Energylinx News

July 5, 2017

Ofgem Consider a New Energy Price Cap

A price cap on energy bills could be extended to many more households on low incomes, under plans being considered by energy regulator Ofgem.

Ofgem said on Monday that it would hold a summit in July to consider what form of "safeguard tariff" would be best, with one option being to extend the existing cap for the 4m households that are on prepayment meters to a further 2.6m vulnerable households that are currently in receipt of the warm home discount.

Currently, there is a limit on the cost of gas and electricity for those on pre-payment meters and it saves about four million people £80 a year.

The proposals come after a much wider cap in the Conservative manifesto was absent from the Queen's Speech. The Conservative Party made promises during their election campaign and they have now been accused of betraying millions of households after Ofgem announced the watered down proposals.

Theresa May had originally pledged a price cap on energy bills for 17m families during the general election campaign, but the policy wasn't mentioned in the Queens Speech. Instead a letter was written to Ofgem from business secretary, Greg Clark, asking for safeguarding "customers on the poorest value tariffs".

The response from Ofgem lists a range of proposals covering billing and switching.

Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem,

"We're focusing on plans that we will take forward with some urgency to offer extra protection for some customers."

That includes "a strong possibility that we'll extend the price cap currently in place for pre-payment meters to vulnerable customers as well".

Millions 'suffering'

Other proposals outlined by Ofgem include:

• A trial that would allow households to enter only their postcode and current supplier into a "digital deal checker" to view the cheapest tariff
• Requiring suppliers to inform customers of cheaper deals with rival companies, under a trial scheme
• A clickable option on all price comparison websites to ensure customers see prices in the whole of the market, not just preferred suppliers
• A cap on the charges levied when a pre-payment meter is installed under warrant

Savings to be made

Last year the Competition and Markets Authority concluded their investigation into the energy industry. They calculated that consumers were overpaying by up to £1.2bn a year. This is what led to the cap on the cost of energy for those on pre-payment meters.

Despite pressure not to put up energy prices, 5 of the "Big 6" energy suppliers raised prices earlier this year. The only supplier not to was British Gas but they are expected to announce a price increase after summer.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, which represents the major suppliers, said:

"Energy companies are committed to engaging with their customers to help them get the best deals, and switching levels continue to rise with over two million consumers having already switched this year.

"We are committed to working with the government and the regulator to deliver an energy market where competition continues to flourish and which produces fair outcomes for all consumers, including better targeted support for the most vulnerable."

Switch to Save

If you're unhappy with the cost of your energy you should check to see whether you could save money with another a supplier. Running a comparison is easy and only takes a couple of minutes, you can do it on Energylinx's website or by calling one of our friendly energy advisors on 01259 220000.

Posted on July 5, 2017 at 01:31 PM

June 28, 2017

Job Posting: Outbound Telesales Adviser

hiring.pngEnergylinx is seeking an outbound telesales adviser to join their friendly, Alloa-based Call Centre.

Job Type: Permanent

The Role: We are looking for enthusiastic, friendly and self-motivated individuals, with drive and determination to join our growing business. You will be required to make a high volume of calls to both business and domestic customers, helping them to renew or switch their energy supplier. Your hours of work will be 20 - 30 hours between 1pm and 8pm Monday - Friday, with the possibility of additional weekend cover.

Key skills: We are looking for people that are comfortable on the phone, with a helpful and professional telephone manner. You will have a proven track record in delivering excellent customer service, as well as consistently hitting your sales targets. You will have a positive attitude as well as the ability to resolve any problems in a calm and reassuring manner.

The Benefits: A basic salary £7.80, followed up by uncapped individual commission. You'll be entitled to 28 days holiday and have access to an employee benefits scheme run by Perkbox.

As part of the application, you will need to complete a Disclosure Scotland check.

For a chance to join our team email or write to us at the address shown below, include a current CV and a cover letter telling us what makes you the ideal candidate.

Applications by email to diane.smith@energylinx.com with the subject line: Outbound Energy Advisor

Or you can send them by post to:

Energylinx Limited
The E Centre
Cooperage Way
Alloa
FK10 3LP


Closing Date:
Friday 7th July 2017

Posted on June 28, 2017 at 09:59 AM

June 19, 2017

E.ON Launch Cap and Track Tariff

EON.jpgLast week, E.ON launched a new one-year energy tariff that promises to remain £100 below the average price of all energy tariffs on the market.

The 'Cap and Track' tariff will follow the Energylinx Price Retail Index, which tracks the price of all energy tariffs across the UK.

The tariff price will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. If the average cost has dropped over the quarter then the price of the tariff will also fall £100 below the average figure. If the market average goes up after a quarter then the tariff price will increase, but will never be more expensive than when the customer signed up.

Whilst the E.ON tariff isn't the cheapest on the market, the price can drop. The average price for customers signing up today is £955. The current cheapest tariff on the market is £850 and comes from Farnborough based supplier, OneSelect.

Chris Lovatt, director of residential operations at Eon, said: 'Eon Cap and Track provides peace of mind to customers that their prices are capped at the level they sign up to and are reviewed every three months.
'By capping the price for the duration of the 12-month tariff, we guarantee the price the customer pays will not rise above their start price.

'For many, this takes away the hassle of shopping around for energy, especially for those who don't feel they have the time to do so. This is one of the many ways we're helping to boost engagement in the energy market, particularly with people on standard variable tariffs.'

E.ON's Cap and Track Tariff is only avaliable from E.ON directly. Energylinx compares the whole market, so you can see what tariff saves your household the most money by doing a quick online comparison or call one of our energy advisors on 01259 220000.

Posted on June 19, 2017 at 02:37 PM

June 6, 2017

Billing Code Audit 2017: Who got gold?

The Billing code results today showed that energy suppliers are delivering more accurate bills for millions of UK consumers.

The Billing Code, an initiative established in 2006 by Energy UK to drive more accurate domestic billing, has recorded year-on-year progress. Suppliers are measured against five criteria: switching, meter reading, energy bills and statements, payment and refunds and back billing.

Following an independent audit by PWC, today's Billing Code results have seen one supplier attain the highest gold award, meaning they are fully compliant with all areas of the code, while three others achieved silver and one bronze.

Supplier Results

Gold: EDF Energy
Silver: British Gas, E.ON, ScottishPower
Bronze: nPower

Tina Tietjen, Independent Chair of the Billing Code said:

"This year has been a fantastic year for the Code. As well as gaining a new member, we've seen one supplier achieve an award for the first time. Given the rigour of the audit process, maintaining the highest award is challenging and although we've had the best overall results, only one supplier was able to retain the Gold from last year.

"Together the Billing Code members send out more than 200 million bills each year and I'm delighted that they have risen to the challenge of improving processes. In terms of taking control and keeping costs down, clear and accurate information about energy use benefits customers enormously."

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 03:28 PM

May 18, 2017

Project Nexus Explained

Energy regulator, Ofgem, has sponsored an initiative called Project Nexus. The aim of Project Nexus is to replace the UK Link System which is operated by XOSERVE and provides a number of functions for the gas industry.

Nexus is due to go live on 1st June 2017. As a result of this go live, there will be a period of transition that may increase customer switch times for gas. It's unusual for an upgrade of this size to take place but once the new system is live, it will provide a host of new benefits.

Here are just some of the benefits we can expect after Project Nexus is completed:

• Faster switching.
• Better reporting of gas consumption.
• Improved support for the smart meter rollout.
• Introduction of new settlement classes.

Does this Affect Me?

Rest assured, you won't experience any impact on your gas supply during the upgrade.

If you arrange to switch your gas supplier or a dual fuel transfer during this period then you will likely experience delays in the process. Electricity only switches will not be impacted by the upgrade, as it only effects the gas network. If you are arranging a dual fuel transfer then both may be delayed, so that you have the same start date. The welcome pack you receive from your new supplier will provide further details of your official go live date.

If you are considering switching your energy supplier and you are on a fixed term tariff that ends at the end of May, then you will be put on to your current suppliers' standard tariff until you go live with your new supplier.

The below provides guidelines for the increased timescales for switching:

• Switches between 3rd - 18th May will take approximately five weeks.
• Switches between 19th - 31th May will take approximately four weeks.

If you are unsure or have any questions, our energy advisors will be able to provide you with more information, call 01259 220000. You can also arrange your energy transfer online.

Posted on May 18, 2017 at 10:50 AM

May 10, 2017

Tories Pledge to 'cap' Energy Prices

Yesterday the Conservative Party outlined their policy to cap energy bills, despite the idea of any form of capping being rejected by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last summer.

Based on the way pre-payment meters have worked since April, it would be an "absolute" cap.

The Tories rejected the idea of a relative cap, which would limit the difference between the cheapest fixed-price deal and the more expensive Standard Variable Tariff (SVT) to a set percentage. That model was particularly controversial, as critics said suppliers would simply increase the price of fixed-rate deals, to maintain the differential with SVTs.

How would it work?

If the Conservatives win the election, the regulator Ofgem would be asked to introduce a price cap along the lines of one introduced in April to cap prices on households with pre-payment meters.

As many as 4.5 million people use prepayment meters for electricity, while 3.5 million use them for gas. Prepayment customers face higher energy bills. The CMA ordered a cap on their charges because such households do not benefit from the competition that exists for all other consumers.

Under this system, the CMA has come up with an initial maximum figure for prices in each region of the UK, usually in line with the cheapest existing pre-payment meter tariff.

That number is adjusted every six months, taking into account wholesale energy costs, inflation, environmental obligations and the cost of transporting energy around the network.

The Effects of a Potential Cap

Consumer groups are generally opposed to the idea, as it would tend to give consumers a false sense of security. In New Zealand, a price cap resulted in a loss of competition and energy prices going up before the cap.

Householders might think they are getting a good deal, so would make even less effort to switch suppliers. This makes the market less competitive which isn't good for consumers.

The news of this policy comes in a month where thousands of UK households will be moved on to supplier's standard tariffs this month as their fixed rate tariff is ending. Consumer group Which? found a total of 17 fixed deals from 10 suppliers expire this month, including a £396 jump for customers with SSE, £373 for Scottish Power, £358 with EDF and £236 with Npower.

The smallest increase is the £79 extra that people on another Scottish Power fixed tariff will pay when moved on to the company's standard variable tariff.

About two-thirds of people - 17 million - are on standard variable tariffs, which are what the Conservatives have pledged to cap. Although the Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, admitted that energy prices would still go up under the proposed price cap. He then caused outrage by saying he had never switched energy supplier because it was "too much hassle" despite years of the UK Government promoting how simple it is to switch energy supplier and that it is the best way to save money on your energy bills.

This is an open invitation to Greg Clark.
We'd love to have you visit our head office. As Energy Secretary, you are in a position to make policies and are paid by the taxpayer to do so. You therefore should have experience of just how effortless the energy transfer process is before dismissing it to the electorate.

Switching energy supplier is a simple and straight-forward process and it's a quick way to save money on your energy bills. If you can't do it online, you can call one of our advisers and they'll compare the tariffs available to you. By offering you free and impartial advice they will help you secure the best deal for your household. Call 0800 849 7077.

Posted on May 10, 2017 at 02:26 PM

May 8, 2017

British Gas to lose 1 million customers in 2017

british-gas-price-comparison.jpg

British Gas is on course to lose a million customers by the end of the year, after dropping 261,000 customers in the first few months of 2017. This is despite British Gas being the only "Big Six" supplier not to announce a price rise in the first few months of this year.

The fall comes on top of the 400,000 customers that switched away from British Gas in 2016. This takes the suppliers to below 14 million UK customers for the first time since the 1970s.

The Conservative Party has pledged to cap energy prices if they win the general election next month and Centrica, the owners of British Gas, is hoping to reassure shareholders that it can withstand the plans. The Tories aim to cut around £100 from annual household energy bills by capping prices for the seven out of ten households on standard variable tariffs.

Analysts have warned that the Government intervention on prices will come at a significant cost to Centrica. The supplier currently supplies more than 6 million UK households with energy on standard variable tariffs.
Centrica has warned any practice of price regulation would lead to reduced competition in the market, with customers having less choice and higher bills overall. Centrica has proposed alternative ways to improve the market, without resorting to price regulation.

John Penrose, a Conservative MP who has led calls for a relative price cap, said Centrica's comments were an empty threat. "It isn't sustainable for the big six to threaten they'll scrap their cheapest tariffs. They would condemn themselves to a slow commercial death, milking a declining customer base because they wouldn't win any new business."

Centrica remains the UK's biggest domestic energy supplier. They also earned the highest profit margins in the industry on their customers last year, at 8.8% of earnings before interest and tax, versus an industry average of 5.6%. However, the company is expected to cut 1500 jobs this year to generate cost saving of £250m in addition to the £384m it reported in the previous year.

Wondering if you could save money on your energy bills? Energylinx provide a free and impartial comparison and switching service. You can find on what you could save online or by calling one of our energy advisors on 01259 220000.

Posted on May 8, 2017 at 02:18 PM

April 20, 2017

Over half a million customers switched energy supplier in March

LifetimeStock-76031-XS.jpg

Energy UK released switching numbers for the first 3 months of 2017. They show an increase of 13% in March 2017 compared to the same month in 2016 with a total of 536,658 UK households switching energy supplier. That brings the amount of energy switches to above 1.3 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Last month consumers switching from larger to small and mid-tier suppliers represented more than a quarter of all switches (27%) reaching just over 145,000.

Switch to Save before the Price Hike

There's been increased press coverage around price increases from five of the "Big Six" energy suppliers. British Gas have announced a price freeze until August this year.

• E.On is increasing electricity prices by an average of 13.8%, and gas prices by 3.8%, on 26th April.
• SSE raised gas prices 14.9% effective from April 28th.
• Npower raised its standard tariff electricity prices by 15% from 16th March and gas prices by 4.8%.
• Scottish Power's standard electricity prices increased by an average of 10.8% and gas by 4.7% on 31st March.
• EDF putting up prices for the second time this year. From June 21st customers will pay 9% more for electricity and gas prices will increase by 5%.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK said:

"1.3m consumers switching already this year is further demonstration of competition in action in the retail market. Competition is driving up standards, innovation and investment as suppliers compete to keep and attract new customers. There has never been a better time to check you are on the best deal for you - and the Energy Switch Guarantee gives consumers extra confidence the process will be simple, speedy and safe."

We would urge any customers to run a comparison and see what they could save today. Energylinx offer a free and impartial switching service. You can do it online or by calling one of our expert advisors on 01259 220000.

Posted on April 20, 2017 at 09:48 AM

April 12, 2017

1.5m EDF customers face higher bills this year

LifetimeStock-246607-L.jpg "Big Six" Energy Supplier, EDF, has announced further rises in gas and electricity prices for UK customers. The energy company has blaming rising wholesale prices and the costs of delivering UK energy policy for the decision.

The supplier was the first major energy provider to announce an increase in electricity prices last December. Four of the other "big six" providers have since followed suit, with only British Gas keeping prices on hold.

From 21 June, customers on EDF's standard tariff will see electricity prices increase by 9% and gas prices go up by 5.5%.

The supplier previously increased electricity prices by 8.4% on 1 March, although it cut gas prices in January.

The two rises together will affect around 1.5m customers, and lead to a whopping 8.5% increase in bills for a dual fuel direct debit customer. This equates to an extra £78 a year and an average annual bill of £1,160. The bulk of EDF's customers (1.8 million) are on fixed term deals, so will not be affected until their deal ends.

The energy regulator, Ofgem, has criticised the decision. Dermot Nolan, its chief executive, said:

"EDF's second price rise in four months, when there has not been a dramatic rise in wholesale energy prices since it last put up prices, is difficult to justify and is further evidence that the energy market is not working in all consumers' interests."

So far this year, 5 of the "Big Six" energy suppliers have announced price increases with only British Gas announcing a "prize freeze" until August.

• E.On is increasing electricity prices by an average of 13.8%, and gas prices by 3.8%, on 26th April.
• SSE raised gas prices 14.9% effective from April 28th.
• Npower raised its standard tariff electricity prices by 15% from 16th March and gas prices by 4.8%.
• Scottish Power's standard electricity prices increased by an average of 10.8% and gas by 4.7% on 31st March.

Energylinx would like to urge all customers that are on a standard tariff to compare the whole market and see what deals are available to you. You could take hundreds off your annual energy bill in just a few minutes. You can use our website or call one of our friendly advisers who will sort it for you and answer any questions you may have. The number to ring is 01259 220000.

Posted on April 12, 2017 at 02:14 PM

April 3, 2017

Ofgem promises new security for consumers from back-billing

Energy Bill Back Paying Energy suppliers will no longer be able to charge customers for gas and electricity used more than 12 months ago, under new rules proposed by regulator Ofgem.

This would mean if a customer has been paying an incorrect amount on their energy bills, their energy supplier won't be able to bill them for anything that they owe from more than 12 months ago.

Currently, energy suppliers have a voluntary agreement that was put in to place in 2007. Ofgem is now concerned, in part due to receiving case studies from Citizens Advice, that the voluntary principle is not being applied consistently and that not all suppliers have appropriate back-billing protections in place.

Back-bills mainly result from suppliers using estimated bills until they take an actual meter reading which may show that the customer's consumption is higher than expected. Suppliers then send a 'catch-up' bill to recover the difference. Sometimes this can result in large amounts being owed and financial difficulties for the customer to pay it back.

Rachel Fletcher, Senior Partner, Ofgem said:

"Getting billing right is an essential part of customer service, but when things go wrong we want to ensure that all customers benefit from the same protection against back-billing. We cannot be certain that this is the case now under the voluntary commitment. We expect suppliers to put their customers first, which is why we are proposing a new enforceable rule to provide this protection."

Ofgem is also considering whether to introduce a shorter time limit on supplier's back-billing customers as smart meters are rolled out. Smart meters enable suppliers to remotely obtain actual, rather than estimated meter readings, which should allow them to reduce the length of time they need to back-bill these customers.

Ofgem expects the new rule to go live this winter.

Posted on April 3, 2017 at 02:44 PM