Energy retail

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There was a “notable decrease” in public awareness of the concept of net zero between December and March, a government survey has shown. Other topics covered in the public attitudes tracker include smart meters, billing and renewables.
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Octopus Energy chief executive Greg Jackson has said his company’s net loss for 2019/20 was driven by the supplier’s “relentless investment” in new technologies, international expansion and customer growth. The retailer, which is this year celebrating its 5th anniversary, saw its revenue grow 160 per cent from £477 million to £1.24 billion and estimates a revenue of £2 billion as of year end April 2021.
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Featured

For the past year, the utilities sector has been warned that it faces a tsunami of debt resulting from the pandemic. However, there are emerging reasons to think the reality may not be as dramatic as feared. James Wallin asks whether we can risk reading anything into the green shoots of recovery.
Comment
Unequal electricity and gas policy costs and taxes must be tackled in order to encourage consumers to switch to low-carbon heating options, the government’s leading heat policy official has told Utility Week. David Capper also hinted that the government is examining a phase-out date for fossil fuel heating systems
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April was a record month for customers switching away from large energy suppliers to small and medium-sized retailers, new figures from Electralink show. It also represented a 29 per cent increase in switching compared to the same month last year, when the country was in the grip of the pandemic.
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Latest in Energy retail

In Utility Week’s latest round-up of people moves across the sector, the Heat Trust gets a new managing director; a former Centrica director is to head up Energy UK’s Vulnerability Commitment and the first chair of the UK Infrastructure Bank is unveiled.
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Ofgem has rejected protestations by energy retailer Symbio that a £100,000 penalty for failing to pay into renewables schemes on time was disproportionate. Symbio said the regulator had “failed to make sufficient allowance for the particular challenges posed by Covid" for smaller retailers.
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Sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) slowed last month, with cuts to the plug-in car grant being blamed. However, the latest figures for car registrations also revealed more than 500,000 ultra low-emission vehicles are now being driven on UK roads for the first time.
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The Department for Business, Energy & industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been urged to set a minimum price for the surplus electricity provided by small scale generators to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
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Challenger energy supplier So Energy has signed two new power purchase agreements (PPA) worth an estimated £20 million.
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Could a new technology development, fueled by the success of Open Banking in the financial services sector, help utilities overcome long standing efficiency, accuracy and customer experience challenges in their billing operations? Read our report to find out more.
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In our latest review of sector coverage across the national newspapers, Goldman Sachs is said to be in advanced negotiations to inject capital into Ovo Energy. Meanwhile, BP is considering bidding in the Scotwind auction as it ramps up its green ambitions. Lobbying efforts to promote investment in hydrogen and the future of desalination for drinking water are also analysed.
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Trustpilot is investigating Symbio Energy over the nature of its responses to customers leaving negative feedback. The review site stressed it takes action when “businesses act in a way that is threatening, or is perceived to be so”.
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Octopus and Midcounties Co-operative have relaunched their community energy scheme and will soon offer customers the chance to invest in a stake through their bills. Younity, previously called Co-op Community Energy, has partnerships with 100 community generators across the country. Octopus supplies Co-op through a white label agreement, with the latter recently re-branding to Your Co-op Energy. 
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Newly released government figures show 12.5 per cent of households in England are estimated to be in fuel poverty in 2021. The projection represents a reduction from the figure in 2019 of 13.4 per cent, which BEIS attributes to the progress in energy efficiency.
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