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David

Spark Energy Is The Latest To Go – Who Is Next

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Spark Energy Supply Ltd is the latest small supplier to cease trading, after Extra Energy the 2nd in just a week.

This sparks the debate: are small suppliers viable? Is it worth signing up with a small supplier?

For domestic customers there isn’t that much on stake. OFGEM will now find an alternative supplier of last resort who offers to take on the failed supplier’s customers.

OFGEM’s message reads: ”

Our message to energy customers with Spark is there is no need to worry, as under our safety net we will make sure your energy supplies are secure and your credit balance is protected.

“Ofgem will now choose a new supplier and ensure you get the best deal possible. Whilst we’re doing this our advice is to ‘sit tight’ and don’t switch. You can rely on your energy supply as normal. We will update you when we have chosen a new supplier, who will then get in touch about your new tariff.

“Although we have seen a number of supplier failures this year, our safety net procedures are working as they should to protect customers.”

It’s a different story with commercial customers: The new chosen supplier will take on the failing supplier’s customers, but unless they offer to honor the previous supplier’s contracts, their new tariff offered maybe anything but competitive.

Changing supplier will place customers on the excessive deemed rate until the switch is complete.

OFGEM are now running a consultation on their proposal to increase the tests before granting a license to a new supplier. It remains to be seen whether this will improve matters and we will stop seeing suppliers going out of business on a regular basis.

So, our advise to customers considering their renewal is: Unless the savings are substantial, go for an established supplier that has been around for many years with a good customer service track record.

Alpine Utilties Ltd will advise to the best of our knowledge with every quote if the cheapest supplier offered belongs to that category.

Ofgem proposes new tests for licensing energy suppliers

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OFGEM started a consultation on strengthen the criteria they use to assess supply licence applications for new entrants in the energy supply market.

This follows the collapse of a number of smaller suppliers over the past year(s) and failure of some others to provide adequate customer service.

In response to OFGEM’s supplier licensing review we have requested that robust testing of any new billing system should become mandatory before allowing it to go live as upgrades have in the past created many problems and untold misery to customers for several months.

Renewal Never Applied

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Recently a customer sent us an electricity bill charged at the variable rate. A quick check revealed that a contract had been renewed back in November last year.

Alpine Utilities contacted the supplier who apologized for the error and promised to re-bill the customer.

This incident highlights the pitfalls energy customers can fall into.

Alpine Utilities always requests to receive the first bill of any new/renewal contract for free validation. As most customers rarely spot any issues utility brokers are in a much better position to find and rectify any errors.

BG Changes VAT Status At Renewal

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Customers who paid the reduced VAT rate and no CCL during the 1st contract term, may find this changed at the contract renewal.

Customers are therefore advised to check the VAT rate after a contract renewal and should contact the supplier if the discount has no longer been applied.

Alpine Utilities Ltd encourages its clients to send in the first bill after a renewal or change of supplier for FREE validation.

Alpine Utilities Ltd will also assist the customer with any issues relating the implementation of the energy contract.

OFGEM Info On Third-Party FIT Ownership

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OFGEM has published today an information leaflet regarding third-party FIT ownership.

This may be relevant to homeowners with solar panels installed and owned by another company.

The info can be found on https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/system/files/docs/2018/10/third_party_ownership_under_the_fit_scheme.pdf

Opus Delays CSD For Renewal Contracts

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It has come to our attention that Opus Energy will only start a renewal contract 30 days late if no termination has been received.

Why should the customer continue to pay expensive variable (out-of-contract) rate once a new contract is in place, just because the previous contract has not been terminated?

David Lande, Senior Consultant of Alpine Utilities comments: Such a policy is unheard of and unacceptable and we will escalate the matter to the highest level.

Small Users Can Still Pay Higher VAT Rate & CCL

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While domestic customers only pay 5% VAT on fuel and no Climate Change Levi, Business customers pay 20% and an element for CCL.

Small business users, however, are treated like domestic customers as are supplies for non-business use.

Yet some small businesses still end up paying the full rate if they happen to use an average of 145kwh of gas or 33kwh electricity over a billing period. This often happens to small businesses using most of their consumption during winter for heating or hot summer for air conditioning.

Looking at the whole of annual consumption would certainly be a fairer system.

Does OFCOM Make An End To Nuisance Calls?

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We are all familiar with the ever increasing nuisance calls showing a number and when you try to call back the number doesn’t exist.
This practice is now coming to an end.
With effect from 1st October 18 all callers will need to forward an actual existing number. So no more hiding behind anonymity.
Coupled with a new law to fine company directors personally for breaches in calling numbers registered with TPS, that should greatly reduce the number of nuisance calls we receive.
Calls originating from the far east have yet to be tackled.

Privacy Policy Published

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In line with GDPR requirements, we have now published our privacy policy available at http://www.alpineutilities.co.uk/privacy-policy/

If you have any further queries, please contact us on our usual contact details.

Eon Pass On RO & CfD charges

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Eon has communicated that they will pass on Renewable Obligations (RO) and Contract for Difference (CfD) charges no longer paid by Energy Intensive Industries (EII) to all non EII customers.

The new legislation came into force in November 17 for CfD and April 18 for RO.

In line with their T&C’s they are allowed to pass on these costs to their non-EII customers once the exact figures are known. While other suppliers incorporated the expected cost in their quotes eon choose to give their customers a costly surprise.

I  also fail to understand the logic as to why the government places the burden of the EII discounts on to other energy customers rather than the general tax payers.