. That is why we have put a temporary price cap in place to protect people on prepayment meters who have the least access to competitive deals and why we are pursuing a raft of reforms which will make this market fairer, smarter and more competitive for consumers."

"Big savings of around £230 are available and switching has never been easier, so we would urge everyone to shop around for a better deal, especially if their supplier announces a price rise."

Energylinx offer a free and impartial switching service. You can speak to one of our knowledgeable advisors by call 01259 22000 or by visiting www.energylinx.co.uk.




Are you affected by the recent energy price increase?

2017-02-21T16:36:23Z

2017 got off to an expensive start for UK consumers, with 3 of the UK biggest energy suppliers announcing price increases. There was some good news for customers of British Gas. The supplier announced earlier this month that it's keeping its current gas and electricity prices the same until August 2017. The "Big Six" Energy Supplier claims it is able to freeze energy bills in the face of higher wholesale prices by cutting costs. So far, British Gas is the only supplier to announce a price freeze that will take customers through until the summer with SSE and E.ON saying that prices will remain the same for customers until April 1st 2017.

(image) 2017 is off to an expensive start for consumers, with 3 of the UK biggest energy suppliers announcing price increases.

There was some good news for customers of British Gas. The supplier announced earlier this month that it's keeping its current gas and electricity prices the same until August 2017. The "Big Six" Energy Supplier claims it is able to freeze energy bills in the face of higher wholesale prices by cutting costs.

So far, British Gas is the only supplier to announce a price freeze that will take customers through until the summer with SSE and E.ON saying that prices will remain the same for customers until April 1st 2017.

Price Hikes

Customers with Scottish Power, Npower and EDF Energy can all expect higher than normal bills from March:

• Scottish Power's standard electricity prices will increase by an average of 10.8% and gas prices by 4.7%. About one third of its customers - 1.1 million people - will be affected by the change.
• Npower is raising its standard tariff electricity prices by 15% from 16 March, and gas prices by 4.8%.
• EDF Energy cut its gas prices by 5.2% in January, but its electricity prices are due to rise by 8.4% on 1 March.

Announcing the price increases, Colin McNeill, UK retail director for Scottish Power said: "This price change follows months of cost increases that have already led to significant rises in fixed price products that now unfortunately have to be reflected in standard prices."

In a statement, energy regulator Ofgem said: "We would urge consumers to take advantage of the deals available from the many different suppliers and to shop around for a better deal if their supplier puts up their prices. This will put pressure on all suppliers to ensure they run their businesses efficiently to keep any impact on bills as low as possible."

When Npower announced its price rises, Ofgem told the supplier to "justify" to its customers why it was introducing one of the largest increases for years.

Energy price rises are likely to fuel inflation concerns.

Rising air fares and food prices helped to push up UK inflation to 1.6% in December, its highest rate since July 2014.

The only way to stop the price hike is to shop around, see what you could save by comparing energy suppliers today. Energylinx offer a free and impartial online comparison and switching service. If you would rather speak to one of our advisors, our call centre is open Monday to Friday 09:00 - 08:00, Saturday 09:00 - 17:00 and Sunday 10:00 - 17:00.




4m households to benefit from prepayment price cap

2017-02-08T15:34:28Z

The temporary price cap is one of the Competition and Market Authority's (CMA) remedies resulting from its two year investigation of the energy market. The cap will initially apply to over four million households who prepay for their energy, mostly with traditional prepayment meters, and are amongst those least able to benefit from competition. The levels of the cap vary for electricity and gas, by meter type and region.

(image) The temporary price cap is one of the Competition and Market Authority's (CMA) remedies resulting from its two year investigation of the energy market.

The cap will initially apply to over four million households who prepay for their energy, mostly with traditional prepayment meters, and are amongst those least able to benefit from competition.

The levels of the cap vary for electricity and gas, by meter type and region.

Ofgem estimates that many prepayment customers are likely to see reductions in their gas bill of around 10-15% from 1 April 2017 or around £80 a year based on a typical household's consumption.

Many prepayment customers who use electricity to heat their home such as those on Economy 7 meters will see their electricity bill fall, with reductions of around £80 a year based on a typical household's consumption.
The CMA found that prepayment meter customers face particularly high levels of detriment.

Competition among suppliers for prepayment customers is less developed than for those who pay by direct debit, cash or cheque. This means that there are fewer tariffs available to these customers and the tariffs that are available are generally more expensive.

Customers with prepayment meters are also more likely to be in vulnerable circumstances than those paying by other means.

The cap is due to expire at the end of 2020 when the roll out of smart meters is set to be completed, which will help prepayment meter customers in particular access better deals.

Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said:
"We want all consumers to enjoy the benefits of a more competitive energy market, regardless of their circumstances. Customers who prepay for their energy are denied the best deals on the market available to those using other payment methods. They are also more likely to be in vulnerable circumstances, including fuel poverty. This temporary cap will protect these households as we work to deliver a more competitive, fairer and smarter market for all consumers."




1.4m Npower Customers Face Price Hike

2017-02-03T15:27:35Z

Npower becomes the First of the "Big Six" Energy Suppliers to Announce a Price Increase in 2017. Npower has announced that, for the first time since October 2013, it is to increase a typical dual fuel annual energy bill by on average 9.8% or £109. This is made up of an average increase of 4.8% on gas and 15% on electricity and will affect the customers currently on the npower's standard tariff. The new charges will come into effect on 16th March and will impact approximately 50% (1.4m) of npower's customers. Half (1.4m) will not receive a price increase. This is because npower has a higher percentage of fixed-rate tariff customers than most large suppliers, and because pre-payment customers are not affected. Npower is also launching an exclusive four year fixed term tariff for current standard customers, where the exit fee has been waived in recognition for their loyalty. Today's increase includes a change to npower's standing charge of £55 for electricity. Npower becomes the First of the "Big Six" Energy Suppliers to Announce a Price Increase in 2017. Npower has announced that, for the first time since October 2013, it is to increase a typical dual fuel annual energy bill by on average 9.8% or £109. This is made up of an average increase of 4.8% on gas and 15% on electricity and will affect the customers currently on the npower's standard tariff. The new charges will come into effect on 16th March and will impact approximately 50% (1.4m) of npower's customers. Half (1.4m) will not receive a price increase. This is because npower has a higher percentage of fixed-rate tariff customers than most large suppliers, and because pre-payment customers are not affected. Npower is also launching an exclusive four year fixed term tariff for current standard customers, where the exit fee has been waived in recognition for their loyalty. Today's increase includes a change to npower's standing charge of £55 for electricity. Since npower last raised its prices three years ago, there have been increases in wholesale energy costs and rises in the cost of delivering government policies, such as smart metering, renewables obligation and the capacity market. This trend is set to continue, with network and policy costs representing an increasing share of domestic electricity bills. To provide certainty around future energy bills, fixed tariffs can provide reassurance for existing and new customers. Npower offers a range of fixed products to suit varying customer needs. These range from short and medium term fixed tariffs to the longest fix on the market, which fixes energy prices until 2021, with Super Fix March 2021. Simon Stacey, managing director domestic markets, said: "This is a hugely difficult decision, and we've delayed the date this takes effect until after the coldest months of the year. We've also made sure that our most vulnerable customers won't see any impact until May. Npower has some of the most engaged customers of any major supplier - one million of our customers switched to another of our tariffs last year and around half of our customers aren't on a standard variable tariff (SVT). To encourage even more engagement, today we're launching a fixed tariff just for our existing customers who are still on an SVT, that will fix energy prices for the next four years with no exit fees." "npower operates one of the broadest range of support schemes of any supplier, offering the widest and most diverse care programmes for vulnerable customers and those who are struggling with their energy bills. We're already delaying the impact of the increase for vulnerable customers, but anyone who is struggling with their energy bills should contact us straight away t[...]



Britain shouldn't fear an electricity blackout

2017-02-01T10:01:00Z

teve Holliday, the man who ran the National Grid for 10 years, has said that news stories raising fears about blackouts should stop as the UK has enough energy capacity to meet demand - even on the coldest days when demand is highest. His assurance is based on the government's latest auction of capacity for power generation, which starts later today. In it, companies will bid for subsidies to provide back-up power where and when needed. The stand-by plants will run for a few days a year during extreme conditions. Much of the back-up will be provided by old gas and coal plants that would otherwise be scrapped. Funded by the bill-payer, they will offer a sort of power insurance policy. Mr Holliday told BBC News: Steve Holliday, the man who ran the National Grid for 10 years, has said that news stories raising fears about blackouts should stop as the UK has enough energy capacity to meet demand - even on the coldest days when demand is highest. His assurance is based on the government's latest auction of capacity for power generation, which starts later today. In it, companies will bid for subsidies to provide back-up power where and when needed. The stand-by plants will run for a few days a year during extreme conditions. Much of the back-up will be provided by old gas and coal plants that would otherwise be scrapped. Funded by the bill-payer, they will offer a sort of power insurance policy. Mr Holliday told BBC News: "It's time for the headline of Blackout Britain to end - it's simply wrong. We've been talking about blackouts for 15 years every time it gets cold, but it's a scare story. "The lights haven't gone out yet and thanks to the measures the government is putting in place this week they definitely won't go out in future. The UK has one of the most stable supplies of electricity in Europe." The head of the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG), which represents firms that use a lot of energy, Jeremy Nicholson, has previously spoken out of fears about energy security but agrees the capacity auctions will secure supplies. He told BBC News: "The power industry makes a lot of noise about tight generating margins but somehow manages to provide plenty of capacity when it's needed. "The capacity issue is sorted now - frankly it should have happened 5-10 years ago. Our bigger concern now is the possibility that when margins are tight, the price will shoot through the roof." A spokesman for Energy UK, the body that represents power generators, was also confident about security of supply, saying: "We fully support the Capacity Market and we believe it will keep the lights on in Great Britain." The capacity auctions were originally due to supply back-up from 2018, but the government brought the scheme forward to cover next winter. Successful bidders in the auctions will receive a payment for keeping power stations available between November and February whether or not they are generating. Mr Holliday, who was chief executive of National Grid until July 2016, forecasts that all future talk of blackouts will stop by a revolution in flexible electricity, with customers using power when it is cheapest. One current weapon at National Grid's disposal is a contract for flexible supply with firms which don't manufacture continuously. The firms get compensated if they are asked to stop consuming power for a while during, say, a windless spell. Stories in the media have reported this as risky for UK Plc. But the EIUG disagrees. Mr Nicholson told BBC News: "Clearly firms can benefit from being incentivised to turn down their energy use if it doesn't affect their production. Firms needing continuous production don't turn off their power."[...]