Energylinx News

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

April 20, 2017

Over half a million customers switched energy supplier in March


Energy UK released switching numbers for the first 3 months of 2017. They show an increase of 13% in March 2017 compared to the same month in 2016 with a total of 536,658 UK households switching energy supplier. That brings the amount of energy switches to above 1.3 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Last month consumers switching from larger to small and mid-tier suppliers represented more than a quarter of all switches (27%) reaching just over 145,000.

Switch to Save before the Price Hike

There's been increased press coverage around price increases from five of the "Big Six" energy suppliers. British Gas have announced a price freeze until August this year.

• 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.
• EDF putting up prices for the second time this year. From June 21st customers will pay 9% more for electricity and gas prices will increase by 5%.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK said:

"1.3m consumers switching already this year is further demonstration of competition in action in the retail market. Competition is driving up standards, innovation and investment as suppliers compete to keep and attract new customers. There has never been a better time to check you are on the best deal for you - and the Energy Switch Guarantee gives consumers extra confidence the process will be simple, speedy and safe."

We would urge any customers to run a comparison and see what they could save today. Energylinx offer a free and impartial switching service. You can do it online or by calling one of our expert advisors on 01259 220000.

Posted on April 20, 2017 at 09:48 AM

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

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