From day one council-backed energy retailers have faced questions over their viability. Following high-profile losses, upheaval on company boards and now the appointment of advisors at two such suppliers, are we seeing the dying embers of this particular experiment? Adam John looks for answers in the cases of Robin Hood Energy and Bristol Energy, as well as talking to Together Energy's Paul Richards about his partnership with Warrington council and to experts about the future for white label agreements with local authorities.
SSE has urged government to use “robust” carbon pricing to decarbonise the power sector by 2040 and bring forward the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans to 2030. The energy company, which has exited domestic supply to focus primarily on renewable generation, transmission and distribution, also urged policymakers and regulators Read more...
SSE has submitted a five-point action plan to the government, aimed at putting the net-zero journey at the heart of the post-pandemic economic recovery. In it, the company says that setting a new target for decarbonising the power sector by 2040 could be the cornerstone of any green recovery.
In our latest review of sector coverage across the national newspapers, Ofgem is urged to defer an estimated £500 million bill for balancing costs arising from Covid-19; energy suppliers warn of the impact of rising delinquency rates among business customers and an appeal against new gas turbines being constructed at Drax Power Station is dismissed.
Ofgem has reduced the allowed budget for the connection of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant to the transmission network by £60 million. The Hinkley Seabank project will involve the installation of 49 kilometres of overhead power lines – mostly using the new “T-pylon” design rather than traditional lattice towers – as well as 8.5 kilometres of underground cabling through the Mendip Hills.
Hundreds of renewable energy projects may be asked to turn off this weekend to avoid overloading the grid as the UK’s electricity demand plummets to record lows.
Britain’s demand for electricity is forecast to tumble to a fifth below normal levels due to the spring bank holiday and the shutdown of shops, bars and restaurants mandated by the coronavirus lockdown.
Ofgem has exempted the electricity system operator at National Grid from a requirement under EU regulations to move to a 15-minute imbalance settlement period from the end of 2020. It said its cost-benefit analysis indicated the change would incur net costs to consumers of between €615 million and €1.82 billion.
Talks are believed to be underway between Ofgem and energy suppliers over the possibility of suspending network charges for three months. Neil Cornelius, managing director at global consulting firm Berkeley Research Group (BRG), warned such plans could risk retailers building up additional debts.
Companies across the sector have a duty to help the 2,600 people who will be made redundant by Ovo Energy, the chief executive of Energy and Utility Skills has argued. Nick Ellins cited a skills gap of around 250,000 people within the sector which will need to be filled.
Ovo Energy is to make 2,600 staff redundant by the end of the year. The company cited customers switching to online self-management and a slump in home engineering visits exacerbated by lockdowns. However, cuts were on the cards since it paid £500m to acquire SSE’s domestic accounts in January. Voluntary redundancies are targeted. On what Read more...
Ovo Energy says the rapid change in consumer behaviour as a result of the lockdown has prompted the faster integration of its business with SSE Energy Services, meaning 2,600 roles are set to go in 2020. The GMB union has accused the company of a “betrayal of promises” made to workers when it completed the acquisition SSE’s retail arm at the start of the year.
Ovo Energy is understood to be making 215 staff redundant from its Home Services division. According to the GMB union, the retailer is planning to outsource the work instead - a move it described as Ovo wanting services “on the cheap”.
App-based energy supplier Pure Planet will introduce more tariff offerings to its customers, after currently only offering one variable tariff. A fixed tariff will go live in June, with more planned in due course.
Ofgem has approved a series of temporary changes to gas settlement arrangements to manage the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The modifications to the Uniform Network Code (UNC) all emerged from a specially convened session of the UNC distribution workgroup held in April.
Green Star Energy is to compensate more than 7,000 customers after failing to issue them with the terms of their supply contract within a reasonable time. The supplier is now in the process of paying compensation of £30 to each affected customer in recognition of poor service and the fact that these customers did not receive welcome packs.
Ofgem has permitted Ovo Energy to recoup £711,000 of costs incurred as result of SSE’s appointment as the supplier of last resort for Brilliant Energy. The claim was made by Ovo Energy following its acquisition of SSE’s retail business for £500 million in September 2019.
Ofgem has approved a modification to the Connection and Use of System Code that will end the double charging of storage for balancing services as promised by the regulator almost three years ago in its smart systems and flexibility plan. The amendment will mean storage operators only pay Balancing Service Use of System charges on exports of electricity and not imports too as is currently the case.
ElectraLink said the massive decrease began at the end of March meaning that April saw a decrease in non-essential installations of almost 95 per cent compared to the same month in 2019. There were fewer than 12,000 installations in April, all of which were essential and would have needed justification such as restoring supply to a site or rectifying a fault.
Due to social distancing measures to ensure the safety of households and field engineers, non-essential smart meter installations were heavily reduced from late March. As a result, April 2020 saw a decrease in smart meter installs of almost 95 percent compared to the same month in 2019.
There were fewer than 12,000 installations in April, all necessary events that would have needed justification such as restoring supply to a site or rectifying a fault.
EDF’s managing director of retail Philippe Commaret talks to Utility Week about restarting field operations and how the industry will have to overcome a reluctance from the public to permit workers in their homes. He also discusses plans to re-introduce furloughed workers.
Ofgem has published a draft direction which outlines an updated framework for the Data Communications Company’s performance incentives. The regulator is now consulting on a revised OPR framework, including proposals for incentivising DCC’s system performance under four new outcome-based measures, broken down by meter type and region where relevant.
Eon doubled group first quarter revenues after bringing Innogy into the fold. Revenues stood at £15.6bn with earnings up 34 per cent to £1.29bn. However, Eon’s UK operation fell from a £57m profit last quarter to a £12m loss after it bought troubled supplier Npower onto the books. Eon took possession of Npower last year, Read more...
We’re seeking views on the proposal to defer to 2021 quarter 1 part of the amount of the increase in electricity suppliers' obligations for 2020 quarter 2 which would otherwise be collected in July by the Low Carbon Contracts Company.
We showed last month how the effects of COVID-19 and lockdown measures had begun to impact consumer behaviour and participation in the energy market, after a severe drop in switches started in March 2020.
According to data published today from the Energy Market Data Hub (EMDH), GB switching continues to be negatively impacted as April 2020 recorded both month-on-month and year-on-year decreases in switches started and completed:
There were 481,000 changes of supplier (CoS) completed in April.
Ofgem has given preliminary approval to a request from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks for £23.4 million of funding to remove several stretches of overhead power lines from a national park in Scotland and replace them with underground cables. The regulator said its initial view is that the project is “economical, efficient, and justified”.
Ofgem said social distancing measures meant suppliers may not be able to carry out their obligations and therefore become exposed to levies. Two levies have been suspended in total and will remain so until further notice.
Council-backed energy supplier Robin Hood Energy has appointed Deloitte to advise the company as part of a strategic review, Utility Week can reveal. The supplier, owned by Nottingham City Council, is the second such retailer to announce it has appointed advisors this week, with Bristol Energy bringing in Ernst and Young.
A poll commissioned by the regulator found 56 per cent of respondents believe they are using more energy than normal for the time of year, rising to 75 per cent among families with children. Despite this only 35 per cent have given consideration to the likely impact of this on their bills.
As an app-based supplier, Pure Planet is already well-versed in solving customer issues without the need for call centres. The retailer's three co-founders talk to Utility Week about how coronavirus is forcing other suppliers to follow their digital lead. They also share their thoughts on the need for flexibility from networks and how methods of expanding help to vulnerable customers are already staring the industry in the face.
Eon UK is combining its business retail arm with Npower Business Solutions as part of the merger between the two energy giants. The move will create one of the UK’s largest business energy retailers, with both brands having around 57,000 I and C customers combined.
Eon and Npower’s business energy supply units are to merge. Npower’s business supply unit was originally left out of the deal which saw its domestic retail division being rolled into Eon after the German parent companies did an asset swap. However, Eon said it now makes sense to bring everything under one roof. “Bringing together Read more...
Bristol City Council has appointed EY to conduct “a full and thorough assessment of Bristol Energy’s structure and future business viability”. That structure may lie outside of council ownership, if a buyer can be found. The news comes six weeks after the council brought in Allan Booth to try and turn the tide at the Read more...
Council-backed power supplier Bristol Energy has appointed Ernst and Young as financial advisors. Managing director Marek Majewicz was terminated as a director earlier this year and replaced with turnaround specialist Allan Booth.