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Energy Use is Falling Despite GDP Increase

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EiBI reports in its October issue that overall energy usage has declined from 196.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) in 1964 to 187.9 mtoe in 2014. At the same time GDP has gone up by almost 270%. Gas consumption is now also no higher than 30 years ago. Since 2005 overall nergy usage has fallen by 18%. Just in the past year energy sales fell by 6.6% despite GDP increase by 2.8%.

This is great news and proves that energy saving efforts can bring great results.

OFGEM is now widening the scope of their investingation into ScottishPower Customer Service Performance

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OFGEM’s investigation into ScottishPower opened in November 14 whether it is complying with the Standards of Conduct (SOC) (SLC 25C) of its gas and electricity supply licence and with the Gas and Electricity (Consumer Complaints Handling Standards) Regulations 2008 (‘Complaints Handling Regulations’). We are also investigating ScottishPower’s compliance with SLCs 27.17 and 27.18, in relation to final bills has now been widened.

For full details see OFGEM document at:

The investigation is considering whether ScottishPower is and has been complying with the SOC. Ofgem will assess whether ScottishPower has made it easy for consumers to contact them, whether they have acted promptly and courteously to put things right when they have made a mistake and whether they have ensured that customer service arrangements are fit for purpose.

Also investigated are: SLC 27.17 which requires suppliers to take all reasonable steps to send a final bill within 6 weeks of a domestic customer transferring or terminating the contract. SLC 27.18 requires suppliers to correct any errors in the final bill as soon as reasonably practicable where subsequent information becomes available to do so.

On 25 September 2015 Ofgem notified ScottishPower of a widening of the scope of the investigation to include further potential breaches of Complaint Handling Regulations 3, 4 and 5. These regulations relate to ScottishPower’s complaints handling procedures, obligations to record consumer complaints on receipt and obligations to record the handling of complaints.
The opening of this investigation does not imply that we have made any finding(s) about non-compliance.

Alongside the investigation, Ofgem has secured commitments from ScottishPower to take immediate action to resolve its billing issues, reduce its outstanding Ombudsman remedies, and to respond to all customer queries in a timely manner. The commitments are as follows:

1. Prompt responses to customer queries:

(i) ScottishPower is taking action to reduce call waiting times for customers contacting the company. ScottishPower has committed to reduce the average speed of answer (ASA) to 2 minutes by the end of January 2015;

(ii) ScottishPower will not achieve its target of an ASA of 2 minutes at the expense of worsening abandoned call rates; and

(iii) ScottishPower is committing to publish weekly data in a prominent position on ScottishPower’s website highlighting the amount of calls (both the percentage of total calls, and the actual number) that fall into each 10 minute call waiting time. For example the number of call waiting 0-10 minutes, 10-20 minutes, 20-30 minutes, and so on.

If ScottishPower fails to meet any of these commitments by the end of January 2015, they will cease all outbound telesales and face to face sales until such time that they meet and maintain these targets.

2. Outstanding late invoices:

For existing customers, ScottishPower will reduce any overdue live bills to 30,000 by the end of December 2014. If ScottishPower miss this target, they will cease all outbound telesales and face to face sales until such time that they meet and maintain this target.

3. Outstanding Ombudsman Remedies:

ScottishPower will resolve any overdue remedies from the Ombudsman Services: Energy.

More Businesses Buy Their Energy From Smaller Suppliers

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ELN reports: More businesses are choosing to buy their electricity and gas from outside the Big Six.

That’s according to the latest market share report from Cornwall Energy.

The rise is due to Britain’s energy markets becoming more competitive, the report states.

It adds recent new entrants to the market mean “more than 40 companies are now competing to meet the energy needs of British businesses”.

As a result, collective share of the business market held by the Big Six has dropped to below a fifth for gas and is nearly three quarters for electricity, it went on.

This is a great opportunity for energy brokers to direct you to a supplier right for you – contact Alpine Utilities today!

OFGEM Publishes Infographic On Bills, Prices and Profits

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OFGEM published last week an infographic on domestic energy figures, which can be downloaded on,%20prices%20and%20profits&dm_i=1QCB,3KLAU,F31ALJ,CTHBU,1
Accordingly 60% of people don’t recall switching energy supplier despite potential saving of £200 per annum for the avErage user (more for large users!).
While businesses are more likely to be engaged in the energy market than private customers, there is still a large proportion of SME businesses who don’t get the best deal available to them including 10% micro-businesses still on the excessive deemed rate.


OFGEM Factsheet For Microbusiness

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OFGEM has just published a factsheet titled: It’s now easier for micro-businesses to review their options at the end of a contract.
You can download it from
The main points which apply to micro-businesses are:
– Contract End date and termination notice date must be printed on all bills
– 60 days before the contract end date supplier must send you notice stating relevant dates, current rates, new rates and      annual consumption.
– Termination can be given at any time prior the notice period which is maximum 30 days.

OFGEM Published Details of Price-Control on DCC

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OFGEM published today a guidance of its price-control of the Data- and Communication Company who is commissioned to establish and manage the data and communications network to connect smart meters to the business systems of energy suppliers, network operators and other authorised service users of the network.
However, OFGEM, finds it is important that DCC receives sufficient funds to fulfil its role and deliver high quality services. It is equally important that we hold DCC to account for its costs, which are ultimately passed on to consumers. The price control mechanism under its Licence is designed to ensure that the costs DCC incurs to provide its services are economic and efficient.

Interesting, for DCC, OFGEM has got a price control mechanism, while energy suppliers are being accused of taking advantage of the free market and charging customers as they wish. While DCC cost will only make up a small fraction of the total energy bill, suppliers charges make up the bulk, and yet there is nothing stopping them to rip us off.

EON Issued P272/322 Briefing

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Eon just issued a new briefing regarding the changes surrounding profile 05-08 (MD) meters.
The main points are:

  • Eon will no longer accept any MD renewals with a renewal date after 5th November 15.
  • New MD contracts will be accepted but no more than 120 days in advance.
  • Customers with an AMR meter will have their meter (usually remotely) reconfigured to send half-hourly data.
  • Customers currently without an AMR meter will need to have their meter changed requiring an engineer visit arranged by the supplier.
  • Current Eon customers with a contract end date after 5th November 15 will continue on their current rate all the changes are in place to be expected in 2nd half of 2016. No termination required and you are free to change supplier if you wish.
  • Despite increased cost of supplying the electricity (due to increased government levies and distribution cost), these extra costs will not be passed on to the customers.
  • Customers will receive a letter outlining how these changes will affect them.

Ofgem confirms National Grid has tools to keep the lights on this winter

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What’s the outlook for the security of electricity supply in Ofgem’s latest analysis?
Capacity margins have been falling as many older coal and oil-fired power stations are closing due to age and European Environmental Regulations. Most of these plants have already closed and the rest will shut down by 2015 or earlier. Unprofitable gas fired power stations have also been closing or mothballing.

The margin is likely to be tighter than previously expected for winter 2015/16 due to further power station closures over the last year. However to manage lower margins Ofgem has given National Grid tools it can use to balance the electricity system if needed.

These tools allow National Grid to contract with generators and businesses to provide additional balancing services, outside the normal operation of the market. You can find out more about how National Grid does this, and view an infographic guide, in our section Electricity Security of Supply.

Using the tools National Grid has secured 2.56 gigawatts of additional balancing services for this winter. As a result National Grid projects a manageable margin for this winter at 5.1 per cent above demand.

There is uncertainty on the outlook in 2016/17, and a significant opportunity for industry to play a role in delivering security of supply, for example by returning mothballed plant to the market or improving the availability of their plant. Margins could also be boosted by higher imports from neighbouring countries.

National Grid will also consult on extending the additional balancing services for winter 2016/17. We think this is a prudent step.

We expect a reduction of the risks to security of electricity supply for 2017/18 due to plant returning to the market.

OFGEM Not Overly Impressed by British Gas’ Price-Cut

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Following British Gas’ announcement of a 5% price-cut OFGEM released the following statement:
Commenting on today’s gas price cut by British Gas Ofgem’s Senior Partner for Markets Rachel Fletcher said:

“We are pleased that British Gas’s most loyal customers are seeing some of the benefits from lower wholesale energy prices. However, the Competition and Markets Authority last week found that active consumers get a much better deal than those who don’t shop around.”

What is true for domestic consumers certainly applies to business customers.

2.56GW Standy Capacity Over Winter But Tight Forecast For Coming Years

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As reported by The Energyst National Grid is confident it has secured sufficient reserve capacity for the coming winter.
However there are warnings about future outlook for the coming years. National Grid says margins will be tight over the next few years but is still confident it has the tools to deal with even the toughest winter conditions.
Lord Redesdale on the other hand predicts blackouts and price rises of up-to 25% over the next year.
He says we waist 40% of the energy we use but would need to halve that to bring us below the point where we are going to have brownouts or blackouts.
While time has come for everyone to invest time and money in energy efficiency we would also recommend longer term electricity contract to protect you from likely price rises.