Energylinx News

July 14, 2016

Switching Numbers Continue to Rise

switching numbers rise.jpgIn June 360,000 households switched their energy supply - a massive 58% increase on the same month in 2014. In 2016 so far, more than two million customers (2,323,694) have switched energy suppliers, which is almost a million more than switched their energy supply in the first 6 months of 2014.

The latest electricity switching data also shows 120,115 customers switched to small and mid-tier suppliers in June which is 33% of all switches for the month. Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy UK, said:

"It is great to see more and more customers shopping around over the summer months before winter hits. Over two million people have already switched supplier in 2016 and they have taken advantage of the fantastic deals offered by more than 40 suppliers. Since June 2014 the cheapest tariffs have fallen by over £200. There are now around 50 deals under £900 on offer. The new Energy Switch Guarantee - launched by the Industry last month - has made it even easier for customers to switch."

In June 2016, of all switches:

• 43% were between larger energy suppliers
• 33% were from larger to small and mid-tier energy suppliers
• 14% were from small and mid-tier to larger energy suppliers
• 9% were between small and mid-tier energy suppliers

Find out what you can save on your energy bills with Energylinx. A free and impartial OFGEM accreditation energy comparison service.

Posted on July 14, 2016 at 03:00 PM

July 4, 2016

Free Energy? Well, for one day a week...

British Gas has launched a new tariff that offers free daytime electricity for one day at the weekend. In a deal that is being billed as the first of its kind- benefiting a 2.4 million customers currently supplied by British Gas and that have a smart meter installed. British Gas currently supply 11 million homes throughout the UK.

British Gas said the "FreeTime Tariff" would be its cheapest dual-fuel deal and give customers more control over when and how they consume energy. The tariff, the first to offer smart-meter customers free electricity, will be fixed until March 2018.

British Gas has been running trials on this tariff and said that the change in customer's behaviour has saved on average £60 per year. Those customers moved some of their energy consumption to the free period, which made up 11% of the average customer's usage.

Sarwjit Sambhi, British Gas's managing director of UK home, said:

"FreeTime is an industry first and will give our customers greater control of their energy use. This will be the first of many smart-meter innovations from British Gas which will also contribute to managing the country's demand for power from the national grid."

Smart meters allow customers to keep up with how much energy they use and track what it is costing them on a monitor. They do away with meter readings and are meant to give people an incentive to save energy and money.
Whilst the concept of free weekend electricity for customers with smart meters is a positive move by British Gas, the smart meter rollout is still in its early stages. Currently functionality across suppliers is still creating challenges. It is worth pointing out that there are also cheaper deals out there for customers, that would see them paying less than on British Gas' standard tariff.

Government figures show that the 2.75m smart meters installed in British homes make up 5.8% of all domestic meters operated by large energy suppliers. The big suppliers installed more than 540,000 meters in the first three months of this year. The government wants all of the UK's more than 26m homes to have a smart meter by 2020 and has required suppliers to offer one of the meters to all their customers. The push is part of the government's plan to upgrade Britain's ageing energy system and reduce energy use.

Interested to find out what you could save on your energy? Energylinx provide a free and impartial online comparison and switching service. If you would rather speak to one of our energy advisers then they are available Monday-Friday 9am-8pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm. The number to call is 01259 220 000.

Posted on July 4, 2016 at 02:51 PM

June 24, 2016

CMA publishes final energy market reforms report

CMA_Final report in to the energy market Today, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued their final report in to what has been a two-year long investigation in to the energy industry.

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (OFGEM) first referred the energy market to the CMA in 2014, a decision made at the height of concerns about the energy sector and after years of mounting fears. The main reason the decision to refer the market was made was (likely) due to the continuously rising cost of household energy bills. There had been a rapid increase in retail energy prices between 2004 and 2014: average annual domestic gas prices rose by around 125% in real terms over the period, and domestic electricity prices by around 75%.

Confirming provisional findings announced earlier this year, the CMA said that energy suppliers should be ordered to hand details of customers who have been on a default tariff for more than three years to OFGEM.

These details will then be used to build a database to allow rival suppliers to approach these customers, although it is intended that customers can opt out of this database at any time.

It is hoped that the database remedy will tackle the issue of low customer engagement in the energy market. The CMA's research discovered that large numbers of domestic customers do not engage in retail energy markets by shopping around or switching supplier. In a survey conducted of 7,000 domestic customers, 34% of respondents said they had never considered switching supplier and 56% said they had never switched supplier, did not know if it was possible or did not know if they had done so.

Reflecting this widespread lack of engagement, around 70% of the customers of the Six Large Energy Firms currently pay the Standard Variable Tariff (SVT), which is the default tariff (ie the tariff customers pay if they have not made an active choice), despite the fact that SVTs are much more expensive than alternative tariffs. For example, the dual fuel SVT customers of the Six Large Energy Firms (excluding prepayment customers, who, as noted below, have a very restricted range of tariffs) could have made average annual savings of around £330 in mid- 2015 if they had switched to another supplier. At Energylinx we can't say this enough, fixed priced tariffs are significantly cheaper than a suppliers standard tariffs, so shop around for your energy because you could save a small fortune.

A price cap will also be transitioned (2017-2020) in for the 4m households on a prepayment meter, this is intended to reduce the combined bill for these customers by £300m a year.The CMA believe that the detriment suffered by prepayment customers is particularly high and they have not been able to benefit from competitive prices in the same way as other customers due to the constraints we have identified.

Furthermore, the CMA announced that it intended to strengthen some of the powers that OFGEM had, which should allow the regulator to push through change more efficiently and to keep a closer eye on the marketplace.

The measures announced today are intended to increase competition in the marketplace and ultimately ensure customers can get the best deal possible on their energy bills. The CMA research also revealed that customers are currently paying £1.4bn more than they would be in a fully competitive market.

Roger Witcomb, chairman of the energy market investigation, said: "Competition is working well for some customers in this market - but nowhere near enough of them. Our measures will help more customers get a better deal and put in place a modernised energy market equipped for the future."

Read the full report here.

Posted on June 24, 2016 at 11:34 AM

June 16, 2016

Energy UK's Billing Audit Results are in...

Audit Picture.jpgThere was some good news for energy suppliers this week, figures from Energy UKs 2015 Billing Code Audit shows an improvement across the board.

Energy UK worked closely with five of the "Big Six" Energy Suppliers; British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, RWE npower and ScottishPower to develop the billing code. The code currently only applies to domestic customers and sets voluntary standards to go over and above the supplier standard licence conditions.

Participating energy suppliers are judged against five key commitment areas: switching, meter reading, energy bills and statements, payments, and back-billing. Although other energy suppliers undoubtedly follow the principles of the billing code, they are not audited to the same strict standards as members of the code.

An audit is carried out of the five code members each year to make sure that they are continuing to follow it. Of the five members, two suppliers received a gold rating for their audit - British Gas and EDF Energy. E.On and ScottishPower received Bronze and RWE nPower didn't receive a rating due to billing issues the supplier experience in 2015.

General findings of the audit showed in the majority or cases, suppliers are billing customers properly and have robust processes and controls in place. The auditors found many areas of good practice particularly when it came to meter-reading and back billing.

From a consumer point of view, it looks as if the Energy UK's billing code framework is helping energy suppliers to identify issues before they became a serious problem. This is potentially stopping customers receiving bills in error and unnecessary stress that can inevitably cause. Notably, the suppliers that achieved the highest rating this year have also seen a reduction in billing complaints.

Energy UK Chief Executive Lawrence Slade said:

"The latest audit results are testament to the work suppliers are doing to improve the standard of service for their customers.

Energy suppliers are striving for improved conversations with their customers. It is important for customers to check their bills and to get in touch with their supplier if they have any questions."

Posted on June 16, 2016 at 01:40 PM

June 8, 2016

The Energy Switch Guarantee

Energyswitch Logo.jpg

In a bid to give consumers more faith in the energy industry, Energy UK have launched an agreement between energy suppliers and the UK Government called the Energy Switch Guarantee. The Guarantee promises UK Consumers that when they switch their energy supply it will be efficient, problem-free and completed within 21 days.

The Guarantee is made up of 10 commitments. It is hoped that by energy suppliers adhering to these obligations, consumers' confidence and understanding in the switching process will improve and it will encourage them to switch their energy supplier.

The guarantee will act as a reassurance to customers that have never previously considered switching their energy supply. After all, energy suppliers all use the same wires and pipes and switching energy supplier should never cause any disruption to your energy supply.

Energy suppliers that sign the guarantee will regularly have their standards related to the commitments inspected to ensure compliance is being met. Currently there are 9 suppliers signed up, however over time Energylinx expect many more to follow suit. The suppliers currently signed up are; British Gas, E.ON, EDF, First:Utility, Flow, nPower, Octopus Energy, Sainsburys Energy, So Energy.

Lawrence Slade, CEO Energy UK said:

"It's fantastic news to see that nearly two million people have switched supplier since the beginning of the year. The new Energy Switch Guarantee will give customers the extra boost of confidence to engage in the market.

Industry has been working hard to put customers at the heart of what we do and with the CMA set to give its final recommendations, the Guarantee is certainly a step in the right direction. The aim is to reach out to those customers who have never switched before so hopefully we'll get millions more households engaging in the market."

The Guarantee has come on the back of a switching high in May. 350,000 households changed their gas and electricity last month - a 47% increase on 2015. 2 million customers have switched their energy supply in 2016 so far.

Energylinx is the only energy comparison website that will tell you when a switch is covered by the Energy Switch Guarantee. Giving you extra piece of mind when changing energy suppliers. Not only is switching easy, safe and efficient - it can also save you money. Get a quote for your household energy costs by clicking here or give one of our friendly energy advisers a call on 01259 220000.

Posted on June 8, 2016 at 10:19 AM

May 17, 2016

Switching high for the third month in a row

The amount of households switching their energy supply has surpassed 400,000 for the third month in a row, with 438,166 switches in April. This brings the number of switches for year to date to over 1.5 million.

April figures show the number of switches to small and mid-tier suppliers has remained consistent with 43% of switches last month.

Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy UK, said:

"It is great to see electricity switching is becoming more common practice among customers, with switching once again surpassing 400,000. This shows customers are taking advantage of the number of deals on offer from the 40 suppliers in the market, as they continue to fight for customers.

Customers should feel confident switching as suppliers have worked hard to ensure the process is hassle-free for all."

In April 2016, of all switches:

• 37% were between larger suppliers
• 43% were from larger to small and mid-tier suppliers
• 10% were from small and mid-tier to larger suppliers
• 9% were between small and mid-tier suppliers

In April the net gain by small and mid-tier suppliers was 145,737, this is 33% of all switches. This is in line with the previous month, where small and mid-tier suppliers also had a 33% net gain.

Movement between small, mid-tier and large energy suppliers.jpg
SOURCE: Electralink

Looking to switch your energy supplier? Energylinx provide a free and impartial comparison and switching service. Visit www.energylinx.co.uk or give one of our friendly advisers a call on 01259 220000.

Posted on May 17, 2016 at 03:58 PM

May 10, 2016

Does your old energy supplier owe you money?

It is estimated that 11 million households are in credit with their energy supplier. The amount owed? A staggering £1.5 billion! It is believed that as much as one in ten are owed over £200.


myenergycredit332.jpgMy Energy Credit launched back in September 2014 to help tackle the amount of money energy suppliers had never paid back previous customers. All of the "Big Six" energy suppliers signed up. My Energy Credit helps people who haven't given a final meter reading or address when they moved or switched supplier. No matter how long has passed, legitimate claims will always be refunded. The average credit balance is around £50.

Reclaiming any possible credit is easier than ever before as energy regulator, OFGEM, has implemented new rules forcing suppliers to reimburse you if you ask - unless there is a good reason not to do so.

Energy UK, the trade association for the UK energy industry, issued a statement on the amount of credit that is hold to UK households by energy suppliers.

Lawrence Slade, chief executive of Energy UK, said:

"Energy companies have traced customers who have left behind credit balances and returned tens of millions of pounds over the past 18 months. It is impossible to give an exact figure for the amount of money currently owed to customers. Companies return money daily and, with around 400,000 households switching every month and more moving house, the figure fluctuates almost on a minute by minute basis.

The important thing is no matter when you moved or switched you simply need to demonstrate you were the bill payer and your former supplier will check and return any money owed. My Energy Credit was designed to raise awareness of the issue and companies have kept their own records of amounts returned."

To find out whether you are owed any money visit My Energy Credit by clicking here.

Posted on May 10, 2016 at 04:26 PM

May 3, 2016

The amount of households switching their energy supplier has gone up

Houses-in-Bristol-England-001.jpgThe amount of households that switched their energy supply in the first quarter of this year is up 8% from the same period last year.

The figures below highlight the amount of customers that switched between January and March 2016:

• 855,599 gas customers switched energy tariffs

• 1,090,531 electricity customers switched energy tariffs

• 52% of those who switched across both fuels moved to an independent supplier.

Despite the increase in households switching, data from energy regulator, OFGEM, has shown that as many as two thirds of UK households could still save up to £325 by moving from their current energy supplier's standard tariff, on to a cheaper fixed-term price plan. Meaning there is plenty of savings to be made by the 17.8 million households that haven't switched.

A trend appearing in the switching data is the amount of consumers that are moving to an independent energy supplier. 52% of households that switched, moved to one of the 40 smaller energy suppliers. Previously a market dominated by the "Big Six" energy suppliers, now has smaller suppliers holding 13% and 14% of the electricity and gas markets respectively.

Rachel Fletcher, OFGEM Senior Partner, Consumers and Competition, said:

"It's encouraging to see a continued rise in the number of people switching, and an increasing number of suppliers entering the market. There has never been a better time to switch suppliers and you could save up to £325 according to our latest figures. It is easy to do and OFGEM offers impartial advice on switching through it's Be an Energy Shopper website."

Have you looked to see what you can save yet? It could make a massive difference to your household bills! Visit www.energylinx.co.uk to use our free and impartial comparison calculator or one of our energy advisor's on call 01259 220000.

Posted on May 3, 2016 at 04:14 PM

April 26, 2016

Scottish Power forced to pay £18m after customer service failings

Energy regulator, OFGEM has fined Scottish Power £18m for customer service failings linked to a new computer system. The money will go towards vulnerable customers and charity.

OFGEM said that Scottish Power failed to treat its customers fairly, with inadequate call handling, complaint resolution and billing.

More than 300,000 customers across the UK received late bills and there was more than 1 million complaints between June 2013 and December 2015.

OFGEM chief executive Dermot Nolan said:

"Scottish Power let its customers down during the implementation of a new IT system. When things went wrong, it didn't act quickly enough to fix them. This created frustration and worry for many customers, who also wasted a lot of time trying to contact the supplier by phone.

The £18m payment sends a strong message to all energy companies about the importance of treating consumers well at all times, including while new systems are put in place."

OFGEM said Scottish Power had improved its customer service and co-operated during the 18 month investigation. Claiming that the average call waiting time, the rate of abandoned calls and the number of Ombudsman cases had all more than halved. In addition, the number of late bills had fallen by three-quarters.

Neil Clitheroe, Scottish Power's head of energy retail and generation, said:

"Scottish Power has worked with OFGEM throughout this investigation. We apologise unreservedly to those customers affected.

In order to upgrade our old IT systems, we invested £200m on new technology to allow us to deliver smarter digital products and services to benefit our customers.

During the complex transition between systems we encountered a range of technical issues. This led to an unacceptable increase in complaints and reduced the quality of our customer service.

I gave a guarantee that no customer would be left out of pocket by these issues and we continue to compensate customers who have been affected."

The penalty is the third-largest imposed by the regulator. In December, it ordered Npower to pay £26m for sending out inaccurate bills and failing to deal with complaints correctly.

Posted on April 26, 2016 at 11:11 AM

April 19, 2016

Collective Switching: are you really getting the best deal?

There has been a steady increase in the number of organisations and groups offering collective switches to their customers or members. They all promise the same thing; the very best deal and cheapest energy tariff on the market.

But are they all they are cracked up to be?

What is a Collective Switch?

A collective switch is when a large group of people get together and use their shared buying power to negotiate a better deal from energy suppliers. The idea behind a collective switch is that the more people that are involved in a switch, the bigger the buying power and the better the deal is likely to be.

Quite often collective switches will offer the cheapest energy tariff on the market, but the headline grabbing figure isn't always the cheapest energy deal on the market for everyone.

If you have taken part in a collective switch then you will have received a competitively priced energy tariff that saved you money on what you had previously been paying, but there could be more money to be saved and through a process that is quicker than a collective switch. How? By taking just a few minutes to do an energy comparison on-line or let someone else do it for you by phoning an energy comparison website.

Take a recent collective switch organised by One Big Switch Scotland. The aim was to get as many Scottish households to register for the collective switch as possible. It was actively promoted on TV, social media, the radio and the press. During the registration period more than 44,000 households signed up to this particular collective switch.

The winner has now been announced and it is a fixed price dual fuel tariff from First Utility. For the average energy user (3,100 kWh or electricity and 12,500 kWh for gas) the cost will be £771 per annum.

A quick comparison on Energylinx switching platform shows that for an average user in the FK10 area, a tariff at this cost wouldn't even rank in the top 15 (it would be 17th). With the cheapest tariff on the market being £56 less than the winning collective switch tariff.

PersonalProjection_FK10_1904.jpg

Source: Energylinx comparison and switching service.

For a G67 postcode the winning tariff ranks slightly better at number 13. For a DD1 postcode higher again in 11th place, but in no comparisons that Energylinx ran, did the One Big Switch winning tariff top the list and even if you're not a typical user - meaning you either use lots of energy or very little energy - in many postcodes One Big Switch still isn't the best deal for you.

Unlike a lot of collective switches, One Big Switch don't claim to be offering the best deal on the market, but for the 44,000 people that have registered for the collective switch there are bigger savings to be made.

Don't believe us? Check it out for yourself. Click here to be taken to Energylinx's comparison tool or give one of our friendly advisers a call and they will do all the work for you. All we need to know is address, current energy supplier, tariff and usage. That is it! Call 01259 220000 and we will find out what you could save, today.

Posted on April 19, 2016 at 08:45 AM