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What does Ovo's potential takeover of SSE mean for the big six and does it signal a new era of consolidation in the energy retail market? Adam John talks to experts including former Npower boss, Paul Massara.
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Latest in Electricity retail

In our latest industry appointment round-up Bulb poaches another EasyJet executive to bolster its senior team, while Octopus Energy has appointed a chief executive to launch its German division. Meanwhile, the Offshore Wind Industry Council has announced the appointment of a new co-chair.
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An initiative has been launched to deliver hourly certificates to verify exactly where consumers’ energy comes from, helping them to understand their carbon emissions in real time. EnergyTag is made up of more than 60 companies including Ovo Energy, Microsoft and Google. Its council and advisory board are working together to define a set of guidelines that will form the basis of a market for energy certificates with a timestamp of one hour or less.
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Smart meters could be used to monitor energy usage patterns to help the most vulnerable continue to live safely in their homes, a new study has found. Smart Energy GB’s Smart Future of Healthcare report, which was conducted by independent thinktank 2020health, found smart meters could be used to monitor consumer behaviour for signs of deviation, which may indicate there is a problem.
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The government is planning to raise the threshold for mutualisation under the renewables obligation (RO) after a review deemed the current arrangements not fit for purpose, Utility Week can reveal. In addition the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says it is considering changes to the way the mutualisation amount is determined in England and Wales in order to lessen its impact on suppliers.
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Long gone are the days when energy companies merely supplied power, Matthew Vickers believes. Today retailers are providing some of the most sophisticated types of customer service available, which the Energy Ombudsman chief executive describes as akin to social work. Speaking to Utility Week, Vickers explains why we must tread carefully when making comparisons with other industries, his caution around increasing digitsation and his fears about “empathy” becoming the latest corporate buzzword.
Interviews
Digitally excluded households face an energy market premium of up to £485, National Energy Action (NEA) has estimated. The charity revealed the figure to Utility Week in response to a Citizens Advice report which urged the sector to ensure that going forward information and customer support is not solely provided online and that people can still access help and advice in a variety of non-digital formats.
News
Challenger energy retailer Social Energy has begun its global expansion, launching to customers in Australia. The company, which began supplying UK customers last year, says it is offering customers in the Southern Hemisphere a green energy package and an exclusive Duracell home solar battery system.
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Elexon, the administrator for the Balancing and Settlement Code, has announced it is returning £1.5 million of cost savings to trading parties. As well as achieving improvements in efficiency, the not-for-profit company said it has seen costs fall since closing its office on 12 March due to the coronavirus lockdown and in light of the economic impact of the pandemic has also decided not to award an annual pay rise to staff.
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Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action has raised concerns following Ofgem’s decision to defer the introduction of new questions and categories regarding social obligations reporting by a year. Licence conditions stipulate that suppliers must submit data to the regulator quarterly and annually on a variety of areas, including debt levels, disconnection rates, prepayment meters, smart meters, payment methods used by customers and help for vulnerable customers.
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Suppliers should be banned from taking on new customers or accessing upfront payments if they fail to meet their Renewables Obligation (RO) by the deadlines, an industry chief has suggested. The comments come following Ofgem's announcement that missed RO payments will be mutualised for the third consecutive year.
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More than 620,000 electricity switches occurred in October, the most so far in 2020 and the highest since April 2019. According to Electralink’s Energy Market Data Hub, 621,000 changes of supplier were recorded in October, 4 per cent more than during the same period last year and 20 per cent more than in September 2020.
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