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David

Following The Recent Budget – No More Green Energy Contracts

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While some suppliers have offered in the past cost neutral green energy contracts this will no longer be the case.
With the chancellor’s announcement that green energy will no longer be exempt from Climate Change Levy, the extra cost of green energy can no longer be offset against the savings of the CCL.
I suppose suppliers have used this option to finance their renewables obligation, thus being of little benefit to the overall environment.

However I would like to know how suppliers are going to treat customers when the change takes place in mid-contract.

CMA report finds competition in the energy market is not working as it should.

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CMA has yesterday published it’s report of the energy market:

Roger Witcomb, Chairman of the energy market investigation, said among other points:

– There are millions of customers paying too much for their energy bills – but they don’t have to.

– Whilst competition is delivering benefits to increasing numbers of customers, mainly through the growth of smaller suppliers with cheaper fixed-price deals, the majority of us are still on more expensive default tariffs. Many customers do not shop around to see if there’s a better deal out there – let alone switch. The confusing way energy is measured and billed can make comparing deals understandably daunting.

While this relates to the domestic market, it also very much applies to commercial customers.
Far too many businesses just allow their contract to auto-renew with their current supplier or go onto a variable or even deemed rate.
Either way they can end up paying ££££’s more than necessary, which in a tight economic climate can weigh heavily onto their profit margins.

This report should serve as reminder to pass on copies of your current gas & electricity bills to your trusted energy broker.
Once received Alpine Utilities Ltd will analyse your bills and check whether immediate action needs to be taken or make a note on our diary to contact you nearer the time.

Cheaper off-peak electricity for business consumers

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OFGEM published yesterday a factsheet to outline what is happening and the benefits of P272. This can be accessed through https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/docs/2015/07/factsheet_131_cheaper_electricity_for_businesses_web_0.pdf

The idea is to charge customers more accurately for the time of use where peak times typically early evening costs more than off peak times when there is less demand and more renewable electricity available.

Any maximum demand smart meter that comes up for renewal after 5th November, will be half-hourly metered for 45 days and then charged accordingly.

While this arrangement should offer some savings to some larger business, it will be difficult to tender a supply for the most competitive offer, as the final prices will probably only be available long after the start the contract.
Alpine Utilities will request some further clarification on this point.

Cycling and walking ‘saves UK £1m a day’

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ELN reports: The UK economy has saved more than £1 million a day by cycling and walking.
The savings have been made as a result of improved health and reduced congestion, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

So just think of your own health and take out your bike to get to work; you’ll be doing everyone a favor.

When will your Maximum Demand meter change to HH

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OFGEM have now accepted industry concerns about the short time scale in implementing P272, the changeover of maximum demand electricity meters (profile 05 – 08) to Half Hourly.
OFGEM has therefore agreed to extend the implementation date to 1st April 2017.
However, in order to minimise the risk of change over in mid contract; any profile 05 – 08 acquisition or renewals from 5th November 2015 with advanced meters will have to move to HH within 45 days.
So for many MD customers the next time they renew their contract or change supplier they will be moved to HH.
We have yet to receive communication from the suppliers that any MD site with start date after 5th November will have to be quoted as HH.
We would also like confirm what prices will customers pay during the 45 transition period?
While OFGEM sees many benefits from the change we are somewhat concerned of the cost impact it will have on small businesses.
Alpine Utilities will monitor developments and seek to advice its many MD customers on the best options.

Third Gas Discovery in the Norwegian Sea

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ELN reports that Norway’s oil and gas firm Statoil has found more gas in the Norwegian Sea – we can only hope this will reduce gas prices even further.

Amber Rudd tells Big Six to cut energy prices & Energy customers ‘owe suppliers £503m – Is there a connection?

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As reported by Energy Live News:

Newly-appointed Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has written to British Gas, E.ON, EDF Energy, npower, SSE and ScottishPower asking them about their plans to cut gas and electricity bills.

The letter reportedly states: “In light of the greater regulatory stability we are providing and continued stability in wholesale gas prices, I believe energy suppliers should be seeking to regain the trust of consumers by reflecting this in their pricing decisions.”

Another newsbit reads: It revealed almost four million householders – 260,000 more than last year – are in debt to their energy suppliers, with the average debt at £130 – up from £128 last year.

uSwitch makes it clear:

Price comparison site uSwitch, which questioned more than 2,000 UK adults, is calling on suppliers to make “double-digit” tariff price cuts, “better reflecting the 25% reduction in wholesale gas and 18% cut in wholesale electricity costs in the 12-month period to winter 2015/16.

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com said: “Pre-payment meters were forcibly installed in almost 100,000 homes last year due to debt, yet our figures suggest this could be just the tip of the iceberg. This is evidence that energy has become totally unaffordable for millions of homes. Disposable incomes may be on the up but people are still under relentless pressure just to cover the cost of essential bills.

“Energy suppliers must urgently pass on double-digit reductions to their customers – many of whom have admitted to going cold this winter in an attempt to keep their bills down.”

An online survey suggests; 69% believe the Government is not doing enough to bring energy bills down.

Treatment of domestic households that do not use gas

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OFGEM has issued on Thursday an open letter outlining what they expect from suppliers in regards to dealing with residential customers who have a gas meter but don’t use any gas.

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/ofgem-publications/95007/treatmentofdomestichouseholdsthatdonotusegas-pdf

While all big 6 suppliers have adopted a fair policy at least towards vulnerable customers, OFGEM is urging smaller suppliers to follow suit.
This concerns primarily domestic consumers who usually pay a standing charge for a service they don’t use.
For commercial properties that don’t use any gas, we can offer no-standing charge contracts – individual circumstances with their future plans on using the premises should be discussed with our consultant.

Project NEXUS will be delayed

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OFGEM expressed its disappointment that the Project NEXUS which is meant to streamline the meter point administration for independent gas transporters IGTs will not be implemented by the proposed date of 1st October 2015.

It appears that the industry will not have their system upgrades ready and tested by that date.

This proves once again the complexity of the gas & electricity market, which is why it important to employ an energy broker with many years of experience.

 

OFGEM discusses TPI provision of face-to-face services

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On the 30th April OFGEM convened a roundtable discussion on the potential challenges to TPIs offering face-to-face services.

Is this a come-back to the much criticised and later withdrawn doorstep selling or has OFGEM recognised that there is nothing compared to face-to-face consultation?

They were addressing the need for people without internet access; but most comparison services do also have a callcentre where people can call and offered the cheapest supplier.

It appears that OFGEM and the stakeholders understand that consumers want to see all the options available while also be given expert advise on what to choose.

How should a customer know whether it’s worth paying £100 more a year for a 2-year fixed rate tariff, and what are the implication of the £30 exit penalty etc.?

While OFGEM discussed domestic customers, at ALPINE UTILITIES we always offer our commercial clients a list of options with a brief recommendation; the customer is then welcome to call us to discuss with our senior consultant what is best in the specific circumstances.