Energylinx News

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

March 27, 2017

Do you know who to call when the power goes out?

105.png There is a new emergency number that UK households should familiarise themselves with - 105.

This is the number that you can call if you experience a power cut or if you notice any damage to electricity power lines or substations that could put you or someone else in danger. So, remember the number 105. It's a free service and is available to people in England, Scotland and Wales.

Electricity Network Operators

Electricity Network Operators keep the lights on in Britain. They are responsible for managing and maintaining the underground cables, overhead wires and substations that provide homes and businesses with electricity. They need to be made aware if you experience a power cut - no matter who your energy supplier is.

Many people don't know who to call when they experience a power outage and mistakenly call their supplier. This is why the electricity network operators have introduced the new 105 number. Calling 105 will put you through to the electricity network operator in your area as there are six throughout the UK. Any calls to 105 will be answered by local people who can help you.

What should I do in a Power cut?

• First of all you should switch off any appliances that shouldn't be unattended.
• Leave a light on so you know when the power cut is over.
• Check on any neighbours and make sure they are ok.
• Keep warm!
• Phone 105 and report the outage.

Power Cut Preparation

• Candles can be dangerous - keep a torch handy and some batteries.
• Again, keep warm. A blanket and warm clothing should be kept handy.
• Keep your mobile, laptop and tablets fully charged. Your Network Operator's website or social media will offer updates throughout the power cut, so this will give you a clear idea of how long it will be down for.
• Stock your cupboards with food that doesn't require electricity to prepare!

Energylinx can help you find a cheaper energy tariff. We are 100% impartial, free and accredited to the Ofgem Confidence Code. You can see what you can save online or by calling one of our friendly advisors on 0800 849 7077.

Posted on March 27, 2017 at 12:53 PM

March 13, 2017

SSE to raise electricity prices in April

SSE PRICE RISE APRIL 2017SSE has become the latest big energy supplier to put up its energy prices. Unless loyal customers switch their energy supplier, from April 28th they will be charged 14.9% more for their electricity. Gas prices will remain the same.

This is SSE first electricity price rise for three and half years.

SSE has said that 2.8 million customers will be affected and the typical dual fuel customer could see their annual bill rise by 6.9% or £73.

SSE blamed the increase on government policies and the cost of smart meter installation.

Four of the other "Big Six" suppliers have already announced price rises this year, while British Gas has held prices until August 2017.

• E.On is increasing electricity prices by an average of 13.8%, and gas prices by 3.8%, on 26th April.

• EDF Energy cut its gas prices by 5.2% in January but its electricity prices rose by 8.4% on 1st March.

• British Gas is freezing its gas and electricity prices until August.

• Npower is raising its standard tariff electricity prices by 15% from 16th March and gas prices by 4.8%.

• Scottish Power's standard electricity prices will increase by an average of 10.8% and gas by 4.7% on 31st March.

Additional Funds

While making its announcement, SSE said it was launching a £5m fund to provide "additional financial support for those who need it most." No further information has been given on when this will launch.

The managing director of its retail division, Will Morris, said: "We deeply regret having to raise electricity prices.

"This is the first increase since 2013 andnergy bills. we've worked hard to keep them down for as long as possible by cutting our own costs, putting in place a winter price freeze and holding gas prices, but we have seen significant increases in electricity costs which are outside our control.

"Without an increase we would have been supplying electricity to domestic customers at a loss."

The message is clear - Switch supplier

In the UK there are around 20 million customers on standard tariffs and it is usually with a big supplier. SSE said that as much as 85% of its customers were on its standard variable tariffs, so they will be affected by April's price rise.

Last December, industry regulator Ofgem published figures showing how much money customers could save by moving from a standard variable tariff to their supplier's cheapest fixed tariff. For SSE customers that was £98 a year. After this price rise this will be more. Switching energy supplier is simple. You can arrange it online or you can call one of our advisors who can arrange it for you and can answer any questions that you might have. The number to call is 01259 220000. If you're affected, act now and out what you could save today.

Posted on March 13, 2017 at 04:06 PM

February 28, 2017

Energy Switching up by 30% in 2016

The number of households switching energy supplier hit a six-year high last year as savvy consumers shopped around for a better deal.

28% more customers switched in 2016 than in 2015 - a total of 7.7 million transfers. This included 4.4 million electricity switches and 3.4 million gas switches - this is an increase of 30% for electricity and 24% for gas switches. Officially making it highest level of switching since 2010.

Of these switches, nearly half (47%) were to small or medium suppliers as they continued to attract growing numbers of customers.

In recent weeks some suppliers have announced price rises for customers on standard variable tariffs, which are typically more expensive than fixed deals.

With savings of around £230 a year on offer from switching to the cheapest deals, it's even more important now to compare tariffs.

It's never been easier to change supplier, as the vast majority of switches take three weeks to complete including a 14 day 'cooling off' period. Compare this to three years ago when it took around five weeks to switch supplier.

Despite rising switching rates, however, around two-thirds of customers still remain on standard variable tariffs and are spending more than they need to on their energy bills.

Ofgem's CEO Dermot Nolan comments:

"This welcome increase in switching should serve as a warning to supply companies. If they fail to keep prices under control or do not provide a good service, they risk being punished as customers vote with their feet.

"While today's figures show good progress, the market is not as competitive as we would like. That is why we have put a temporary price cap in place to protect people on prepayment meters who have the least access to competitive deals and why we are pursuing a raft of reforms which will make this market fairer, smarter and more competitive for consumers."

"Big savings of around £230 are available and switching has never been easier, so we would urge everyone to shop around for a better deal, especially if their supplier announces a price rise."

Energylinx offer a free and impartial switching service. You can speak to one of our knowledgeable advisors by call 01259 22000 or by visiting www.energylinx.co.uk.

Posted on February 28, 2017 at 02:54 PM

February 21, 2017

Are you affected by the recent energy price increase?

GAS2017 is off to an expensive start for consumers, with 3 of the UK biggest energy suppliers announcing price increases.

There was some good news for customers of British Gas. The supplier announced earlier this month that it's keeping its current gas and electricity prices the same until August 2017. The "Big Six" Energy Supplier claims it is able to freeze energy bills in the face of higher wholesale prices by cutting costs.

So far, British Gas is the only supplier to announce a price freeze that will take customers through until the summer with SSE and E.ON saying that prices will remain the same for customers until April 1st 2017.

Price Hikes

Customers with Scottish Power, Npower and EDF Energy can all expect higher than normal bills from March:

• Scottish Power's standard electricity prices will increase by an average of 10.8% and gas prices by 4.7%. About one third of its customers - 1.1 million people - will be affected by the change.
• Npower is raising its standard tariff electricity prices by 15% from 16 March, and gas prices by 4.8%.
• EDF Energy cut its gas prices by 5.2% in January, but its electricity prices are due to rise by 8.4% on 1 March.

Announcing the price increases, Colin McNeill, UK retail director for Scottish Power said: "This price change follows months of cost increases that have already led to significant rises in fixed price products that now unfortunately have to be reflected in standard prices."

In a statement, energy regulator Ofgem said: "We would urge consumers to take advantage of the deals available from the many different suppliers and to shop around for a better deal if their supplier puts up their prices. This will put pressure on all suppliers to ensure they run their businesses efficiently to keep any impact on bills as low as possible."

When Npower announced its price rises, Ofgem told the supplier to "justify" to its customers why it was introducing one of the largest increases for years.

Energy price rises are likely to fuel inflation concerns.

Rising air fares and food prices helped to push up UK inflation to 1.6% in December, its highest rate since July 2014.

The only way to stop the price hike is to shop around, see what you could save by comparing energy suppliers today. Energylinx offer a free and impartial online comparison and switching service. If you would rather speak to one of our advisors, our call centre is open Monday to Friday 09:00 - 08:00, Saturday 09:00 - 17:00 and Sunday 10:00 - 17:00.

Posted on February 21, 2017 at 03:21 PM

February 8, 2017

4m households to benefit from prepayment price cap

gas cooker.jpgThe temporary price cap is one of the Competition and Market Authority's (CMA) remedies resulting from its two year investigation of the energy market.

The cap will initially apply to over four million households who prepay for their energy, mostly with traditional prepayment meters, and are amongst those least able to benefit from competition.

The levels of the cap vary for electricity and gas, by meter type and region.

Ofgem estimates that many prepayment customers are likely to see reductions in their gas bill of around 10-15% from 1 April 2017 or around £80 a year based on a typical household's consumption.

Many prepayment customers who use electricity to heat their home such as those on Economy 7 meters will see their electricity bill fall, with reductions of around £80 a year based on a typical household's consumption.
The CMA found that prepayment meter customers face particularly high levels of detriment.

Competition among suppliers for prepayment customers is less developed than for those who pay by direct debit, cash or cheque. This means that there are fewer tariffs available to these customers and the tariffs that are available are generally more expensive.

Customers with prepayment meters are also more likely to be in vulnerable circumstances than those paying by other means.

The cap is due to expire at the end of 2020 when the roll out of smart meters is set to be completed, which will help prepayment meter customers in particular access better deals.

Dermot Nolan, chief executive of Ofgem, said:
"We want all consumers to enjoy the benefits of a more competitive energy market, regardless of their circumstances. Customers who prepay for their energy are denied the best deals on the market available to those using other payment methods. They are also more likely to be in vulnerable circumstances, including fuel poverty. This temporary cap will protect these households as we work to deliver a more competitive, fairer and smarter market for all consumers."

Posted on February 8, 2017 at 03:25 PM

February 3, 2017

1.4m Npower Customers Face Price Hike

pylons.jpgNpower becomes the First of the "Big Six" Energy Suppliers to Announce a Price Increase in 2017.

Npower has announced that, for the first time since October 2013, it is to increase a typical dual fuel annual energy bill by on average 9.8% or £109. This is made up of an average increase of 4.8% on gas and 15% on electricity and will affect the customers currently on the npower's standard tariff.

The new charges will come into effect on 16th March and will impact approximately 50% (1.4m) of npower's customers. Half (1.4m) will not receive a price increase. This is because npower has a higher percentage of fixed-rate tariff customers than most large suppliers, and because pre-payment customers are not affected. Npower is also launching an exclusive four year fixed term tariff for current standard customers, where the exit fee has been waived in recognition for their loyalty.

Today's increase includes a change to npower's standing charge of £55 for electricity.

Since npower last raised its prices three years ago, there have been increases in wholesale energy costs and rises in the cost of delivering government policies, such as smart metering, renewables obligation and the capacity market. This trend is set to continue, with network and policy costs representing an increasing share of domestic electricity bills.

To provide certainty around future energy bills, fixed tariffs can provide reassurance for existing and new customers. Npower offers a range of fixed products to suit varying customer needs. These range from short and medium term fixed tariffs to the longest fix on the market, which fixes energy prices until 2021, with Super Fix March 2021.

Simon Stacey, managing director domestic markets, said:

"This is a hugely difficult decision, and we've delayed the date this takes effect until after the coldest months of the year. We've also made sure that our most vulnerable customers won't see any impact until May. Npower has some of the most engaged customers of any major supplier - one million of our customers switched to another of our tariffs last year and around half of our customers aren't on a standard variable tariff (SVT). To encourage even more engagement, today we're launching a fixed tariff just for our existing customers who are still on an SVT, that will fix energy prices for the next four years with no exit fees."

"npower operates one of the broadest range of support schemes of any supplier, offering the widest and most diverse care programmes for vulnerable customers and those who are struggling with their energy bills. We're already delaying the impact of the increase for vulnerable customers, but anyone who is struggling with their energy bills should contact us straight away to discuss whether they're on the right tariff for their needs, energy saving help and bespoke payment plans."

The reaction to the prize hike has been negative with consumer groups and the government speaking out. A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the government was concerned about npower's decision to raise prices.

"This government is committed to getting the best deal for households and is concerned by npower's plans to increase prices for customers who are already paying more than they need to. Suppliers are protected from recent fluctuations in the price of wholesale energy, which they buy up to two years in advance, and prices remain significantly lower than in 2014,"

"We expect energy companies to treat all their customers fairly and have been clear that, wherever markets are not working for consumers, we are prepared to act."

It is expected that the rest of the "Big Six" will follow suit, so don't wait around. Compare tariffs today and see what you could save. Energylinx offer a free and impartial energy comparison and switching service online or you can call one of our expert advisors on 01259 220000 and they will be able to talk you through your options.

Posted on February 3, 2017 at 01:59 PM

January 30, 2017

Britain shouldn't fear an electricity blackout

somerset electricity.jpgSteve 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 Launch Protect and Fix November 2018

npower.gifNpower 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.

Key Facts

• 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