November 2, 2017
Energy market regulator, Ofgem, has released a report on the State of the Energy Market.
The report highlights three concerns Ofgem has:
1. The market works well for engaged customers that actively search for cheaper deals but too many are missing out.
2. Consumers paying the highest prices are often those least able to afford it.
3. The progress to ensure clean and secure electricity suppliers has come at a higher cost than necessary.
Competition continues to benefit consumers who are able and willing to shop around, meaning they can usually get a good deal.
As of June 2017, there were 60 suppliers offering electricity and or gas, 16 more than a year earlier. Since 2012, new suppliers have increased competition, reducing the six largest energy suppliers' share of the market from nearly all consumers to just over 80% of them. Switching and engagement are increasing and annual household switching rates reached almost 17% in June 2017, the highest since August 2011.
This is all positive but Ofgem is concerned with the consumers that aren't switching. The ones who remain on defaults tariffs and pay much higher prices.
Ofgem found 58% have never switched supplier or have switched only once. For a typical household, a standard variable tariff costs about £300 more each year than the cheapest tariff available and Ofgem has found that 60% of all consumers are on a default variable tariff.
Ofgem is working to make the current switching process quicker and easier so that the retail markets work better for everyone. They are looking at the case for more use of collective switching with the hope it will enable less engaged consumers reap the benefits of competition.
In the energy market consumers with low incomes are much less likely to switch to a cheaper energy supplier.
There are a number of support schemes like the Warm Home Discount that help some vulnerable consumers, particularly pensioners but Ofgem's report highlights that identification of and support of other vulnerable groups are not yet good enough.
The challenge is to protect vulnerable customers but also engage them in the market more effectively. Ofgem is currently consulting on extending their safeguard tariff to a further 1 million vulnerable consumers this winter.
On average, consumers currently pay about £90 each year towards environmental policies. This will rise as low-carbon generation increases. Rapid falls in the costs of wind and solar generation show the scope for competition and innovation to limit future cost increases. But in the future, consumers will lose out if there isn't effective competition for low-carbon support schemes and for measures to help the energy system to work effectively.
Ofgem's report says that innovation must be harnessed in ways that bring benefits to all consumers. With more and more people harnessing their own electricity and having more control over their consumption using smart meters.
Traditionally, energy suppliers manage most interactions with consumers and the wider-market but peer-to-peer energy trading and greater customer ownership of their data should allow customers different ways of engaging with the energy system.
The report says that the UK's biggest energy suppliers made a profit of £1bn last year and have increased their profit margins in the last few years, despite losing millions of customers to smaller companies. The "Big Six" energy suppliers enjoyed a healthy margin, on average, of 4.5% in 2016 by charging customers high prices to loyal customers that have not considered switching energy suppliers.
Energylinx would like to invite everyone to compare energy supplier's tariffs and see what they could save. You can do it online or by calling one of our advisors on 01259 220000.
Posted on November 2, 2017 at 11:00 AM
October 20, 2017
The energy regulator Ofgem has urged suppliers to help customers before they get themselves into unmanageable levels of debt.
New figures show customers struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills build up an average of £600 in debt before providers agree to set up a payment plan. Some energy suppliers let customers run up to £1000 debt before they intervene.
Ofgem wants energy suppliers to step in sooner to help customers manage debt. Under new rules, energy suppliers must make extra efforts to treat vulnerable customers fairly.
Rachel Fletcher, Ofgem's senior partner for Consumers and Competition:
"Paying off energy bills is a major concern for many customers in vulnerable situations"
"When suppliers let big debts accrue, it's a sign that they're not spotting debt or stepping in early enough to help customers who are struggling to pay bills.
"We want the industry to demonstrate that it is identifying and supporting these customers in a timely way. We will be monitoring suppliers to make sure they make long-term improvements on bringing down debt.
Ofgem says there has been some improvements from energy suppliers, as more customers with debts of less than £100 are managing to repay them.
Some suppliers also provide customers on prepayment meters with "friendly credit" to keep their gas and electricity running when they forget to top up.
However, Ofgem said the number of prepay customers repaying much larger bills was not decreasing fast enough. In particular, small and medium suppliers were not equipped to prevent debt build-up. Some of the debt is not the fault of the customer, such as inaccurate billing - where payments do not cover use - and problems with billing systems.
"All suppliers must be aware of their obligations, anticipate the challenges they may face from the start, and have adequate systems in place to support financially vulnerable customers"
Ofgem's report has found some improvements; it says the number of customers in debt to their supplier has fallen over the past year by 9% to 971,362 for gas customers, and by 3% to 1,195,635 for electricity customers.
The number of disconnections for debt also fell to 210, down from a peak of 8,300 a decade ago.
Why don't you compare energy suppliers and check whether you are paying more than you need to for your gas and electricity? Energylinx offer a free and impartial comparison and switching service either online or by calling 01259 220000.
Posted on October 20, 2017 at 09:56 AM
October 12, 2017
It has been another bumper month for customers switching energy suppliers as 550,000 households moved energy companies in September, up 46% on the same month in 2016.
Consumer engagement in the market is booming with more than four million customers switching energy supplier in 2017, so far.
Energy industry regulator, Ofgem, released new research into the energy industry and it showed that consumer engagement in the market has increased from 37% in 2015 to 41% in 2017. It isn't only households that have switched before that are switching again, as in the last 12 months a third of switchers that changed energy suppliers did so for the first time.
The new research also showed that nine in ten energy switchers were happy with the current process of changing energy suppliers and over two thirds were more likely to switch energy suppliers due to the commitments of a simple, speedy and safe switch promised by energy suppliers as part of the Energy Switch Guarantee.
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK said:
"The energy market is rapidly transforming as competition continues to flourish and the numbers of consumers engaging in the energy market continues to grow. Over half a million consumers switching suppliers in the space of a month, shows the scale of the growing momentum.
"There are great savings to be made either by checking with your existing provider or by switching to one of over 50 suppliers in the market - So our advice to consumers is follow in four million footsteps and make sure you are on the best deal."
Winter is almost here. Compare energy suppliers and see what you could save on your utility bills either through the Energylinx website or by calling one of our advisors on 01259 220000.
Posted on October 12, 2017 at 01:12 PM
October 10, 2017
Energylinx is seeking a Microsoft Office whizz to join our team as an Assistant Pricing Analyst/Data Processor. The position will be based at our head office in Alloa.
The new team member will be instrumental in assisting in the day-to-day pricing operations of the business and helping the pricing team upload the latest energy price information into a central database. In addition, they'll provide pricing support to staff, customers and partnering organisations.
Job Type: Permanent
Hours: 35 hours per week. Flexible between 9am - 6pm Monday and Friday.
Benefits: The hourly rate is £9 per hour. You'll be entitled to 28 days holiday and have access to an employee benefits scheme run by Perkbox.
Main Duties will include:
* Receiving, converting and uploading energy supplier prices into a central database.
* Providing day to day assistance to the pricing team as directed by the Pricing Team Manager.
* Responding directly and promptly to supplier correspondence received in respect of submitted price matrix queries.
* Answering the telephone promptly, dealing with routine enquiries and taking appropriate messages
* Typing documents/reports, filing, developing and maintaining supplier records using Excel and Access software.
* Co-working with other pricing support and customer services staff
* General administrative assistance to the team
* All other such tasks as may be reasonably expected as instructed by the management team or Pricing Team Manager.
Requirements of Position:
* Good knowledge level of Microsoft Office products - particularly Microsoft Excel
* Normal hours of work 9am until 5:00pm Monday to Friday. However require to be able to work hours as required between the core hours of 9am until 6pm Monday to Friday
* Excellent interpersonal, organisational and communication skills
* An organised individual able to work to deadlines
* Proactive and ability to work on own initiative
* Team Player
* Attention to detail
* Organised - logical approach to work
* Tact and diplomacy
* Professional manner
Applications by email to email@example.com with the subject line: Assistant Pricing Analyst/Data Processor
Or you can send them by post to:
The E Centre
Closing Date: Friday 20th October 2017
Posted on October 10, 2017 at 02:04 PM
September 29, 2017
Energy regulator, Ofgem, has revealed it's currently consulting to deliver 'next day switching' - in a bid to make it easier for consumers to move energy suppliers.
The new rules could mean when a customer requests a switch to a new energy supplier before 5pm, they could be moved to their new supplier the next day - the longest a switch would take is 5 days.
This is a significant improvement on the industry average which is 2-3 weeks and switching to certain energy suppliers can take up to 6 weeks!
Ofgem says this process "can be unreliable and slow", and that it's resulting in putting households off switching due to the perceived "hassle".
"Switching currently takes on average two to three weeks, which compared with other markets already looks slow and out-of-date given rising consumer expectations driven by new technology.
"In a competitive energy market, it is vital that consumers can be confident that they can easily and quickly change their energy supplier, or else they may choose not to do so."
Ofgem has now proposed the creation of a "Central Switching Service" which will enable customers to request a switch by 5pm and be with their new supplier by midnight the following working day. This timeline will be expected from energy suppliers but Ofgem will only regulate energy suppliers to complete the customers switch within 5 working days.
The reform package is expected to deliver net benefits worth between £169 million and £1 billion to consumers.
Wondering what you could save on your energy bills by switching supplier - wonder no more! On average our customers save £401.82*. We offer an online energy comparison service or you can call one of our advisors on 01259 220000.
*20% of all users over the last 60 days (31 Jul - 28 Sep) achieved a saving of at least £401.82
Posted on September 29, 2017 at 10:51 AM
September 21, 2017
E.ON has committed to replacing its standard variable tariff (SVT) with a fixed term tariff for any customers that have a smart meter installed. In addition, any SVT customer who already has a smart meter with E.ON will be offered a move to a replacement one-year fixed tariff.
Starting in early 2018 standard variable tariffs will no longer be the default option for people coming to the end of their existing tariff. Instead, customers will have the option to 'roll over' on to the latest version of a fixed term contract. Existing standard tariff customers who have a smart meter, or who have arranged to have one fitted, will move to a new fixed term tariff with the same 'roll over' option or, if they really don't want to, they will have the possibility to opt out and remain on an evergreen variable tariff.
The new one-year fixed tariff will have a price fixed for one year to give customers security. Like a standard variable tariff, this fixed term tariff will have no exit fee and customers are free to engage with the market as they see fit. In the same way as today, customers will be prompted to consider all E.ON's tariffs to choose a new tariff that best meets their needs.
Michael Lewis, CEO of E.ON UK:
"Standard variable tariffs have had their day. Tomorrow is about customers feeling free to engage with the market with tariffs that work for them."
"We believe standard variable tariffs have had their day. Tomorrow is about helping customers engage with the market with tariffs that work for them. We want to take action now to make that happen for our customers and we'll work with Ofgem and BEIS over the coming months to make this a reality.
"For us, smart meters are a key means to achieve this move because they represent a natural opportunity for engagement with our customers and the new technology opens up a world of more accurate billing and greater choice. We'll be ramping up our activity next year so we're able to start taking thousands of people off standard variable tariff each week - added to which, their smart future will begin with a price drop.
"However, this isn't only about smart metering customers. We'll also be working on options for classic meter customers joining us or coming to the end of fixed term tariffs. This is about increasing engagement with customers and having better conversations about what they need from their energy supplier, making sure they have the tools and the knowledge to choose a tariff that best suits their needs."
Interested in switching your energy supply to E.ON? Energylinx offer a free and impartial energy comparison and switching service. You can arrange a switch online or by calling one of our energy advisors on 01259 220000.
All current E.ON customers can register for a smart meter to be installed. They can also select from a range of tariffs such as a fixed term contract or the new Cap and Track tariff so they can see the benefits of a fixed product whilst waiting for a smart meter to be installed.
Posted on September 21, 2017 at 03:07 PM
September 13, 2017
New data released by Energy UK has shown that the number of households that have switched energy supplier this year has already surpassed the total amount of customers who switched in the whole of 2014.
Nearly half a million customers (444,653) arranged an energy transfer in August 2017 - 30% more than the same period in 2016. Taking the total number of customers switching energy suppliers in 2017 to nearly three and a half million - surpassing the total number who switched for the whole of 2014 (3.4million).
Customers are benefiting from having a larger choice of energy suppliers, with over 50 energy companies currently in the market. Last month nearly a quarter of all switches (111,932 customers), moved to small and mid-tier suppliers from the larger suppliers.
This follows new data from the regulator Ofgem, revealing that the numbers of customers on standard variable tariffs has fallen by nearly one million in the last six months, following increased activity from energy companies to engage with their customers.
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK said:
"The UK energy industry is changing, and at a rapid pace. To see switching increase by nearly a third - an increase of more than 100,000 customers on the same time last year, shows that progress is being made. This is on top of many more customers moving to better deals with their own supplier, a sign of the continued efforts of suppliers to engage with their customers to ensure a fair deal for all.
"There are a record number of companies to choose from, and deals which could save you hundreds of pounds so our advice to consumers is check your deal today - you could save in no time at all."
If your fixed price energy tariff is coming to an end or you're currently on a standard tariff then Energylinx could save you money on your energy bills. Use our free and impartial online energy comparison service or call one of our advisors on 01259 220000. On average our customers save £395*.
*20% of all users over the last 60 days (15 Jul - 12 Sep) achieved a saving of at least £395.14
Posted on September 13, 2017 at 02:14 PM
September 1, 2017
Today the energy industry regulator, Ofgem, revised the Confidence Code. The revision comes after Ofgem published their decision on the partial implementation of the CMA's 'Whole of Market' remedy and revised Confidence Code requirements in July.
The Confidence Code is a code of practice to govern independent energy price comparison sites, Ofgem oversee the code. Energylinx is a member of the code, along with 10 others.
'Whole of Market' View
Last June, the CMA published their final report into the energy industry. One of the recommendations was that price comparison websites (PCWs) should no longer default to a 'whole of the market' view when a customer completes a quote on their website.
This has now, offically, be rolled out and confidence code members default results page will only include the energy suppliers that they can switch customers to. If a customer wants to view the 'whole of market' then every PCWs result page should have the ability to filter the results.
There has also been a proposed change to the Confidence Code wording to help address concerns consumers may have on whether to trust the results of the PCW. There will be a consultation on new wording to ensure that PCWs provide clear messaging about the market coverage that consumers see in the partial view. This is great for consumers, as it promises transparency and helps builds trust. It also provides the PCW the opportunity to explain the suppliers that they can allow customers to switch to.
Energylinx welcome this decision as it provides our customers with a better switching experience. By focusing the results page on energy suppliers that the customer can switch to and not the suppliers that they will have to go elsewhere for. The customer isn't losing anything from the new default partial view, as they have the power to compare the 'whole of the market' by applying that filter.
Tariff Listed in Price Order
Another decision is that accredited PCWs will have to list tariffs in price order, unless the consumer specifically asks for them to be ordered in some other way.
This is great news as it allows PCWs to add additional filters that can encourage customers to consider different factors such a as supplier ratings or customer satisfaction levels or any additional features rather than just focusing on cost.
Overall today's publication is positive from both the consumer and the PCWs point of view. It empowers the customer to make their own choices on what they can see in the results page and benefits the PCW because they don't have to default the results page to energy suppliers that they don't have a commercial relationship with, but were ultimately providing with free marketing and helping them gain new customers.
You can find the best deal for your energy supplier with Energylinx. Either online or by calling 01259 220000 and speaking to one of our energy advisors. On average our customer save £362*.
If you would like to read the revised Confidence code, click here.
*20% of all users over the last 60 days (3 Jul - 31 Aug) achieved a saving of at least £362.09
Posted on September 1, 2017 at 10:34 AM
August 30, 2017
Winter is coming... did you know that you could get £140 off your electricity bill for the winter of 2017/2018?
The Warm Home Discount (WHD) is a government scheme aimed at tackling fuel poverty throughout the UK. The money comes in the form of a one-off discount on your electricity bill between the months of October and March and applications for this period are now open.
Large energy companies support people who are in fuel poverty or who are at risk of it. Some smaller suppliers also voluntarily participate in part of the Warm Home Discount scheme.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for WHD policy and legislation and the energy industry regulator, Ofgem, has the role to administer certain elements of the scheme.
Criteria for the Warm Home Discount
You qualify for the discount if on 9th July 2017 all of the following applied:
• your electricity supplier was part of the scheme
• your name (or your partner's) was on the bill
• you were getting the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit (even if you get Savings Credit as well)
You may be able to apply directly to your electricity supplier for help if you don't qualify because you don't get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit but:
• you're on a low income
• you get certain means-tested benefits
• Check with your supplier to see if you're eligible and how to apply.
What suppliers take part in the Warm Home Discount?
Energy suppliers with over 250,000 domestic customers are required to participate in each element of the scheme.
The following energy suppliers offer customers the WHD:
Atlantic (Part of SSE)
GB Energy (Part of Co-operative Energy)
Manweb (Part of ScottishPower)
Sainsbury's Energy (Part of British Gas)
Scottish Gas (Part of British Gas)
Scottish Hydro (Part of SSE)
Southern Electric (Part of SSE)
If you think that you might be eligible for support under the scheme, you can find information on the Gov UK website or (if your energy supplier is listed above) by contacting your energy supplier.
Switch Energy Suppliers to Save More
You can also save money on your energy bills with Energylinx. Over the last 12 months all 6 of the big energy suppliers in the UK have increased their electricity prices substantially, so now it a good time to consider switching suppliers. If you want to make sure that you benefit from the Warm Home Discount then make sure you switch to one of the suppliers listed above.
If you would like to discuss your options with one of our energy advisors please call 01259 220000.
Posted on August 30, 2017 at 01:56 PM
August 16, 2017
Shopping around for your gas and electricity supplier can cut your utility bills by around £300 a year and you don't have to be in a credit with your current supplier to consider switching energy suppliers. In fact, it could help make it easier to repay what you owe.
Repaying a debt and switching
The options if you are in debt:
• If you've been in debt to your supplier for less than 28 days you can still switch. Any owed amounts will be added to your final bill from your old supplier.
• If you've been in debt to your supplier for over 28 days, you'll need to repay the debt first.
• If it's your supplier's fault you're in debt, they can't stop you from switching.
If you're in debt and have a prepayment meter
The options if you are in debt and a prepayment customer:
• As long as you owe less than £500 for gas and £500 for electricity, you can switch to a new supplier if you are paying off an energy debt through a prepayment meter.
• You are entitled to do so through the 'Debt Assignment Protocol'. This would mean your new supplier takes on the debt and you repay them instead, based on the new terms of your agreement with them.
• Prepayment tariffs are usually more expensive, so you may want to ask about the different options available to you, including if you can change to a standard meter. Most suppliers offer this for free, though some may charge.
If you are thinking about switching your energy supplier and don't know where to start, our advisors will be happy to help you. Please call 01259 220 000. We also offer a free and impartial online switching service. On average our customers save £322.70*.
*20% of all users over the last 60 days (17 Jun - 15 Aug)
Posted on August 16, 2017 at 02:59 PM