Energylinx News

May 2017 Monthly Archive

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 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