January 30, 2017
Steve Holliday, the man who ran the National Grid for 10 years, has said that news stories raising fears about blackouts should stop as the UK has enough energy capacity to meet demand - even on the coldest days when demand is highest.
His assurance is based on the government's latest auction of capacity for power generation, which starts later today.
In it, companies will bid for subsidies to provide back-up power where and when needed. The stand-by plants will run for a few days a year during extreme conditions.
Much of the back-up will be provided by old gas and coal plants that would otherwise be scrapped. Funded by the bill-payer, they will offer a sort of power insurance policy.
Mr Holliday told BBC News:
"It's time for the headline of Blackout Britain to end - it's simply wrong. We've been talking about blackouts for 15 years every time it gets cold, but it's a scare story.
"The lights haven't gone out yet and thanks to the measures the government is putting in place this week they definitely won't go out in future. The UK has one of the most stable supplies of electricity in Europe."
The head of the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG), which represents firms that use a lot of energy, Jeremy Nicholson, has previously spoken out of fears about energy security but agrees the capacity auctions will secure supplies.
He told BBC News:
"The power industry makes a lot of noise about tight generating margins but somehow manages to provide plenty of capacity when it's needed.
"The capacity issue is sorted now - frankly it should have happened 5-10 years ago. Our bigger concern now is the possibility that when margins are tight, the price will shoot through the roof."
A spokesman for Energy UK, the body that represents power generators, was also confident about security of supply, saying:
"We fully support the Capacity Market and we believe it will keep the lights on in Great Britain."
The capacity auctions were originally due to supply back-up from 2018, but the government brought the scheme forward to cover next winter.
Successful bidders in the auctions will receive a payment for keeping power stations available between November and February whether or not they are generating.
Mr Holliday, who was chief executive of National Grid until July 2016, forecasts that all future talk of blackouts will stop by a revolution in flexible electricity, with customers using power when it is cheapest.
One current weapon at National Grid's disposal is a contract for flexible supply with firms which don't manufacture continuously.
The firms get compensated if they are asked to stop consuming power for a while during, say, a windless spell.
Stories in the media have reported this as risky for UK Plc. But the EIUG disagrees.
Mr Nicholson told BBC News:
"Clearly firms can benefit from being incentivised to turn down their energy use if it doesn't affect their production. Firms needing continuous production don't turn off their power."
Posted on January 30, 2017 at 11:11 AM
January 18, 2017
Npower have launched a new fixed term tariff -protect and Fix November 2018.
With Protect and Fix November 2018 customers can fix your gas and electricity prices until the 30th November 2018 plus this tariff comes with 2 battery operated Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
• Prices are fixed at the rates you sign up to until 30th November 2018 when customers will revert to Npower's cheapest Standard variable tariff applicable to them.
• £1,141 * is the average annual cost for electricity & gas. Annual cost for individual customers will vary and maybe higher than our standard charges.
• This tariff comes with 2 battery operated Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
• Customers will need to be a dual fuel customer with both fuels on this tariff and pay by monthly or quarterly variable Direct Debit to be eligible.
• As with all npower tariffs a standing charge applies.
With Protect and Fix November 2018, customers will get a continuous discount in a lower daily standing charge when they pay by Direct Debit. The discount is worth £90 over each year if they pay for both electricity and gas by Direct Debit and comprises a discount of £40 on electricity charges and £50 on gas charges.
Customers need to manage their account online and receive bills and key communications via email
An early exit fee of £50 per fuel may apply if a customer changes their tariff or supplier before 13th October 2018.
To find out more about this tariff visit our free and easy-to-use energy comparison website or call one of our advisors on 01259 220000. Terms and conditions apply.
Posted on January 18, 2017 at 05:31 PM
January 13, 2017
Last year's switching numbers are in... nearly a million more households switched their energy supplier in 2016, compared to 2015.
The latest Energy UK electricity switching data, published today, reveals the overall number of electricity switches in 2016 reached 4.8 million. This is a record high since 2013 when Energy UK started publishing data, and up by a quarter (26%) on 2015.
This continues the trend of increasing overall switching figures for the past two years. The average number of monthly switches was over 400,000 in 2016.
In December, the number of switches reached 449,921, up by a third (33%) compared to December 2015. One in five (22% of those electricity switches in December were to a smaller supplier.
The introduction of the Energy Switch Guarantee last year also helped make switching easier and provided greater confidence for customers when switching supplier. New research for the Guarantee also reveals nine in ten (89%) people were satisfied with the overall switching process.
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK said:
"It is fantastic that switching levels are continuing to soar with almost five million households changing supplier last year.
Across the industry, energy companies are doing more to engage with all of their customers, making it easier for people to be on the right tariff whether that's with their current supplier or by switching to one of the 40 plus suppliers active in the market.
The Energy Switch Guarantee also means it is simple, speedy and safe to switch so people should check to see if they are on the best deal for them and if not - switch."
The publicity around the CMA's report in to the energy industry would of also encouraged consumers to switch... let's hope the trend continues. Energylinx offer a free and impartial online energy comparison service. If you would rather discuss your options, you can call one of our knowledgeable energy advisors on 01259 220000.
Posted on January 13, 2017 at 12:59 PM
January 4, 2017
It's winter and whilst (so far) it's been a relatively mild one, a recent survey for Which? Consumer Insights Tracker found that 64% of the 2000 people said they were worried about energy prices - a rise of 8% since September.
Bad news for energy suppliers as they were voted more distrusted than banks and mobile networks as distrust in them rose from 6% to 35% over 4 months. Only car dealers fared worse at 55%.
Trust in the energy sector dropped by 3% to 32%. Out of the 13 sectors examined by the survey just three scored lower - train companies, car dealers and long-term financial products.
Towards the end of last year British Gas, EDF, SSE, Good Energy and Utilitia all announced price freezes for the 2016/17 winter season.
Which? managing director for home and legal services Alex Neill said:
"With price hikes due later this year, temporary fixes from suppliers are just not enough to help people stuck on the most expensive deals. Energy companies will have no one else to blame but themselves if the government and the regulator have to step in and intervene."
As part of Which? Fair Energy Prices campaign, the consumer group has invited suppliers to submit plans on how they could help their customers to switch from expensive standard variable tariffs to cheaper offers. There is now less than a month to go until the deadline but not a single supplier has published a plan yet.
"The clock is ticking for energy companies," added Neill. "With... trust in the industry falling, more needs to be done to move people onto better deals."
Why not use our energy bill calculator and see if you could save money on your energy bills? Energylinx offer a free and impartial service online or by calling one of our advisors on 01259 220000.
Posted on January 4, 2017 at 12:24 PM