October 21, 2016
Nearly 400,000 (376,511) households switched electricity supplier in September 2016. This is a 21% increase compared to September 2015; and brings the total number of switches to over three million (3,377,317) so far this year.
Energy UK's latest electricity switching data also shows that over 70,000 customers switched to a smaller supplier last month. This is 19% of all switches.
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said:
"I urge everyone to spend a few minutes to make sure they are on the best deal before winter hits. Join millions of people that have already saved hundreds of pounds so far in 2016. Deals are coming to an end every month so don't miss out on over 100 deals under £1,000.
The energy market is more competitive than it has ever been. With over 40 suppliers in the market and with the Energy Switch Guarantee in place customers should reap the benefits."
If you're on one of the following tariffs then it will end on the 31st of October:
• Co-operative Energy Fair & Square October 2016 - Paperless
• First Utility Energylinx Collective Switch October 2016 - Paperless
• First Utility iSave Fixed October 2016 (v28) - Paperless
• First Utility iSave Fixed October 2016 - Paperless
• First Utility iSave Fixed October 2016 v2 - Paperless
• First Utility The Big Deal October 2016 - Paperless
• Flow Energy Connect 2 - Paperless
• Flow Energy Connect 3 - Paperless
• npower Fixed Energy Online October 2016 - Paperless
• npower Online Price Fix October 2016 - Paperless
• Sainsbury's Energy Fixed Price October 2016 - Paper and Paperless
• Sainsbury's Energy Price Freeze October 2016 - Paper and Paperless
• Sainsbury's Energy Price Promise October 2016 - Paper and Paperless
• ScottishPower Online Fixed Price Energy October 2016 - Paperless
Posted on October 21, 2016 at 01:40 PM
October 6, 2016
A brief recap of what's been happening in the energy industry over the last 7 days.
Loyal Energy Customers Left out from Cheapest Tariffs (Saturday 1st October)
Four of the "Big Six" energy suppliers won't put existing customers on their cheapest tariffs. With the lowest priced deals only being available to new customers. In some cases the deals for existing customers are hundreds of pounds more a year. The four companies, E.ON, EDF, SSE and British Gas said they were simply responding to changes in the market.
While the British Gas tariff has now been withdrawn, other suppliers are still restricting their offers to new customers only.
Such deals were originally banned by the regulator Ofgem in April 2014. Following a recommendation from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in April this year, Ofgem let it be known it would no longer enforce these rules.
Ken Geddes, the chief executive of Energylinx, the largest energy price comparison business in the UK was "gob-smacked" on finding out how large the difference in cost new customers pay in comparison to existing customers.
Mr Geddes tested a new-customer-only tariff from E.ON, launched in mid-September.
He first applied as an E.ON customer and then as a customer of another company. The difference in the two prices he got from E.ON was £260.
"Having spent over a decade doing this job, I don't think I've ever seen that differential", Mr Geddes told the BBC. "I'm just gob-smacked as to the difference in price".
Not all major energy suppliers plan to offer such tariffs.
Scottish Power's Colin McNeil, Commercial Director:
"These tariffs must stop. We must recognise that we are still not a trusted industry, and perceived sharp practices do the industry no favours."
"Any of our customers can switch freely to any of our tariffs at any time."
The four energy companies which have offered the new-customer only tariffs, E.ON, EDF, SSE and British Gas, all say that they are responding to changes in the energy market and that their new tariffs are part of a strategy to serve a wide range of customers.
Ofgem's chief executive Dermot Nolan said that Ofgem had acted on the CMA's recommendation "to make energy competition more similar to telecoms because on the whole that will mean lower prices and better deals for consumers"
Prime Minister Sets Out Energy Retail Intervention Plans (Wednesday 5th October)
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference today, the prime minister pledged that the government "can and should be a force for good, that the state exists to provide what individual people, communities and markets cannot, and that we should employ the power of government for the good of the people."
May continued "That's why where markets are dysfunctional, we should be prepared to intervene. Where companies are exploiting the failures of the market in which they operate, where consumer choice is inhibited by deliberately complex pricing structures, we must set the market right."
The point being that it's just not right that two thirds of energy customers in the United Kingdom are stuck on the most expensive standard tariffs.
This builds on comments earlier in the party conference from business and energy secretary Greg Clark, who said the government "will act" on the £2 billion of consumer detriment outlined by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) "in the next few weeks and months".
The PM's comments follow rumours that the government plans to extend price caps after the CMA recommended a transitional price cap for prepayment customers until the completion of the smart meter rollout.
Fracking Approved by UK Government (Thursday 6th October)
Horizontal fracking can go ahead, the government has said, in a landmark ruling for the UK shale gas industry.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has approved plans for fracking at Caudrilla's Preston New Road site in Lancashire.
A second site, Roseacre Wood, has not yet been given the green light amid concerns over the impact on the area.
It means, for the first time, UK shale rock will be fracked horizontally, which is expected to yield more gas.
Environmentalists and local campaign groups reacted angrily to the decision, with Friends of the Earth campaigner Pollyanna Steiner calling it a "betrayal of local people".
"Fracking goes against everything we need to do to tackle climate change. The government must end its fixation with dirty fossil fuels and focus instead on harnessing the UK's huge renewable energy resource."
In 2011, all fracking was suspended in the UK after it caused earthquakes near Blackpool. The ban was lifted in 2012. It is not the first time fracking has been approved since the ban was lifted - but it is the first to involve horizontal drilling.
In horizontal fracking, the well is turned horizontally at depth to extract gas from a layer - or layers - of shale rock.
It is seen as far more productive than conventional vertical drilling, which goes directly through the seam and reaches a smaller area.
Posted on October 6, 2016 at 01:09 PM
September 23, 2016
In a response to customer feedback calling for more transparency, simpler billing and greater convenience, ScottishPower are using new technology to put customers in control of their energy spend.
Simplifying the way customers purchase gas and electricity, the energy supplier will be launching 'PowerUp'. Using a model similar to how people fill up their cars at the petrol station, for the first-time ever, consumers will be able to purchase 'days' of gas and electricity, with an app that allows them to keep an eye on their gauge, to manage their usage.
PowerUp allows customers to buy fuel in packages from one day to a month, up to 180 days, upfront at a set price. Customers will track their usage via a new app, allowing them to easily understand their total spend in relation to what they use and how much they pay on a daily basis. There will be no 'standing charges' for customers paying via PowerUp, so if no energy is used on a given day, no charges will be applied.
PowerUp will initially be exclusively available to ScottishPower customers, from early October 2016.
Neil Clitheroe, Global Retail Director said:
"Energy bills can be complicated, with customer research showing that 6 in 10 people don't fully understand how their bill is calculated. Kilowatt hours, therms and calorific values are not terms that are easy to understand. Energy bills have consistently been voted the most confusing bills that consumers receive.
Currently most people either pay a flat amount each month by direct debit or receive a quarterly bill in arrears. Either way there is very little connection between actual energy usage and how much a customer pays. Both of these factors have helped contribute to many customers feeling disengaged from their energy usage and indeed their energy supplier.
But filling up a car at the petrol station is different. When we top up, we don't tend to think about the 40 litres of unleaded in the tank - instead we think about the £50 that it has cost and how long it will last. Yet we all know that if we travel a bit further or faster than usual, that it will last a bit less than usual. Our fuel gauge then keeps us right in terms of when we next need to top up. Customers are far more engaged with efficiently managing their petrol consumption, and we think that will work for gas and electricity at home.
PowerUp is the start of the age of personalised tariffs, and will use real consumption data to calculate a personal daily price. We believe it will encourage customers to be more conscious of their energy usage, because they will want to make their days last longer."
The launch of PowerUp reinforces ScottishPower's commitment to ensuring that existing customers get access to the best tariffs and products. PowerUp packages will include ScottishPower's most competitive prices, and the 'Big Six' supplier will consider when PowerUp will be launched to the wider market.
Posted on September 23, 2016 at 11:25 AM
September 14, 2016
When a customer falls in to debt with their energy supplier, the supplier can force them on to a pre-payment meter and then charge them up to £900 for the installation.
Energy regulator, OFGEM, has now said that customers who are forced to install prepayment energy meters should be charged a maximum fee of £150. A proposal that has been welcomed by consumer charity, Citizens Advice.
Who does this apply to
As many as 4.5 million people use prepayment meters for electricity, while 3.5 million use them for gas.
Prepayment customers also face higher energy bills. Earlier this year the Competition and Markets Authority recommended that customers on prepayment meters should have their energy prices capped. This will come in to effect in April 2017 and households are expected to save £75 a year as a result.
At the moment, energy suppliers must come to an agreement with a customers that fall into debt. If no arrangement is sorted, then the energy supplier can apply to a magistrate's court for a warrant to install a prepayment meter. If given permission to install the meter then, by law, they can charge for the cost of putting it in. Some suppliers don't charge anything but others can charge as much as £900 when the court costs are included.
The New OFGEM Proposal
OFGEM have suggested that customers who've had a repayment meter forced upon them, should only pay between £100 and £150. The most vulnerable customers, many of whom this applies to, should not pay anything.
Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice said of the announcement
"Capping the warrant charges and ending them altogether for vulnerable customers will help to stop people being pushed further into debt when they are already struggling to manage their costs"
Rachel Fletcher, OFGEM's senior partner for consumers and competition comments:
"It's deeply unfair that struggling customers get hit with high warrant costs when they're already grappling with debt, doubly penalising them. Ofgem's role is to protect every consumer, including the most vulnerable. Suppliers need to help customers manage their debts.
Suppliers need to ensure that PPMs are only installed under warrant as an absolute last resort. Where they are needed, our proposals will protect customers by limiting PPM warrant charges for all customers and removing them for the most vulnerable."
You should be aware that if you're in debt with your current supplier then you can still switch energy suppliers, as long as the debt in less than £500. To find out more about your options call one of our advisers on: 01259 220000. You can also arrange a switch online. Energylinx offer a free and impartial comparison and switching service.
Posted on September 14, 2016 at 02:55 PM
August 31, 2016
There is a new trend emerging in the energy industry, as the UK's "Big Six" Energy Suppliers start to claw back customers from their smaller rivals.
Figures from trade group EnergyUK show that the percentage of switchers moving from a large to a small supplier fell in June to the lowest numbers since March 2015. It's thought that independent suppliers are struggling to cope with more than 20% recovery in prices for winter since April.
With commodity prices bouncing back, the discount that smaller supplier can offer against the bigger suppliers is shrinking and several small suppliers have now put their energy prices up to cover their wholesale costs.
In 2015, wholesale energy prices dropped as much as 30% and small energy suppliers took advantage of this as they were able to slash tariffs. Large suppliers typically buy a few years ahead, locking in prices over a longer period, meaning they can't cut average prices as quickly.
As a result, data from EnergyUK showed that customers rushed to find better-priced deals. In March 2016 a record 206,419 customers switched from a large to a small supplier. A trend that has started to reverse.
In July, RWE won more than 200,000 new British customers, returning its customer base to end-2015 levels. SSE, the UK's second-biggest supplier reduced customers to 50,000 between March and June, from 90,000 lost over the same period last year.
Analyst at Morgan Stanley have a warning for smaller suppliers:
"Over the next few years, after the recent increase in commodity prices, the prevailing conditions may not be so helpful. We expect the independent suppliers to be a lasting phenomenon, but we suspect that it may get tougher for them to continue taking market share as they have done since 2013".
The bank added that small suppliers have also been exempt from many of the environmental charges levied against the largest suppliers in the market, and have avoided the billing issues suffered by suppliers including Npower and Scottish Power.
There is a simple way of finding out which energy supplier could save you the most money and it only takes two minutes. Energylinx is an OFGEM accredited comparison website that compares every energy tariff on the market - ensuring that you don't miss out on the best deal. Click here to be taken to our impartial and free comparison and switching tool.
Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:42 PM
August 15, 2016
Energy suppliers have been ordered to refunds thousands of gas customers affected by a meter reading error.
This mistake has been caused by energy companies confusing older imperial meter measurements with modern metric ones and it is believed several thousand households have been overcharged.
An OFGEM spokesperson told the BBC that they have written to all energy suppliers to identify any customers that this mistake may affect and to arrange refunds where appropriate. In the cases where customers have been undercharged there will be no further payment.
OFGEM said the mistake had been caused by human error with E.ON being the first supplier to become aware of the problem. The energy suppliers said they had overcharged 350 of their customers. However, other companies may also have been affected. Suppliers have been ordered to identify any customers who have been overcharged by Friday this week.
Industry sources told the FT that some people may have underpaid by 60% as a result of the error but those who were overcharged may have paid in excess of 130% more than they should have.
Trade body Energy UK said firms were "working hard" to address the issue.
The trade association, which represents the major energy companies, said "detailed analysis" showed" an extremely small number of accounts" had been affected.
"Any customer affected will be contacted shortly by their supplier and where there has been overcharging, a refund will be issued as quickly as possible," it added.
Posted on August 15, 2016 at 04:19 PM
August 10, 2016
During the school holidays, UK households are less likely to switch their energy supply - not this summer!
Over 300,000 (333,653) people switched electricity supplier in July, which is a record high for July and a 22% increase from July 2015. This brings the total number of electricity switches to over two and a half million (2,658,437) so far in 2016.
July's data shows 76,174 customers switched to small and mid-tier suppliers in July, which is 23% of all switches.
Movement between Supplier Groups
• 42% of switches were between larger suppliers; British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE.
• 35% of households switching left a larger supplier to go to a small or mid-tier energy supplier.
• 13% of switches were from small to mid-tier suppliers to larger suppliers.
• 10% of switches were between small and mid-tier suppliers
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK said:
"It is fantastic to see customers shopping around over the summer months when energy bills are the last thing on the minds of most people. More than 40 suppliers are offering some great deals especially for those who haven't switched for several years and could potentially save hundreds of pounds. It is easy, safe and quick to switch supplier and the new Energy Switch Guarantee is designed to increase customer confidence in the process."
Wondering what you could save on your energy bills, look no further. Energylinx offer a free and impartial comparison and switching service. Unsure how to arrange the transfer online? Our excellent advisors will go through the transfer for you, just call 01259 220000. Our new opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-5pm.
Posted on August 10, 2016 at 12:53 PM
August 4, 2016
On the back of the two-year CMA investigation in to the gas and electricity market, OFGEM has announced new plans designed to increase competitiveness and make the energy market fairer for all.
According to the CMA's investigation, two thirds of households are paying over the odds for their energy compared to those who have switched suppliers. It warned that as much as 70% of customers were on the more expensive "default" standard variable tariff.
The investigation ended in June and Energylinx think it's great to see OFGEM quickly taking forward the CMAs recommendations to increase competition and reach people who aren't engaged in the market.
By introducing a cap on prepayment meters, the first of OFGEMs changes should save four million UK households around £75 a year. This will begin in April and will end in 2020.
In an attempt to engage customers who don't regularly compare and switch their energy tariff, the regulator will also be trialling more effective prompts to encourage customers to switch.
Proposals include working with suppliers to help "disengaged" customers shop around. As part of this OFGEM has revealed plans to pilot a database service in 2017, which will allow rival suppliers to offer those customers on standard variable rates for three years, better value deals.
OFGEM has plans to roll out smart meters to every household in the UK by 2020, and to make switching suppliers faster and easier and drive down energy bills.
Is it enough?
Whilst any shake-up of the energy industry is welcomed, many have questioned whether this is enough to encourage customers who just aren't bothered about switching their gas or electricity supplier.
Consumers are frequently told of the benefits of switching energy supplier. They hear it from the government, consumer groups, energy suppliers, and energy comparison websites. Yet, for the majority this falls on deaf ears.
"The Disengaged" as CMA refers to them, tend to be on low incomes, have few qualifications, are tenants or are aged over 65. So, pensioners all around the country and those struggling to make ends meet, aren't engaging with the industry. They aren't doing the one simple thing that could have a massive impact on their energy bills and the latest OFGEM report has been criticised for "not going far enough" for them.
Ed Kamm, managing director of First Utility, told the BBC that one problem with the proposals was that they were 'helping those who already shop around and doing little to properly help those who are continuing to pay much more than they need to or should'.
Whilst Which? Welcomed OFGEMs report, they acknowledged the difficulty in establishing the proposals.
Alex Neill, Which? Director of Policy and Campaigns, said:
"After two years of investigation into the energy market it's now time for action, so it's good to see OFGEM swiftly taking forward the CMAs recommendations to increase competition and reach people who are not engaged in the market.
The regulator faces a huge challenge in implementing all of these recommendations in a way that stimulates competition to deliver better outcomes for many more consumers. For this to happen the industry will need to commit to working with the regulator to ensure people get a fairer deal on their energy."
Energy UK agrees that customers need to be at the heart of what the industry does. In a statement, it said:
"Over two million customers have switched (energy supplier) in 2016 so far. There are now 44 suppliers in the market, offering different tariffs for different needs. Prices are now £200 cheaper than in 2014 with over 40 deals under £900."
Without sounding like a broken record, Energylinx recommend that to benefit from a competitive market, you need to compare energy suppliers. Energylinx offer a free and impartial energy comparison and switching service - you will be amazed at what you can save.
Posted on August 4, 2016 at 10:25 AM
July 19, 2016
Energylinx is one of twelve OFGEM accredited price comparison websites. Every comparison site that is accredited by OFGEM is governed by the regulators Confidence Code. This is a set of key principles that members must follow to operate their service.
OFGEM carry out checks of all its Confidence Code members to ensure that they continue to operate to their standards. One of these checks takes the form of an annual website audit, the last audit took place in April 2016 with Energylinx meeting or exceeding every requirement across the board.
The audit looks at three key areas; impartiality, pricing and that Energylinx offers customers a comparison of the whole market.
We want our customers to have the full picture. Whether you get a quote online or over the phone, Energylinx will always show every tariff that is available to you. We are completely impartial and will show you price plans from every single energy supplier in the market, regardless of whether they pay us a commission or not. The list of suppliers that pay us commission is clearly listed on our website.
Our results are displayed in order of who is the cheapest based on the information you provide to us. The only way an energy supplier can top the results page is if their energy prices are the most competitive. Our customers can rest assured that Energylinx are completely impartial, and that by default we will make them aware of who offers them the biggest saving - not us the most commission!
The pricing team at Energylinx are brilliant. There is now 44 domestic energy suppliers on the market, all with multiple tariffs. The pricing team guarantee that our gas and electricity price database is accurate; and that any new tariff changes are updated the same working day.
Our pricing time work hard to ensure Energylinx customers are seeing up to date pricing and making a decision about their gas and electricity tariff based on accurate and correct information.
Our database includes every single tariff available in the market from every licensed domestic energy supplier. You won't be able to find any tariffs on any other sites that we don't include within our comparison, allowing you to make a fully informed choice when comparing energy prices with Energylinx. If we don't have a commercial agreement in place with an energy supplier, then you will be able to contact the supplier directly to take advantage of the tariff.
Energylinx strive to be able to allow our customers to arrange a transfer to every energy supplier, but sometimes this isn't possible. You can rest assured, however, that we will always inform you of a tariff.
According to OFGEM, 60% of energy users have never pursued switching companies - meaning that homeowners in the UK could be overpaying their energy bills by over £4 billion every year.
If you or anyone you know feels as if they could be paying too much for their energy bills, then use our free and impartial energy comparison tool - which is 100% approved by OFGEM.
Posted on July 19, 2016 at 08:26 AM
July 14, 2016
In June 360,000 households switched their energy supply - a massive 58% increase on the same month in 2014. In 2016 so far, more than two million customers (2,323,694) have switched energy suppliers, which is almost a million more than switched their energy supply in the first 6 months of 2014.
The latest electricity switching data also shows 120,115 customers switched to small and mid-tier suppliers in June which is 33% of all switches for the month. Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy UK, said:
"It is great to see more and more customers shopping around over the summer months before winter hits. Over two million people have already switched supplier in 2016 and they have taken advantage of the fantastic deals offered by more than 40 suppliers. Since June 2014 the cheapest tariffs have fallen by over £200. There are now around 50 deals under £900 on offer. The new Energy Switch Guarantee - launched by the Industry last month - has made it even easier for customers to switch."
In June 2016, of all switches:
• 43% were between larger energy suppliers
• 33% were from larger to small and mid-tier energy suppliers
• 14% were from small and mid-tier to larger energy suppliers
• 9% were between small and mid-tier energy suppliers
Posted on July 14, 2016 at 03:00 PM