Thursday, 16 November 2017

Here's why energy should be simpler

Energy insider calls for fairer customer service

The Energy Advice Line has welcomed calls by an industry insider for the Big Six suppliers to introduce simple changes that would see customers paying less for their energy, and being treated more fairly.

Julian Morgan, managing directer of the price comparison, switching, and advice service for energy users, said regulators should heed the comments by First Utility, a leading independent supplier, and enforce the changes.

"First Utility has echoed what we have been saying for some time - that energy companies need to make simple changes, like actually talking to their customers, in order to restore trust and deliver them a better deal," Mr Morgan said.

"We hope that Ofgem takes on board what this supplier is saying and apply the recommendations across the market - and crack down on those who don't fall into line."

Ed Kamm, chief customer officer at First Utility, has claimed that the Big Six suppliers avoid communicating with their customers because they know customers are "overpaying".

Mr Kamm made the claims as he identified four simple changes suppliers should be forced to make to ensure households and businesses pay less for their energy and are treated more fairly. He said regulators should:

  • force suppliers to talk to their customers: customers who were prompted to supply meter readings or switch to a new tariff when their deals epired, were likely to pay less for their energy
  • call things what they are: 70% of major energy supplier customers are on a standard tariff, which generally costs hundreds of pounds more than the cheapest deal. Mr Kamm said there was nothing standard about this tariff and that it should be called 'out of contract tariff'
  • make switching easier: introduce 24-hour switching and fine suppliers who fail to get it right
  • make bills and tariffs simple: not succumb to pressure from suppliers to reverse recent changes that slashed the number of tariffs each supplier can offer to just four
Mr Morgan said all of the recommendations, especially making switching easier, could transform the relationship between customers and suppliers that had suffered so badly in recent years.

"If suppliers were customer-focused rather than profit-focused, all parts of the energy market would benefit, including suppliers themselves," Mr Morgan said.

"Customers should be told when cheaper deals are available, their tariffs should be simple to understand and it should be simple to change supplier if there are cheaper deals elsewhere.

"But this is not the way it works in practice. Suppliers have built their business models on discouraging customers from engaging with them or taking a pro-active approach to their energy supplies.

"It's got to change and we hope Ofgem takes heed of what this industry insider has to say."

The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.

This service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice line for business energy customers.

For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 2 November 2017

How much is your renewal?

Avoid expensive business electricity renewal prices

Customers need to be wary of not ignoring their renewal letter when it arrives from their current business electricity supplier.

A number of suppliers in the UK will tend to offer a renewal rate that is 30-40% in excess of the current retail price with the primary objective that the customer will not act on the letter so that the contract can be rolled over onto more expensive renewal rates.

The suppliers renewal letter is very misleading... 

A supplier's renewal letter can be very misleading in the way that it presents the price to the customer by using terminology such as "Don't worry, we are protecting your business prices for a further 12 months". If this terminology is used in the subject header of the letter many customers will trust their supplier and assume that the electricity rates detailed within the letter are competitive and the supplier is offering their best price first time.

A supplier intends to place you on an expensive renewal rate... 

This is unfortunately the case as most suppliers will always try and put business energy customers on a expensive renewal rate hoping that the letter is filed away and it is only when the customer gets their first bill after the roll over that they realise how much their energy spend has gone up. Unfortunately in many cases it is then too late to act and the renewal has been assumed.

Read more about 'Avoid Expensive Business Electricity Renewal Prices' here

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Energy price cap on the way

Energy price caps are on the way

Plans have been announced that aim to bring in a cap to energy prices, but what does this mean?

The draft legislation outlines how energy regulator Ofgem will gain power to cap tariffs known as 'Standard Variable Tariffs'. Unlike a fixed rate tariff, variable plans allow for prices to rise, and fall, depending on the changing market rates.

There are currently around 12 million households on a variable tariffs, and while it can work to your benefit when prices drop, there are currently no restrictions in place as to when these prices rise and you could face paying some very large bills.

Experts say that it is unlikely this price cap will come into force before the winter, but it is currently slated to last until 2020. Ofgem will also have the capability to extend it until 2023 if it decides this is necessary.

This cap won't affect all tariffs; pre-payment meters and green tariffs are exempt.

Julian Morgan, managing director of price comparison service Energy Advice Line, commented, "We're interested to see these caps come into place, and find out how it's going to properly affect the market. It's hard to say at this point in time how companies are going to react, but the chances are that the rates for these tariffs are most likely going to rise.

"The only way to get the best price for your energy, and save money along the way, is to check the market and see what options suit your usage - don't move to a capped tariff just because you think it's the right thing to do."

Energy Advice Line provides a free, no obligation quoting service that allows your business to check out the latest rates on the market and find the best price for your needs. Head to energyadviceline.org.uk to find out more and start saving today.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Our cold calling campaign continues

Energy Advice Line renews calls for cold calling

The Energy Advice Line has spearheaded a campaign for the energy regulator Ofgem to ban the practice of cold calling because it placed undue pressure on consumers to agree to energy deals that were not necessarily the cheapest available.

"Although this case related to automated calls, it highlights the lengths that some companies go to to pressure consumers to buy their product or service," Mr Morgan said.

"We firmly believe that truly independent and reputable price comparison and switching services should not resort to unsolicited telephone calls. In awarding the record fine, the Information Commissioner rightly described nuisance calls as a 'modern pest'.

"Chooseing an energy supplier is a cruical decision because a bad choice can cost a household or business hundreds of pounds, or even more in the case of large organisations.

"Consumers need time to consider their decision and not be placed under pressure during an unsolicited telephone call."

Mr Morgan said he was aware of cases where consumers had been called, repeatedly, in once case while they were attending a funeral, by unscrupulous energy 'brokers' using heavy pressure sales techniques to force them to agree to an energy deal.

He said in many cases these cellars were not independent, despite their claims to the contrary, and were often calling on behalf of a single energy supplier and therefore not necessarily offering the cheapest deals.

"We would like Ofgem or the Information Commissioner to investigate the practice of cold calling by energy suppliers and the third parties they sometimes engage to do it," Mr Morgan said.

"Consumers need to take control of their energy supplies and shop around to find them the best deals, and switch accordingly.

"Truly independent and reputable services like the Energy Advice Line would never engage in cold calling because we don't need to. Consumers trust us to help them shop around and we never pressurise them to make a decision.

"Unfortunately not all suppliers or price comparison services take the same view and consumers need to be protected from them."

The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.

The service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice line for business energy customers.

For further information visit energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Are you ready for winter energy bills?

50 per cent of surveyed firms can't pay energy bills

More small and medium-sized firms should seek help with reducing their energy bills says The Energy Advice Line.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users, said a new survey by Vickers Energy Group suggested firms were not taking control of their gas and electricity supplies.

"It's crucial for SMEs not to put their energy supplies in the too hard basket and just coast along hoping for the best," Mr Morgan said.

"Just because the lights are on and the printer is working, doesn't mean that your business electricity bills are sorted. When prices are high and volatile as they are at the moment, it's important to take charge to avoid paying much more than you need to."

According to the survey, almost 50% of firms said they didn't have "readily available" funds to pay for their energy bills and 75% said they were familiar with "bill shock" during energy intensive cold winter months.

Further, the survey found that 40% of SMEs had never been offered any help or advice on how to reduce their expenditure on energy.

Mr Morgan said more firms needed to pick up the phone and discuss their energy bills with an independent and reputable energy service like the Energy Advice Line.

"We have expert advisers who know all there is to know about energy bills and switching," Mr Morgan said. "Being on the right tariff is key and good advice is essential.

"Taking out a fixed term contract, for example, can significantly reduce the prospoext of "bill shock", which comes from not really knowing what you are paying for your energy.

"This security of knowing that your tariff will not increase over a certain period makes it much easier for a firm to budget for their energy bills and to reduce the risk of not having the money to pay a bill when it arrives.

"We can also advise on other ways to keep bills under control, like paying by direct debit.

"But most of all we can help firms find the cheapest available deals for the needs, and facilitate the switch so that it's seamless and easy. To do otherwise is to throw money away."

The Energy Advice Line is a consumer champion and an independent price comparison and switching service for householders and small and medium-sized businesses. The service enables consumers to quickly and simply compare electricity and gas prices, and to switch to the best available deal on the market.

The service also offers free advice and a contract management service, including alerts to remind business consumers when their fixed-term energy contracts are about to end.

For further information, visit energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 7 September 2017

What is collective switching?

What is collective switching?

The Energy Advice Line has welcomed an Ofgem ruling that requires energy suppliers to publicise "collective switch" tariffs on their Cheapest Tariff Message (CTM).

Suppliers are already obliged to include information on bills about the cheapest tariffs available and how much a customer might save by switching to the deal.

But under a new ruling, suppliers must also include details of the tariffs available through collective switches - those organised by a group of people who use their buying power to get a better deal.

Normally a customer would have to register with the collective before switching, but under the new ruling they will be able to switch after the collective rate has already been fixed.

"When carried out in a responsible and trustworthy manner, we value collective switches as an innovative way of engaging consumers and facilitating the switching process," Ofgem says. "Collective switches provide consumers, including the vulnerable, with another means of accessing better energy deals, which in turn enables them to save money."

But Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users, said it was important for consumers to examine collective switch tariffs very carefully as often they were not as cheap as they appeared at first glance.

"There's no reason why more customers should not benefit from collective switch tariffs, an innovative way of securing good deals and encouraging consumers to switch," said Julian Morgan, managing director of the Energy Advice Line, the UK's leading price comparison, switching and advice service.

"But it's important to look at the details of the tariffs and ascertain wehther it is genuinely cheaper than other deals available elsewhere. The collective may not have had access to the best deals, for whatever reason, so consumers need to be careful."

Mr Morgan said there was no better way to find the best deal than shopping around and checking the market.

"You should do this yourself or use the services of a reliable and reputable service like ours. Our quotes are quick, simple and you can compare this with what you are already paying, or the collective switch tariff publicised on the CTM.

"The important thing is to stay in control of your energy supplies, switch regularly and make informed decisions. That's the best recipe for saving money on your energy bills."

The Energy Advice Line is a concumer champaign and an indepdendent price comparison and switching service for householders and small and medium-sized businesses. The service enables consumers to quickly and simply compare electricity and gas prices, and to switch to the best available deal on the market.

The service also offers free advice and a contract management service, including alerts to remind business consumers when their fixed-term energy contracts are about to end.

For further information, visit energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Only 1/5 business shop around for energy

81% of SMEs don't shop around for energy

Most small and medium-sized firms were missing out on savings by failing to shop around for their energy supplies.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users, said he was shocked by the findings of the survey by independent supplier Opus Energy.

The survey found that 81% of small businesses failed to shop around for their energy supplies, while almost one-quarter were paying out-of-contract rates for their gas and electricity.

Significantly, 12% of businesses had never switched suppliers, opting to stay loyal to their existing energy company.

“It’s very clear, and actually quite shocking, to see that so many time-pressed small business owners and decision makers are simply not prioritizing their energy supplies,” Mr Morgan said.

“There’s no doubt that most of these firms are paying more than they need to by not switching – and depending on the size of the company and the sector they are in – this could amount to hundreds of pounds in lost savings each year.

“Those companies that have never switched suppliers have lost out the most, probably by a significant amount.”

Mr Morgan said many SME owners wrongly believed it was not worth their while to switch suppliers, and that it would be a long and complicated process to shop around.

“Nothing could be further from the truth, “ Mr Morgan said. “Using a reliable and reputable switching service like the Energy Advice line means business owners save themselves all the legwork. 
“And once we find them a cheaper deal, we handle the switching and provide a free contract management service as well. There’s no obligation and the service is free.”
Mr Morgan particularly appealed to small firms that had never switched suppliers, and those who were on expensive out-of-contract rates to shop around for good fixed-rate deals.
In other areas, the Opus Business Boost Report showed that the majority of UK SMEs were trying to manage their energy better and had adopted a positive attitude towards renewable supplies. 
Of the 500 SMEs surveyed, 78% said they were keen to be supplied with renewable energy and of these, 40% wanted it because of its smaller environmental impact and 38% to advance their green credentials. 
More than half (51%) of businesses already have smart meters to help them keep track of their energy use, although a fifth didn’t know how to use their meter.
The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.
The service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice service for business energy customers throughout the to of their energy contracts.
For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Energy should be simple - let's make it so

Energy insider calls for fairer customer service

The Energy Advice Line has welcomed calls by an industry insider for the Big Six suppliers to introduce simple changes that would see customers paying less for their energy, and being treated more fairly.

Julian Morgan, managing directer of the price comparison, switching, and advice service for energy users, said regulators should heed the comments by First Utility, a leading independent supplier, and enforce the changes.

"First Utility has echoed what we have been saying for some time - that energy companies need to make simple changes, like actually talking to their customers, in order to restore trust and deliver them a better deal," Mr Morgan said.

"We hope that Ofgem takes on board what this supplier is saying and apply the recommendations across the market - and crack down on those who don't fall into line."

Ed Kamm, chief customer officer at First Utility, has claimed that the Big Six suppliers avoid communicating with their customers because they know customers are "overpaying".

Mr Kamm made the claims as he identified four simple changes suppliers should be forced to make to ensure households and businesses pay less for their energy and are treated more fairly. He said regulators should:

  • force suppliers to talk to their customers: customers who were prompted to supply meter readings or switch to a new tariff when their deals epired, were likely to pay less for their energy
  • call things what they are: 70% of major energy supplier customers are on a standard tariff, which generally costs hundreds of pounds more than the cheapest deal. Mr Kamm said there was nothing standard about this tariff and that it should be called 'out of contract tariff'
  • make switching easier: introduce 24-hour switching and fine suppliers who fail to get it right
  • make bills and tariffs simple: not succumb to pressure from suppliers to reverse recent changes that slashed the number of tariffs each supplier can offer to just four
Mr Morgan said all of the recommendations, especially making switching easier, could transform the relationship between customers and suppliers that had suffered so badly in recent years.

"If suppliers were customer-focused rather than profit-focused, all parts of the energy market would benefit, including suppliers themselves," Mr Morgan said.

"Customers should be told when cheaper deals are available, their tariffs should be simple to understand and it should be simple to change supplier if there are cheaper deals elsewhere.

"But this is not the way it works in practice. Suppliers have built their business models on discouraging customers from engaging with them or taking a pro-active approach to their energy supplies.

"It's got to change and we hope Ofgem takes heed of what this industry insider has to say."

The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.

This service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice line for business energy customers.

For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Use batteries to slash your energy bills

Government launches first phase of four year plan

UK Government has launched the first phase of a four-year plan in order to bring down the average cost of domestic electricity bills.

The plan, cited at £246 milllion, is part of an investment into battery technology as a long-term vision including giant battery facilities around the National Grid to store excess wind and solar energy that is produced in preparation for a rise in demand.

Homes throughout the UK will be helped with solar panels in order to generate and store their own electricity, employing the new batteries in order to sell the remaining power back to the National Grid when it is not required.

Costs will also be reduced for both domestic and business customers who turn off their appliances at peak times, in favour of powering their equipment at the cheaper off-peak times.

Estimations from the government and Ofgem (the energy industry regulator) currently state that consumers could save between a massive £17 billion and £40 billion by the year 2050.

The first phase is to be known as the 'Faraday Challenge', named after the Victorian English scientist who studied electromagnetism and electrochemistry.

Plans include establishing a centre for battery research in order to make the UK a world leader in design, development and the manufacturing of electric batteries. The project will be lead by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in order to join the most innovative minds and best facilities with the goal of making products more accessible and affordable.

Earlier in 2017 a consultation was held with regards to the industry's strategy to increase productivity within the UK and received more than 1,900 responses from a variety of businesses and organisations.

Cleaner technologies remain the priority for the industry.

Business and energy secretay Greg Clark said: "A smarter energy system will create new businesses and high-skilled jobs, while making sure our infrastructure is able to cope with demand."

Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate and energy at WWF, said battery storage was a "game-changer" in the ability to produce clean power from renewables.

"These technologies give us flexibility to run on solar when the sun isn't shining, and be powered by wind when it is still.

"It will support the transition to electric cars and enable our homes to be more efficient - which means cheaper, as well as cleaner and greener energy."


It's always worth ensuring that both your home and business are running as efficiently as possible. This means that you can keep an eye on your energy expenditure and be aware of any unnessecary expenses that could otherwise be avoided. If you're unsure whether or not you're on the best rate for your energy spend, get in touch with our gurus for your free, no obligation, quote at energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Does better service mean better prices?

Consider service as well as price

Business energy users and households should consider customer service as well as price when choosing a supplier, according to the Energy Advice Line.

The call follows a newspaper survey that showed a huge disparity between suppliers when it came to total spending on customer service.

“Instances of very poor customer service and bungling by energy suppliers still abound and this comparison of spending sheds interesting light on possible reasons why,” Mr Morgan said.

“The difference between the highest and lowest spenders on customer service is significant, so it seems sensible to consider factors in addition to price when making a decision on which supplier to go with.”

The Telegraph newspaper defined customer service to including complaints handling as well as simple requests such as a change of address, and any technology that customers can use to communicate with their supplier.

Of those suppliers who responded to the request for information about spending on customer services, Scottish Power rated the highest at £42 per head per year. However, this included a one-off investment to improve out-of-date IT systems and does not reflect ongoing investment in customer services. Ofgem banned the firm from recruiting new customers last month until it had fixed its customer services problems.

First Utility was ranked second highest spender at £26 per customer each year, followed by British Gas (£16), E.On (£14) and npower (at least £6.67). EDF and SSE refused to disclose their customer services spending.

“We help countless customers each year who contact us in desperation and frustration at the terrible standards of customer service offered by their supplier,” Mr Morgan said.

“Resolving a problem with a bill, or even changing something as simple as an address, can prove to be a time-consuming and infuriating exercise. If you are a business this can be an expensive waste of time.

“We would urge all customers not to make price the only factor when choosing supplier, although value-for-money is obviously crucial.

“Our expert advisers, who know the energy industry well, can help you make the right informed choice.”

The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.

The service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice line for business energy customers.

For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Will independent suppliers help you save?

Seek small suppliers for best energy deals

The UK’s most highly rated price comparison and switching service for energy users has urged consumers in search of the best deals to seek out smaller independent suppliers.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the service ranked number one on consumer feedback site Trustpilot, said more independent suppliers were entering the energy market than ever and challenging the monopoly of the Big Six.

“The clear message for consumers is that there are highly competitive alternatives to the major players now and it makes sound financial sense to take a look at what the independents are offering,” Mr Morgan said.

“Consumers have made it clear that they have lost faith in the Big Six after years of high prices and lack of competition in the market. I am pleased to report that that situation has started to change.

“The suppliers on our panel now include more small and independent suppliers than ever before, and they’re offering highly competitive deals in a bid to take on the Big Six.

“We’re advising both domestic and non-domestic energy consumers to use a reputable and independent price comparison service like the Energy Advice Line to seek out the smaller players to see what they have to offer.

“These consumers could well save money and bag a better level of customer service if they do.”

Extra Energy, a highly competitive new entrant to the UK energy market, launched two new tariffs costing less than £940 in a bid to take the top spot for the cheapest dual-fuel energy tariff of 2014.

In November it was reported that more than 36% of all consumers who switched energy supplier had switched to Extra Energy to take advantage of the big savings being offered to homes and businesses.

The company claims that by running “a highly efficient and lean operation” that does not advertise it is able to pass on big savings to consumers.

Mr Morgan the business model adopted by Extra Energy and other new entrants to the UK energy market was proving very popular with business and domestic energy consumers.

“High prices, poor service and tarnished reputations of the big energy suppliers are prompting more and more consumers to consider their options,” Mr Morgan said.

“Lots of consumers are now switching to small, independent suppliers that might not be household names but are offering competitive deals and the prospect of better customer service.

“Smaller companies are often more nimble and customer-focused because they have to be competitive to get ahead. This is winning over customers who have lost faith in the Big Six.”

The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.

The service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice line for business energy customers.

For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Tax cuts for community energy

Unexpected cuts to renewable energy tax relief

Previously, the Government announced plans to slash the tax reliefs available to community energy projects by at least 30%. The plans to cut tax reliefs for community energy schemes to build new renewable power capacity such as solar and wind. Green campaigners have warned of the adverse affects this will have on the UK's renewable sector.

These changes were announced during the third reading of the finance bill last week and came about completely unexpectedly. No longer will investors in community energy projects be able to benefit from Enterprise Investment Schemes, or the Social Investment Tax Relief as well as other schemes. This in turn makes the investments less attractive due to the sudden decrease in monetary benefit.Earlier this year the Government announced subsidy cuts for domestic solar installations, also known as the feed in tariffs, by up to 87%.

The CEE carried out a survey during October with participation from 80 community energy groups - over 11,000 people were questioned. This survery revealed that 90% of the groups admitted their projects would struggle in the face of the proposed cuts. It is estimated that this change in the plans will lead to the loss of 27,000 jobs, not including the 1,000 already predicted as other solar energy businesses are closing down.

Solar was close to the point where it would be classed as subsidy free, and currently only adds £6 a year to a consumer's bill. Greenpeace energy campaigner Barbara Stoll accused the Government of making a "political choice, not an economic necessity".

Companies currently producing solar energy have blamed the planned subsidy cuts as the reason for their closure . They have caused uncertainty, however it could end up being a short-term issue as future announcements concerning a 'reset' will help to restore investors faith in renewable power.

The changes will come into force from 30 November this year. Financial secretary to the Treasury Dave Gauke has claimed that it will avoid the 'misuse' of the tax break by venture capital schemes. It was announced as part of the summer budget as the Government claimed to monitor the use of venture capital schemes by community energy to ensure that the schemes have not been abused, and ensuring they provide value for the tax payer.

As the energy sector continues to be brought into the limelight it serves as a reminder that it is just as important as ever to keep on top of your energy spend, and make sure your home and your business is continuing to be as energy efficient as possible. You'll thank yourself when the next bill arrives on your doorstep.

Always compare energy with an impartial expert, such as the Energy Advice Line, to make sure that the advice you are given is truly unbiased and completely reliable. Find out more at energyadviceline.org.uk.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Restaurants - take control!


Britain's catering sector should take control of energy costs by cutting waste and shopping around for better deals to recude it's £1.3 billion annual spend on energy, according to Energy Advice Line.

A survey of 150 restaurant owners, managers and chefs carried out by Big Six energy supplier E.ON showed energy worries came second only to staff issues, yet three-quarters admitted they didn't know how to reduce their energy consumption.

The research revealed that despite more than 80% of restaurateurs saying they considered sustainability when making business decisions, 75% said they do not have the tools and knowledge to make changes. Energy costs make up almost a quarter of overheads for the restaurant and catering industry, with an estimated 10% of this lost on wastage.

"The findings must be a major concern for the catering industry, which is one of the most energy-intensive sectors in the UK," said Julian Morgan, managing director of the Energy Advice Line, the UK's leading price comparison and switching service for consumers.

"It's estimated that reducing energy use by 25% across the industry could result in savings of £325 million - a significant amount for a sector where margins are often very tight.

"We urge small and large organisations in this sector to really take control of their energy costs - by implementing a workplace energy saving plan, and by shopping aorund for the very best energy deals.

"We understand that energy bills often languish in the too hard basket in the hospitality sector, but in reality this is the industry that can least afford to do that."

The survey revealed that the profit margin of an average UK restaurant was approximately 8%. With estimated energy savings of nearly 25% achievable in most restaurants, the research showed they could boost profit margins to around 12.6%.

Chefs and retaurateurs admitted to leaving on gas hobs, grills, deep fryers, heat lamps and ovens throughout service so that high quality food could be turned out quickly. The Carbon Trust estimates that the UK hopsitality sector generates the equivalent of about 8 million tonnes of carbon - greater than the entire carbon emissions of Costa Rica or Kosovo.

Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell and E.ON have launched a campaign to help small businesses save energy and money through a special Energy Toolkit created to help firms manage their energy use and plan efficiencies.

"Restaurants need to strike a balance between quality food and service and energy costs, for the sake of their bottom line and the environment," Mr Morgan said.

"It sounds hard but it's not - restaurateurs need to devise an energy saving strategy and get their staff to embrace the policy. There is a range of things they can do to save money - choosing energy-saving equipment, locating fridges and freezers away from hot kitchens, and considering induction hobs instead of gas just to name a few.

"But switching suppliers is the easiest way of all to cut costs. Restaurateurs are simply wasting large amount of money if they don't check the market for the best deals and switching suppliers accordingly."

The Energy Advice Line is a consumer champion and an independent price comparison and switching service for householders and small and medium-sized businesses. The service enables consumers to quickly and simple compare electricity and gas prices, and to switch to the best available deal on the market.

The service also offers free advice and a contract management service, including alerts to remind business consumer users when their fixed-term energy contracts are about to end.

For further information, visit energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 15 June 2017

What's the deal with smart meters?

Are smart meters all they're cracked up to be?

According to a report by Smart Energy GB, the recent roll out of smart meters has helped around three quarters of customers understand their energy bills better. But are the meters as efficient and as useful as the energy suppliers claim they are?

Nearly 80% of domestic energy customers have now begun taking steps to minimise their energy usage, for example turning off lights, not having the heating turned up as high, or even changing the way in which their household appliances are used. A simple display illustrating the use of energy is really helping people to further understand the way in which their energy spend is calculated.

However, one apparent flaw to the system is it's reliance on a mobile network to transmit the data back to energy suppliers, such as the meter supplied by Ovo. Despite the UK spending £11bn on the project, paid for by customer's bills, this is still an issue that will affect a large number of consumers living in the rural areas of the country. Even in built up cities there are still black spots where signal is weaker than it would be expected to be - and surely a customer would rather have this resource used for their own personal communication, rather than having it taken up by themselves and their neighbours to transmit extra data.

Earlier this year MPs on the energy and climate change committee warned that the government's programme regarding smart meter installation to homes by 2020 could end up as a 'costly failure' to the UK - particularly because of the meter's reliance on the mobile network, and how it is almost non-existent still in some areas of the country.

Smart Energy GB is continuing to promote their use for the domestic consumers, while insisting that a new network is being built in order to facilitate the use of smart meters in homes. "All smart meters in households across the country will run through a new, secure, dedicated national data and communications network, currently being built solely for smart meters. It is scheduled to go live in 2016 and will cover 99.25% of England, Scotland, and Wales," it says.

Do you have a smart meter for your home, or even your business? How has it affected you and the way your household manages their energy usage? Every household and microbusiness in Great Britain can have a smart meter installed as part of the national roll-out until 2020.

For the latest advice on your business energy contract speak to our team of professional advisors today energyadviceline.org.uk

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Which? reveals top energy deals for June

Which? announces best deals for June

Is your energy contract up for renewal this month? Are you looking to switch supplier and save yourself a bit of money at the same time?

The team at Which? have taken it upon themselves to go through some of the cheapest deals on the market so you can be sure that you're saving money.

They've compared how this year's deals stack up against this time in 2016, and the good news is that they're looking, on average, £100 cheaper. 

Check out the full article from Which? here.

What's next? If you want to change your tariff simply give us a ring on 0800 915 1800 and let us know which you're thinking of switching too. We can then compare it with your existing tariff to see what kind of a saving you could make, or if there's another tariff that's even better for you. You can also check our quotes online at energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 1 June 2017

What is the Energy Market Reform?

Energy Market Reform (EMR) spells higher prices for SMEs

Energy Market Reform (EMR) aimed at overhauling the UK’s power generation is likely to hit small and medium-sized firms hardest when it comes to price rises, according to the Energy Advice Line.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users, said the package of measures designed to ‘keep the UK’s lights on’ had now come into effect and would likely impact SMEs the most.

“We expect the EMR to have a significant impact on price rises over the next ten years, as suppliers need to spend £110 billion on new-generation infrastructure,” Mr Morgan said.

“In the short term, some suppliers have confirmed that 0.1p/kWh will be added to the price of energy in 2015, and these increases are likely to rise gradually but significantly over the next decade as investment increases.”

Mr Morgan said large intensive energy users such as those in the steel, cement and paper industries, would benefit from exemptions of between 50 and 100 percent of any energy price rise resulting from the reforms.

But he said offering big businesses cheaper power meant that smaller firms not included in the exemption, and households, could be left to pick up the tab.

“As ever, small businesses will have to be vigilant and clever when it comes to buying their energy and controlling their usage,” Mr Morgan said.

“The only way to keep bills down in this market for the foreseeable future is for firms to really take control of their energy supplies and be smart when it comes to choosing a supplier.

“This means using a reputable and impartial service like the Energy Advice Line to compare the market and switch suppliers regularly to stay ahead of the curve and avoid price hikes.”

The EMR is a package of measures designed to replace retiring nuclear and fossil-fuelled power stations that have reached the end of their working lives. New low-carbon generators are also needed to help meet Government environmental targets.

To encourage investment in low-carbon generation, the government is offering "contracts–for–difference" (CfD) whereby qualifying projects are guaranteed a minimum price for their electricity.
Another key mechanism will support lower carbon power generation, such as wind farms, as well as providing security for those who ‘keep the lights on’ by keeping their plants available as back-up for times when renewable sources are unavailable.

The government acknowledges the measure will contribute to higher electricity prices but says the increases will be less steep than they would have been if no action were taken.

The Energy Advice Line is a consumer champion and an independent price comparison and switching service for householders and small and medium-sized businesses. The service enables consumers to quickly and simply compare electricity and gas prices, and to switch to the best available deal on the market.

The service also offers free advice and a contract management service, including alerts to remind business consumers users when their fixed-term energy contracts are about to end.

For further information, visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Inefficient buildings cause bills to soar


Inefficient buildings cause bills to soar
Are you the owner of a new build? Looking to refurbish your business or remodel your home? Pay close attention as some efficiency claims are not quite what they seem.

Make sure you check your bill when it comes in and see if it sounds reasonable against your actual energy usage - anything alarming should be reported straight away to your supplier. There may be an issue with your bill, an incorrect meter reading provided, or your home is not as efficient as claimed when you purchased.

A study carried out by Bath University has uncovered statistics which highlight how the lack of follow up regulations mean that energy efficient buildings are failing their occupants. What is known in the industry as the 'performance gap' covers the difference between what a building is predicted to use and what it actually uses once the occupants have moved in.

Our buildings in Britain account for almost half of the country's greenhouse gas emmissions and the study proposes this could be cut if buildings act as they are predicted to.

After interviewing a series of building modellers it was found that they were unable to agree on what aspects of the building are most useful for energy efficiency, and what impact they actually make on the total of a bill each month or year.

The UK's Green Building Council has called for a method of certifying buildings that falls in line with the current certificates that we recognise for our electric appliances. This is currently not a legal obligation but could be something required in the future.

If you're unsure whether your bill seems reasonable or not, or would like to find out what the best rates on the market for your home are, contact Energy Advice Line. The free and no obligation advice service can look up what rates you should be paying, advise on the best choice for your situation, and manage the switching process for you if you would like to do so. For more information head to energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 27 April 2017

UK's coal free day

UK without coal powered energy for 24 hours

Statistics from the National Grid show that last week was officially the UK's first ever working day without relying on power from coal since the industrial revolution.

 The UK has relied on coal for power since it began using the fossil fuel and the only remaining plant (West Burton 1) went offline on Thursday 21 April 2017. Nation Grid tweeted the above graphic, highlighting the first period of coal free power since 1880.

This isn't the first time England has been powered coal-free, as during 2016 shorter periods were also successful - the largest of note being 19 hours. Coal's share of the market also dropped to 9%, down from 23% in 2015.

The government and energy industry have been working on making the country coal free as alternative methods of production develop - coal-free days will become more common as these options become more and more viable.

Coal was the main method of powering the UK until the early 1990s, and 2025 will see the forced closure of the last coal power station, as per existing government plans to move away from being reliant on fossil fuels and meet the UK's commitment to renewable energy.

Mainland Europe still hold the best record for using renewable power alone, last May Germany and Portugal had fossil fuel free periods.

Energy prices will continue to fluctuate as we move away from fossil fuels, and the only way to make sure that you are always getting the best price is to keep on top of the market. Not all tariffs have a penalty for switching mid-contract so if a better price comes up it pays to change. The Energy Advice Line handles the switching process for you, making it quick and simple. Find out more at energyadviceline.org.uk

Image courtesy of National Grid Twitter.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Small firms need to be protected

Energy Advice Line calls for better protection

The Energy Advice Line has joined calls for small businesses to be given the same consumer protections as domestic energy users.

The call comes as it emerged that business energy users would not receive the much-trumpeted announcement of a self-imposed price freeze by Big Six supplier SSE.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for domestic and business energy customers, said the plight of business energy users had been ignored for too long.

He backed calls by the Federation for Small Businesses (FSB) for a better deal for small and micro businesses. The FSB said they were disadvantaged compared to domestic energy users and large companies when taking out energy contracts.

"We support calls by the FSB for micro businesses to be given the same consumer rights as domestic consumers when it comes to energy," Mr Morgan said.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Seek independents when switching this year

Seek small suppliers for best energy deals

The UK’s most highly rated price comparison and switching service for energy users has urged consumers in search of the best deals to seek out smaller independent suppliers.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the service ranked number one on consumer feedback site Trustpilot, said more independent suppliers were entering the energy market than ever and challenging the monopoly of the Big Six.

“The clear message for consumers is that there are highly competitive alternatives to the major players now and it makes sound financial sense to take a look at what the independents are offering,” Mr Morgan said.

“Consumers have made it clear that they have lost faith in the Big Six after years of high prices and lack of competition in the market. I am pleased to report that that situation has started to change.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Government ensure failing SMEs are protected

The Energy Advice Line has welcomed a government initiative to protect failing but viable small and medium-sized firms from having their energy supplies disconnected.

Under the plans, struggling SMEs will have their gas, electricity, water and essential IT services safeguarded while administrators put together a financial rescue package.

Suppliers will have their payments guaranteed before other creditors so that they can be certain their bills will be prioritized. Only if bills remain unpaid 28 days after the rescue package has been implemented will they be allowed to disconnect services.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Smart meter deadline passes


Suppliers fail to hit back billing deadlines
Energy suppliers in the UK have failed to meet their self-imposed targets for reducing the amount of back billing to consumers. Those with smart meters have been hit with unexpected bills following smart meters not reporting usage correctly.

Suppliers predicted that late 2016 would have been the end to this practice, however, none of the Big Six or independent suppliers have achieved this. They are still back-billing for 12 months, as opposed to reducing the period to six months.

Smart meters are due to be installed into all UK homes over the next four years, and will provide accurate readings in real-time for generating more accurate bills and avoiding any nasty surprises. Over 2 million of the homes already using these meters have experienced some sort of problem with the accuracy and have had to make additional payments.

Previously, Ofgem had commended this plan as a great improvement for customers who may have struggled in the past to provide accurate meter readings in time for their bill each month. Billpayers would be protected from surprising costs if the ability to read meters in real time prevented the amount of inaccurate bills.

Citizens Advice has hit out at Ofgem to try and create a stricter regulation on this practice, highlighting "it’s not right that people with this technology should suffer because of suppliers’ mistakes". The service dealt with 1,500 smart meter issues in 2016 and almost a third of those issues were directly related to billing problems - doubling the amount dealt with in 2015.

SSE came under fire earlier in the year as a software issue meant that users were looking at bills of more than £30,000. They have since issued a statement to say that a fix has been issued and correct readings can still be accessed on the website.

Julian Morgan, managing director of Energy Advice Line, commented on the importance of getting smart meters right. "Consumers will be reliant on this technology to keep track of their energy spend and ensure that they are only being charged for what they are using. Back bills have always caught customers out and hopefully suppliers can stick to their promises to ensure that this can be avoided in the future."

Figures from 2016 show that smart meters have been installed in around 8% of UK households so far.

To make sure that you are always paying the best price for your energy, visit energyadviceline.org.uk and check out the latest costs on the market.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Let's support the SMEs

Energy companies letting down SMEs

The Energy Advice Line has welcomed calls by business leaders for small firms to be offered more help by energy companies to keep their gas and electricity prices down.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service, agreed with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) that energy companies could reap rewards by offering more tailored support to SMEs.

“Energy costs now represent a significant proportion of a small firm’s overheads but many owners are so busy with the day-to-day running of their organisation they don’t get around to developing an energy strategy,” Mr Morgan said.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Keep energy simple

Energy insider calls for fairer customer servce

The Energy Advice Line has welcomed calls by an industry insider for the Big Six suppliers to introduce simple changes that would see customers paying less for their energy, and being treated more fairly.

Julian Morgan, managing directer of the price comparison, switching, and advice service for energy users, said regulators should heed the comments by First Utility, a leading independent supplier, and enforce the changes.

"First Utility has echoed what we have been saying for some time - that energy companies need to make simple changes, like actually talking to their customers, in order to restore trust and deliver them a better deal," Mr Morgan said.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Are business energy bills a worry?

50% of surveyed firms can't pay energy bills

More small and medium-sized firms should seek help with reducing their energy bills says The Energy Advice Line.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users, said a new survey by Vickers Energy Group suggested firms were not taking control of their gas and electricity supplies.

"It's crucial for SMEs not to put their energy supplies in the too hard basket and just coast along hoping for the best," Mr Morgan said.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Consumers need lower prices

Ofgem need to investigate energy network costs

The Energy Advice Line has urged Ofgem to investigate network costs as a matter of priority in a bid to improve competition in the UK energy market and deliver lower prices to consumers.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy customers, said the costs were a significant factor in domestic and business energy bills and needed to be tackled.

The energy watchdog, Ofgem, has come under fire from MPs for failing to crack down on the energy distribution and transmission costs charged by network companies and passed on to consumers by suppliers.

MPs said the price caps intended to keep the costs down were too generous, and network costs were now a significant and overlooked factor in high bills.

Mr Morgan said the average dual fuel bill now cost more than £1,300 per year, with network charges making up almost a quarter of the total. Ofgem needed to do everything in its power to reduce the effective monopoly enjoyed by network companies such as National Grid, Scottish and Southern Energy and Northern Power Grid, he said.

“Ofgem claims it will take eight years to see whether value for money is being delivered to the UK energy market as a result of its regulatory reforms but this is too long for hard-pressed consumers to wait,” Mr Morgan said.

“It needs to put pressure on both network companies and suppliers to reduce these network costs and pass the savings on. There is ample room for customers to enjoy much better value for money.

“The system is also too complex and confusing for consumers, with prices varying around the country and many people very unsure about what these charges are actually for.

“It’s time Ofgem used its regulatory muscle to force energy companies to bring these charges down and it make this aspect of energy bills simpler.”

MPs have asked Ofgem to investigate the feasibility of a national tariff to simplify charging and make prices less volatile, and called on the government to do more to encourage smaller generators to enter the market to increase competition.

“While there are some things that consumers have no control over, like network charges, they can do what they can to keep their bills down by shopping around and switching supplier to make sure they’re on the lowest possible tariff,” Mr Morgan said.

The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.

The service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice line for business energy customers.

For further information visit energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Switch collectively and save on your bills

Suppliers need to show deals from collective switch tariffs

The Energy Advice Line has welcomed an Ofgem ruling that requires energy suppliers to publicise "collective switch" tariffs on their Cheapest Tariff Message (CTM).

Suppliers are already obliged to include information on bills about the cheapest tariffs available and how much a customer might save by switching to the deal.

But under a new ruling, suppliers must also include details of the tariffs available through collective switches - those organised by a group of people who use their buying power to get a better deal.

Normally a customer would have to register with the collective before switching, but under the new ruling they will be able to switch after the collective rate has already been fixed.

"When carried out in a responsible and trustworthy manner, we value collective switches as an innovative way of engaging consumers and facilitating the switching process," Ofgem says. "Collective switches provide consumers, including the vulnerable, with another means of accessing better energy deals, which in turn enables them to save money."

But Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users, said it was important for consumers to examine collective switch tariffs very carefully as often they were not as cheap as they appeared at first glance.

"There's no reason why more customers should not benefit from collective switch tariffs, an innovative way of securing good deals and encouraging consumers to switch," said Julian Morgan, managing director of the Energy Advice Line, the UK's leading price comparison, switching and advice service.

"But it's important to look at the details of the tariffs and ascertain wehther it is genuinely cheaper than other deals available elsewhere. The collective may not have had access to the best deals, for whatever reason, so consumers need to be careful."

Mr Morgan said there was no better way to find the best deal than shopping around and checking the market.

"You should do this yourself or use the services of a reliable and reputable service like ours. Our quotes are quick, simple and you can compare this with what you are already paying, or the collective switch tariff publicised on the CTM.

"The important thing is to stay in control of your energy supplies, switch regularly and make informed decisions. That's the best recipe for saving money on your energy bills."

The Energy Advice Line is a concumer champaign and an indepdendent price comparison and switching service for householders and small and medium-sized businesses. The service enables consumers to quickly and simply compare electricity and gas prices, and to switch to the best available deal on the market.

The service also offers free advice and a contract management service, including alerts to remind business consumers when their fixed-term energy contracts are about to end.

For further information, visit energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Don't put off relocation

Seek help when relocating your business

The Energy Advice Line has urged small businesses that need to move premises to get in touch after a survey showed 20% of firms put off relocating because they cannot face changing service providers.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users said it was unfortunate that so many business owners were staying in potentially inappropriate premises because dealing with suppliers was so hard.

“Small business owners should get in touch with us because we can sort out their business energy needs, leaving them free to get on with moving and ensuring their firms make a smooth transition to new premises,” Mr Morgan said.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Discounts needed for those in fuel poverty

Government should consider discounts for least well off

The government should consider introducing energy discounts for the least well off following fresh evidence that the UK's poorest households had been hardest by spiraling energy prices.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users, said the least well off urgently needed extra help to cope with their energy bills.

"The economic downturn has hurt all socio-economic groups, but for the poorest in the community it's been an absolute disaster," Mr Morgan said.

"The evidence is clear that the rising cost of energy has impacted low-income households particularly hard, with fuel bills rising more sharply than the cost of necessities like food and other housing costs.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Households save hundreds when switching

Average of £312 saved per household when switching energy supplier

Shopping around and switching suppliers is confirmed to lead to significant savings after a government programme saved 130,000 homes a combined £38 million, according to The Energy Advice Line.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users, said consumers who doubted the benefits of changing suppliers should heed the findings of the programme.

The DECC said 350,000 people had visited its website in the month after the launch, and 130,000 households had switched energy supplier. This was 80% more than over the same period the year before.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Don't put off switching!


The Energy Advice Line has urged small businesses that need to move premises to get in touch after a survey showed 20% of firms put off relocating because they cannot face changing service providers.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy users said it was unfortunate that so many business owners were staying in potentially inappropriate premises because dealing with suppliers was so hard.

“Small business owners should get in touch with us because we can sort out their business energy needs, leaving them free to get on with moving and ensuring their firms make a smooth transition to new premises,” Mr Morgan said.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Are you getting the service you deserve?


Consider service as well as price
Business energy users and households should consider customer service as well as price when choosing a supplier, according to the Energy Advice Line.

The call follows a newspaper survey that showed a huge disparity between suppliers when it came to total spending on customer service.

“Instances of very poor customer service and bungling by energy suppliers still abound and this comparison of spending sheds interesting light on possible reasons why,” Mr Morgan said.

“The difference between the highest and lowest spenders on customer service is significant, so it seems sensible to consider factors in addition to price when making a decision on which supplier to go with.”

The Telegraph newspaper defined customer service to including complaints handling as well as simple requests such as a change of address, and any technology that customers can use to communicate with their supplier.

Of those suppliers who responded to the request for information about spending on customer services, Scottish Power rated the highest at £42 per head per year. However, this included a one-off investment to improve out-of-date IT systems and does not reflect ongoing investment in customer services. Ofgem banned the firm from recruiting new customers last month until it had fixed its customer services problems.

First Utility was ranked second highest spender at £26 per customer each year, followed by British Gas (£16), E.On (£14) and npower (at least £6.67). EDF and SSE refused to disclose their customer services spending.

“We help countless customers each year who contact us in desperation and frustration at the terrible standards of customer service offered by their supplier,” Mr Morgan said.

“Resolving a problem with a bill, or even changing something as simple as an address, can prove to be a time-consuming and infuriating exercise. If you are a business this can be an expensive waste of time.

“We would urge all customers not to make price the only factor when choosing supplier, although value-for-money is obviously crucial.

“Our expert advisers, who know the energy industry well, can help you make the right informed choice.”

The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.

The service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice line for business energy customers.

For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Profit margins higher than estimated

Energy profit margins higher than Ofgem had estimated

The Energy Advice Line has welcomed calls by Ofgem for consumers to switch energy suppliers now in order to save up to £250 a year on their gas and electricity bills.

The call followed confirmation by the regulator that energy companies were failing to fully pass on the fall in wholesale gas prices they had enjoyed in the past year.

Quizzed by MPs this week about why suppliers had failed to deliver bigger price cuts to consumers, Ofgem chiefs agreed this was a “cause for concern”.

But they said they were focusing on encouraging consumers to change suppliers to make savings, adding, “generally it is a good time to switch”.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison, switching and advice service for energy consumers, said Ofgem’s advice was sound even when retail energy prices were falling.

“Most of the Big Six suppliers have now announced reduced charges for household gas after prices they pay in the wholesale market have fallen,” Mr Morgan said.

“However, this does not mean that consumers can sit back and assume they will enjoy dramatically lower bills. Sadly, this won’t be the case.

“Ofgem itself has raised concerns about why the size of the cuts being passed on are so small, and has pointed out that the best way for households and businesses to make the most of falling gas prices is to shop around, find the best deals and switch accordingly.”

The committee of MPs this week heard that Ofgem forecasts that customers' average dual-fuel bills will now drop by £21 to £1,305 in the year ahead.

At the same time, the profit margin per customer of a typical large supplier will rise to £114, £9 more than Ofgem estimated last November.

Energy companies have argued that the wholesale price of gas only makes up about half of a domestic energy bill and that they therefore cannot pass on the entire fall in the price they pay for energy.

But Mr Morgan expressed disappointment that the regulator and energy companies were still unable to agree on the basics of costs, prices and profits in the energy market after years of discussion.

“Suppliers and the regulator are still bickering about how profit margins are calculated, which is very disappointing and of no help to consumers at all,” Mr Morgan said.

“What ordinary energy bill payers need is a transparent and competitive energy market so that they can make fully informed choices."

The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.

The service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice line for business energy customers.

For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk