June 27, 2014
By referring the heavily criticised power industry to the Competition and Market Authority, yesterday OFGEM put in to motion the biggest investigation yet into the energy market. There will be increased pressure on the Big Six as over the next 18 months the spotlight will be on them, as the CMA will determine whether British Gas, EDF, E.on, nPower, Scottish Power and SSE have been profiteering and should be broken up.
OFGEM believe that an investigation will ensure that competition has a positive effect for consumers, by bringing down prices and driving improvements in customer service
Dermot Nolan, OFGEM Chief Executive, said: "Now is the right time to refer the energy market to the CMA for the benefit of consumers. There is near-unanimous support for a referral and the CMA investigation offers an important opportunity to clear the air. This will help rebuild consumer trust and confidence in the energy market as well as provide the certainty investors have called for. The energy market is also going to change rapidly over the next few years with the roll-out of smart meters, the government's electricity market reforms, and closer integration with European energy markets. A CMA investigation should ensure there are no barriers to stop effective competition bearing down on prices and delivering the benefits of these changes to consumers."
The CMA will immediately begin their investigation and are likely to publish final decisions by the end of 2015. The CMA can decide which features of the market to focus on in its investigation and use its powers to address any structural and behavioural issues that would undermine competition.
OFGEM also pledged to carrying on working to protect consumers; continuing to push forward on next-day switching, working on the tools and support available to the most vulnerable of consumers in finding the best energy deal, and ensuring that consumers make the most of reforms to make the market simpler, clearer and fairer.
To find out more about the investigation, click here.
Posted on June 27, 2014 at 09:16 AM
June 17, 2014
In April 2014 289,000 consumers' switched energy suppliers, with almost half choosing smaller suppliers over the 'Big Six'. Despite this, the large suppliers still dominant the market with a 94.6% share - however this has fallen from 99.4% in January 2011.
The report comes amid mounting pressure on the industry to prove that there is a healthy level of competition within the retail and wholesale energy markets, following calls from the regulator for a full investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.
"Once again, the monthly electricity switching report has shown that switching is on the up," said Energy UK in a statement.
"This is the sixth month in a row that the percentage of all switching being a move to small supplier has increased. This shows that there is plenty of choice out there and the public are making the most of it," the group added.
The number of energy customers moving to small suppliers in April was 135,000, or 46.88% of all those who opted to change providers. But it is hoped that the CMA probe will result in even stronger growth for independent suppliers.
Citizens Advice Proposal
In light of the increase of transfers to the smaller suppliers, Citizen's Advice have proposed that energywatch, Consumer Focus and Consumer Futures publish rankings of ALL energy suppliers to give consumers access to accurate and impartial information. Giving consumer's access to this information empowers them to make informed decisions about their energy supplier, and gives the companies incentive to continually improve their performance as they are ranked on their performance. Up until now this has only been limited to the 'Big Six' but Citizen Advice want to include the smaller suppliers in order to give the consumer a through and whole choice before switching.
Citizen's Advice are welcoming opinions and views on their proposals. Response should be emailed to Graeme.firstname.lastname@example.org.This should be provided before July 9th as they wish to start publishing data towards the end of 2014.
For information on all suppliers and their tariffs, click here.
Posted on June 17, 2014 at 09:55 AM
June 16, 2014
OFGEM believe that consumer switching is an important driver for a competitive energy supply market. By changing suppliers, consumers can both individually realise cost savings and exert competitive pressure on the market. This competitive pressure will help keep prices lower than they would otherwise be. OFGEM will make the energy market more competitive than ever, by bringing the switching period down from 5 weeks to 17 days by the end of 2014.
Dermot Nolan, chief executive at OFGEM, said: "Consumers can change their bank in seven days, their mobile phone in just a couple, but have to wait significantly longer to switch their energy supplier. We know that consumers want a reliable and efficient switching process, and that concerns about it going wrong can put them off shopping around for a better deal. So following the steps we have taken steps to make the market simpler, clearer, fairer, we are now leading a programme which will deliver faster, more reliable switching."
This is a move that is welcomed by industry, consumer groups and Energylinx.
The regulator has also published proposals to replace IT systems developed in the 1990s, in order to bring in next-day switching by the end of 2018. The current systems are failing some customers and are resulting in poor consumer switching experiences as they can be slow and complicated. Not only will this will make the switching market more competitive than ever but it will also make it easier than ever, something which Energylinx supports and welcomes.
If you are looking to switch supplier, visit our free and impartial comparison tool here.
Posted on June 16, 2014 at 01:34 PM
June 16, 2014
Today SSE have updated their corporate logo and regional brand names and branded logos for their SSE, SWALEC, Southern Electric and Scottish Hydro regional brands. As of this morning the regional brand names are SSE, SSE SWALEC, SSE Southern Electric, and SSE Scottish Hydro.
A statement on the company's SSE Atlantic website states that these changes are to allow customers to clearly see the link between SSE Atlantic and SSE. Changes to the company branding shouldn't affect any existing SSE customers.
Also, any customers who are on historic SSE tariffs may benefit from reduced unit rates for capped and fixed tariffs (that have not already had reduced rates applied). These changes will go live from 16th June and will be back dated to cover the entire period from the 24th Match 2014.
To find out about any of SSE tariffs, or any other tariffs, visit our free and impartial comparison tool here.
Posted on June 16, 2014 at 10:53 AM
June 12, 2014
Scottish Power have launched their Help Beat Cancer Fixed Price Energy September 2016 today. This is a fixed term tariff that will end on September 30th 2016 and will see Scottish Power make a donation to Cancer Research UK for every month a customer remains on the tariff, up to a maximum of £5 per fuel, per annum until the end of the tariffs term.
The tariff is available as;
• Standing charge only
• Dual Fuel, Electricity and Gas
• On-line and Offline
Posted on June 12, 2014 at 09:08 AM