Water Deregulation In Full Flow

After just a week in the new competitive water market in England, almost 9,000 (8,876*) premises switched water supplier.

In addition to those who switched, many more contacted their existing water retailer to discuss and negotiate a better deal.

With some 20 water suppliers competing for business Cathryn Ross, Ofwat’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a really encouraging start – less than a week in and already we are seeing thousands of customers diving into the new water market. From multi-nationals to micro-businesses – customers are finding the deals that are right for them and they have the confidence to enter the market knowing there is strong oversight and effective protections in place.”

*Figure correct as at Friday 7 April 2017

Here's the latest on the energy price movements

Here's the latest on the price hikes..see how you stand..

Scottish Power's standard electricity prices will increase by an average of 10.8% and gas by 4.7% on 31 March.
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 rose by 8.4% on 1 March
British Gas is freezing its gas and electricity prices until August
E.On is increasing electricity prices by an average of 13.8%, and gas prices by 3.8%, on 26 April

Co-operative Energy takes over GB Energy customers accounts

Co-operative Energy has been appointed to take on GB Energy customer base after they ceased trading last week. They've been sending out letters explaining the situation as follows..
You may be aware that GB Energy Supply ceased trading this weekend after facing difficulties relating to rising wholesale energy costs.

I am pleased to be able to inform you that Co-operative Energy has reached an agreement with GB Energy and Ofgem to take over responsibility for your account, with effect from 30 November, and can reassure you that you will have continuity of service.

Co-operative Energy is part of The Midcounties Co-operative, the UK’s largest independent co-operative. You can read more about us here www.midcounties.coop.

I can assure you that there really is no need to worry as your supply will not be interrupted during this process and for the future.

What happens next?

We will honour your current contract and price until it is due to expire. This means you do not need to do anything and, rest assured, we will contact you again before your current contract ends with all the information you need and what to do next.

What happens to my Direct Debit? We are planning to arrange a transfer of your existing direct debit mandate over to Co-operative Energy in the next few weeks. There will be further communication on this in due course. Again, you do not need to do anything and please do not cancel your direct debit.

We will continue to run the business using the existing GB Energy systems supported by enhanced technology, as well as experienced former GB Energy employees and service providers, to minimise the disruption to you and to our
Co-operative Energy customers. We will also increase the number of customer service advisers to ensure we deliver the service you would expect.

Customer service enquiries will continue to be provided by the GB Energy team. As you can imagine we are experiencing a high level of enquiries and we will increase the number of customer service advisers to deliver the service you would expect.

Whilst inevitably there will be some upheaval during the initial transition period, please be patient with us and rest assured that your future supplies and any credit balances you have with GB Energy Supply are secure. Hopefully that's one less thing for you to worry about at this busy time.

You may have already visited the Ofgem website to understand what happens next. We have produced a list of FAQs on the GB Energy website (www.gbenergysupply.co.uk) to provide further details and reassurance.

We are developing more detailed plans, working closely with Ofgem, and we will contact you again before 15th December 2016 with an update on our progress.

In the meantime, please be reassured that it is business as usual.

Thank you in advance for your patience and we look forward to being your energy

GB Energy Cease Trading

It's just been announced that GB Energy have ceased trading.

There's no need to panic as you won't be cut off. However Ofgem have to appoint a new supplier to takeover the customer base.

It's highly unlikely you'll continue to receive gas and electricity at the same rates so we recommend you compare prices again and arrange your next switch.

You can do this by clicking on this link http://www.energylinx.co.uk/e2c/powerswitch/ or if you prefer call us on 0800 410 1264

(our service is free and Energywatch Accredited for impartiality)

Switch Online or by Phone | Monday to Thursday 9am - 8pm | Friday 9am - 6pm

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The gap between the best and worst utility companies is wider than it's ever been according to the latest Citizens Advice statistics.

Independent utilities supplier Extra Energy received eighty times more complaints than the best bix six supplier, SSE for the period between April and June.

Extra Energy received 1,791 complaints per 100,000 customers, which was even worse than its  of 1,682 complaints in the previous quarter.

SSE improved its service dropping to just over 22 complaints.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "The latest league table shows some suppliers are getting much better at sorting out their customers' problems, but it's disappointing to see others getting worse at dealing with complaints."

Co-Operative Energy and Scottish Power, also received more complaints than in the previous three-month period.making them the second and third worst in the league tables.

Co-Operative Energy had a ratio of 850 complaints, up from 819, and Scottish Power had more than 571, up from 558.

Extra Energy, which launched in 2014, apologised to customers and said it was now dealing with more complaints by the end of the next working day.

Ben Jones, the firm's managing director of operations, said: "These figures reflect historic customer service issues that occurred during a period of time where Extra Energy saw our number of customers expand rapidly and unfortunately some of these complaints have taken longer than expected to resolve.

"We apologise unreservedly to anyone who has not received the standard of service we expect of ourselves."

Competition & Markets Authority publishes key findings on UK Energy Market

..some key points: 

In the retail markets, the last few years have seen a sustained period of growth for new entrant suppliers outside of the Six Large Energy Firms, and their combined market share now stands at around 13% in both gas and electricity - the highest level reached since liberalisation.

..our survey results suggest that those who are on low incomes are far less likely to have engaged than those on high incomes, which undermines the argument that most customers do not take up available savings because they are not significant enough.  Some categories of customer – for example, those who do not have access to the internet, those who are on particular types of restricted meter, and prepayment customers – experience specific, material difficulties in shopping around and switching. However, for the majority of domestic customers, shopping around and switching is relatively easy - yet many of these customers have never considered engaging, either because it has not occurred to them or because they think it will be too much hassle.  We have found that large numbers of domestic customers do not engage in retail energy markets by shopping around or switching supplier. In our survey of 7,000 domestic customers, 34% of respondents said they had never considered switching supplier and 56% said they had never switched supplier, did not know if it was possible or did not know if they had done so.  Reflecting this widespread lack of engagement, around 70% of the customers of the Six Large Energy Firms currently pay the Standard Variable Tariff (SVT), which is the default tariff (ie the tariff customers pay if they have not made an active choice), despite the fact that SVTs are much more expensive than alternative tariffs. For example, the dual fuel SVT customers of the Six Large Energy Firms (excluding prepayment customers, who, as noted below, have a very restricted range of tariffs) could have made average annual savings of around £330 in mid- 2015 if they had switched to another supplier. 

Sharp Increase In SME Energy Prices

This week has seen continued sharp increases in the wholesale cost of Gas & Power resulting in widespread withdrawal of both Corporate and SME prices. Since last Monday Annual Gas prices have increased 18% and Power 11%.
These increases have been supported by an increase in Oil prices and colder than seasonal norm temperatures. There have also been a number of Gas outages which is compounding the issue and feeding in to the forward curve. Withdrawals have been made from Rough storage at a time of the year when we may have been injecting in to storage.

Within the Power market there have also been a number of outages; this combined with colder temperatures and lower output for Wind generators has caused upward pressure on prices.
 

Scottish Power Fined 18 Million Pounds

Scottish Power has been fined £18m for poor customer service issues.

Ofgem say the firm failed to treat its customers fairly, with inadequate call handling, complaint resolution and billing. Some 300,000 customers received late bills. 

The £18m will be paid to vulnerable customers and charity.

Ofgem said Scottish Power had improved its customer service and co-operated during the investigation but the penalty is the third-largest imposed by the regulator. It comes just months after Npower was ordered to pay £26m for sending out inaccurate bills and failing to deal with complaints correctly

Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan said: "Scottish Power let its customers down during the implementation of a new IT system. When things went wrong, it didn't act quickly enough to fix them. This created frustration and worry for many customers, who also wasted a lot of time trying to contact the supplier by phone.

"The £18m payment sends a strong message to all energy companies about the importance of treating consumers well at all times, including while new systems are put in place."

Neil Clitheroe, Scottish Power's head of energy retail and generation, said: "Scottish Power has worked with Ofgem throughout this investigation. We apologise unreservedly to those customers affected.

"In order to upgrade our old IT systems, we invested £200m on new technology to allow us to deliver smarter digital products and services to benefit our customers.

"During the complex transition between systems we encountered a range of technical issues. This led to an unacceptable increase in complaints and reduced the quality of our customer service.

"I gave a guarantee that no customer would be left out of pocket by these issues and we continue to compensate customers who have been affected."

Ofgem said that Scottish Power had improved its customer service since its investigation had begun.

It said the average call waiting time, the rate of abandoned calls and the number of Ombudsman cases had all more than halved. In addition, the number of late bills had fallen by three-quarters.

2500 Jobs To Go At Npower

Npower is slashing 2,500 jobs, more than a fifth of its UK workforce. Owned by the German energy giant RWE it employs 11,500 people in the UK and is one of the country's big six gas and electricity suppliers.

The company posted a loss of £48m for the first nine months of last year.
It has also lost about 200,000 UK customers and received the most complaints of the six biggest energy suppliers in 2015.

In December it was ordered to pay a settlement of £26m - the biggest payment ever demanded by UK energy regulators - for sending out inaccurate bills and failing to deal with complaints correctly.

One worker from the sales team said he was not surprised to hear that job losses are likely to be announced this week. He claimed that he had been told to look for other jobs since December, when the £26m settlement was ordered.

Iphone: Exclusive Deals From Carphone Warehouse

Carphone Warehouse have released five iPhone deals that are definitely worth shouting about!

iPhone 6 16GB
Web Exclusive
£50 No upfront cost
£32.49 per month
2GB Data
Using code “SMARTSAVE50”
http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2264&awinaffid=82023&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.carphonewarehouse.com%2Fbuy%2Fapple-iphone-6-16gb-ee728-vc1%2F20235900
 
iPhone 5s 16GB
Web Exclusive
£30 No upfront cost
£21 per month
2 GB Data
Using code “SMARTSAVE30”
http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2264&awinaffid=82023&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.carphonewarehouse.com%2Fbuy%2Fapple-iphone-5s-16gb-v862f-fconb%2F20199486
 
 
iPhone 6s 16GB
Web Exclusive
No upfront cost
£39 per month
5GB Data
http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2264&awinaffid=82023&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.carphonewarehouse.com%2Fbuy%2Fapple-iphone-6s-16gb-n675-wcon%2F20236063
 
iPhone 6s 64GB
Web Exclusive
£50 No upfront cost
£42.50 per month
1 GB Data
Using code “SMARTSAVE50”
http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2264&awinaffid=82023&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.carphonewarehouse.com%2Fbuy%2Fapple-iphone-6s-64gb-n661-vc1%2F20235885
 
 
iPhone 6s+ 16GB
Web Exclusive
£50 No upfront cost
£49 per month
5 GB Data
Using code “SMARTSAVE50”
http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2264&awinaffid=82023&clickref=&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.carphonewarehouse.com%2Fbuy%2Fapple-iphone-6s-plus-16gb-n679-vc1%2F20235890

UK energy customers switching up 15%

 

The number of houses switching their energy provider in Great Britain rose by 15% in 2015, Ofgem confirmed that 6.1m gas and electricity accounts had switched supplier or tariff during the year; that's about 800,000 more than in the previous year.

"It's encouraging to see switching levels at their highest level for four years," said Ofgem's Rachel Fletcher.

The big six energy companies have all cut prices for their gas customers this year by at least 5.1%, but there have been no reductions to electricity tariffs. However independent suppliers like GB Energy continue to undercut the major brands in the market.
The average saving for householders using PowerSwitch.com has been £364 a year based on switches made in 2016.
For 10% of people, they were saving as much as £567 a year. Compare supplier and switch online in 5 minutes here

Wholesale Energy Prices Lowest for Five Years

Wholesale energy in the UK have dropped to a five-year low point.

The main drivers have been a mild winter and lower global commodity prices like Oil.

Pressure is now mounting on the UK's big six energy suppliers to cut their prices to reflect the lower wholesale costs in the market

The wholesale price for gas fell by 34% over 2015, while the price for electricity fell by 23%.

We're seeing some of the lowest business energy retail prices since 2007 on our website but the residential suppliers have lagged behind so far.

Npower Fined The Highest So Far at 26 Million Pounds

Npower has just topped the table in terms of fines levied by OFGEM. Not exactly something to be proud of but here's the latest state of play:

Ofgem gets tough: Biggest penalties for energy suppliers
Supplier Penalty Reason
Npower £26m Complaints failure. Dec 2015
E.On £12m Broke energy sales rules. May 2014
British Gas £11.1m Failure to insulate homes. Dec 2014
SSE £10.5m Mis-selling. May 2013
E.On £7.75m Overcharging customers. April 2015
E.On £7m Smart meter failure. November 2015
British Gas £5.6m Preventing switching. April 2014
British Gas £2.5m Mishandling complaints. July 2011
Scottish Power £2.4m Failure to insulate homes. Dec 2014
Npower £2m Mishandling complaints. Oct 2011
SSE £1.75m Failure to insulate homes. Dec 2014
Source: Ofgem
 

Solar Panel Payments finally cut

Subsidies for small scale solar electricity panels on homes are to be cut, the government has announced, although by less than expected.

The payback will be cut by 64%, although this is less than the previous proposal of an 87% slash in payments which would have damaged the industry even more.

The cuts have been softened following a storm of criticism.

The government says large-scale solar farms are cost-competitive, but the sector says it is being forced to stand on its own feet before it is ready.

The industry is still concerned about a new government cap on the volume of solar installations. Check out the latest install costs and payment incentives here

Utility Warehouse wins three awards from Moneywise

Utility Warehouse has won THREE more awards – this time from Moneywise, the UK's leading consumer finance magazine.

Moneywise surveyed their readers and honoured them with their awards for:

Most Recommended Bundle Provider – Broadband, Landline and Mobile
Best Customer Service – Gas & Electricity
Best Value for Money – Gas & Electricity

A Utility Warehouse spokesperson stated 'this reinforces our commitment to becoming 'the Nation's most trusted utility supplier – the one you'd recommend to your mum!'  For more information on Utility Warehouse click here.

New business electricity metering laws come into force

Do you have a business? Are you aware of P272?

The energy industry is getting ready for a major change in the way some meter profile classes are going to be billed, with the change taking effect in April 2017. Yet, a recent survey commissioned by Npower claims that 81% of British retailers are unaware of upcoming legislation P272.

In brief, the regulation will mean changes to how energy is measured and billed for businesses across the UK. With medium users of electrical energy being obliged to update their metering systems to the same systems which are commonly used for larger electricity users.

What is P272?

In the name of upgrading the electricity market, P272 is the name of a piece of OFGEM regulation. P272 requires that all maximum demand meters (Profile class 05-08) who have an AMR (Automatic Meter Reading) meter fitted will need to be settled on actual Half Hourly (HH) consumption data in the same way that Half Hourly meters (profile 00) are currently settled. Currently settlement occurs using an industry wide forecast that is pre-determined in order to allocate electricity volumes to each supplier.

When will this happen?

Originally proposed in 2011 and after several modifications, P272 was approved by OFGEM in Oct 2014 stating that the deadline for the switchover to HH settlement is on April 1st 2017.

How will this affect you?

Any business with metering profiles of 05, 06, 07 or 08 will be affected. Many suppliers have already begun offering new quotes for all concerned customers who are HH settled. If you are unsure of what your meter number is then you can find this on your meter. If the number starts with 05, 06, 07 or 08 then P272 effects your business.

What will change?

Users who are currently settled by profiles already have meter installation, maintenance and reading costs included in their bills meaning they don't require addition meter charges or side contracts. The P272 will see the introduction of new contractual costs.

How will it benefit you?

Metering data in Half-Hourly intervals ensures your electricity bills will be more representative of your site's actual power consumption, meaning you will be able to more accurately match your tariffs to your actual usage. The enhanced accuracy of the data allows for the more efficient and flexible management of energy. Using HH data, the more advanced suppliers with the ability to forecast demand will be in a better position to reduce supply costs and overall operational costs.

What does this mean for my energy costs?

The processes around P272 will mean energy usage is measured based on half-hourly readings, this will allow suppliers to price contracts based on actual consumption patterns and will therefore provide businesses with an invoice that better reflects the actual cost of their energy. This is good news, as it means electricity rates should be much more representative of market rates. If you use lots of energy in low demand periods then your rates will reflect this. Of course if you have a heavy on-peak use profile the opposite will be true.

How do I comply?

If you are in the affected groups you will need to appoint a Meter Operator (MOP) before April 1st 2016 and Data Collector (DC) to maintain and run your meters - this means, those effected, need to arrange their initial half-hourly data collection and meter operator contracts. However, the energy supplier will do all the work to switch the meter over to half hourly readings

Scottish Power comes out worst

Scottish Power has been rated worst for customer service in a ranking of the UK's biggest brands.

The energy supplier had the lowest rating of 100 brands, with just 59% of the 3,500 consumers questioned in the Which? survey rating it positively.

Customers reported "useless service and unhelpful standardised replies".

The Which? survey found that Scottish Power's competitor npower was not rated much more highly at 61%.

Other energy sector firms also performed badly, with SSE managing the top score of 74%, followed by British Gas and EDF Energy (both 71%).

Telecoms giants BT (63%), TalkTalk (64%), Vodafone (66%) and EE (68%) also had a "worrying trend" of poor performance.

In reply Scottish Power said: 

"Last year all our customer accounts were migrated on to a new IT system, which resulted in a very busy period as disappointingly we experienced more problems with the new system than we would have liked.

"The new system is very important as it ensures that Scottish Power customers will be able to take full advantage of all the benefits we anticipate from the roll-out of smart meters in the coming years, and it will allow us to continue adding innovative features to make it easier for customers to manage their accounts.

"To restore our service we have recruited 500 additional customer advisers to our UK call centres and, since the survey was conducted, our average speed of answer has improved by 72% from 193 seconds in 2014 to 54 seconds over the last three months and we have also seen a 50% reduction in our regulated complaints."

4 Great Mobile Phone Offers Launched By Carphone Warehouse Online

iPhone 6 16GB:
 
O2 £32.50 a month
Unlimited minutes & texts
1GB Data
Use code – SMARTSAVE to remove the full £29.99 RRP
 
[More Info]
 
iPhone 6 16GB:
 
Vodafone £29 a month
Unlimited minutes & texts
2GB Data
Was £129.99 upfront now just £59.99
 
[More Info]
 
Samsung Galaxy S6 32GB:
 
O2 £32.50 a month
Unlimited minutes & texts
1GB Data
Was £99.99 upfront and now FREE
 
[More Info]
 
Samsung Galaxy S6 32GB:
 
Vodafone £32.50 a month
Unlimited minutes & texts
2GB Data
Was £99.99 upfront and now FREE
   

[More Info]