Energy Reset

Utility Week's latest campaign sets out a vision for reforming the energy retail market.

Editor's picks

“Truly horrific” is how Scottish Power’s chief executive recently described the looming winter energy bill crisis. As such it’s time for a massive shift in policy and approach. Writing for Utility Week Keith Anderson says with the Queen’s Speech due in a few weeks’ time, the government must consider how to introduce a social tariff to protect those most in need.
Opinion
News of April’s price cap saw a 50% year-on-year increase in activity on price comparison websites (PCWs) in March, the latest data from Electralink has revealed. As a result 174,000 switches were started in March 2022 which is 81% less than March last year but 22% more than February 2022.
News
Ofgem wants suppliers to ringfence customer credit balances and renewables obligation (RO) payments to try and fix what it calls a “moral hazard” in the energy sector. One industry source told Utility Week they had major concerns about the proposals. They accused the regulator of coming out with "some quite draconian measures on credit balances".
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Latest in Energy Reset

Marking the record increase to the energy price cap, National Energy Action’s director of policy Peter Smith criticises government support as being inadequate. He warns of a “worrying lack of understanding” of the consequences for many households and says a failure to properly plan for the winter ahead is “inexcusable” and will result in a “public health catastrophe”.
Opinion
Ofgem is “completely under-resourced” to deal with the current turmoil in the energy market, Martin Lewis has said. Giving evidence on Tuesday (22 March) to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, the Money Savings Expert chair also said the regulator needs to be “much tougher” with energy firms that hike direct debits.
News
In the face of increasing volatility in power prices driven by the war in Ukraine, all eyes are on the Chancellor’s Spring Statement and the government’s energy supply plan to provide further support to mitigate future bill shocks. David Blackman examines the levers at the government’s disposal.
Analysis
Chris O’Shea has called for suppliers’ licences to be revoked if they fail to ensure that customer credit balances are “properly” protected. In a letter to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, seen by Utility Week, the Centrica chief executive outlined licence revocation as one of the “robust sanctions” which should be put in place to safeguard credit balances.
News
Address management has always been a surprisingly and fiendishly difficult task for utilities, with considerable risk involved in getting it wrong. With next-day switching requirements imminent, and a slew of UK supplier collapses creating more bulk switching events, the pressure is on utilities now more than ever to get a handle on the crucial operational issue.
Market insight
For a number of years, the success of the energy market has been judged on high rates of switching among customers looking for cheaper tariffs. Switching reached its zenith in 2019 when more than 6 million customers moved supplier. Since then, the pandemic and the energy crisis have brought the numbers crashing down. Continuing our Energy Reset series, industry experts say this is an opportunity to shift the focus away from price and towards the relationship between retailer and customer.
Analysis
Ofgem has ruled that energy retailers will be barred from offering cheaper, exclusive tariffs to lure new customers on a temporary basis, as part of its twin-pronged package designed to stabilise the market. One supplier has already called for this temporary measure to be made permanent. The regulator has also introduced a new Market Stabilisation Charge so that suppliers which have purchased energy for their customers in advance are better able to recover more of their costs if there is a “sharp fall” in wholesale prices.
News
The wholesale energy market requires “wholesale reform,” one of the leading campaigners for an energy price cap has told Utility Week. John Penrose, Conservative MP for Weston-Super-Mare and a prominent voice in the campaign for the introduction of the price cap, described the current reliance on gas to set prices in power markets as the marginal form of generation is “clearly bonkers.”
News
The measures announced by the government to ease the impact of high energy costs on households will leave suppliers and generators “unscathed” for the time being, according to a new report from S&P Global Ratings. However, the firm said efforts in neighbouring countries to “claw back profits from power producers” mean it “cannot exclude an impact on UK power generation companies in the coming months should prices remain elevated”.
News
National Energy Action has called for the planned £200 discount on electricity bills in October to be given as a grant, rather than a repayable rebate, to vulnerable pre-payment meter (PPM) customers. Both NEA and the Fuel Bank Foundation told Utility Week that such a grant should be targeted at those which need it most, although the chair of the Fuel Bank Foundation conceded that getting ministers to change their minds is a “battle that could not be won”.
News
The proportion of homes meeting Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C is below the national average in the vast majority of England’s 40 most marginal parliamentary constituencies, according to a new report. The analysis conducted by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit found 73% of homes in the UK’s tightest seat, Bury North, are rated EPC band D or lower compared 60% across the whole of England.
News
As part of our Energy Reset campaign, Utility Week has been gauging the views of senior retailers on long-term reform of the market. In the latest summary of their responses, we discuss claims that the industry, politicians and regulators have not been honest with consumers over the complexities – and the cost – of the energy transition.
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