Energy retail

Editor's picks

Ofgem’s proposals to obligate suppliers to ring-fence customer credit balances are “a positive” for Centrica, an industry expert has said. Senior Investec analyst Martin Young talks to Utility Week about the impact of the proposals and the balance of encouraging sustainable businesses while preserving competition in the market.
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Industry analysts have predicted that the price cap on default tariffs will rise to £2,980 when the next period begins in October. This would represent an increase of more than £1,000 - or 51% - over the current record-high level of £1,971.
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Ofgem’s tightening of regulations risks hindering the supplier market contributing to the achievement of net zero, the National Audit Office has warned in a new report, which puts a £2.7 billion price tag on recent supplier failures.
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Featured

As Ofgem presses ahead with plans to protect customer money from unsustainable business practices, a rift has emerged in the energy sector. On the one hand Octopus Energy has concerns about the impact of costs to consumers, while Centrica believes it will be shareholders who will shoulder the burden. Adam John explores the division.
Analysis
Leading energy retailers have set out their arguments for reform of the market, as part of Utility Week’s Energy Reset campaign. Eon, EDF, Octopus, Scottish Power and So Energy, among others, share their recommendations for overhauling energy efficiency, reshaping the price cap, protecting competition while ensuring no-one has a “free bet” and making the wholesale market fit for a green grid.
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This new report looks at how energy retailers can re-invigorate face-to-face engagement in an uncertain world to forge closer relationships with consumers, offer support and build trust.
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Latest in Energy retail

The scale of the government's £15 billion cost of living support package took the energy sector by surprise and has been warmly welcomed as a meaningful intervention to help billpayers this winter. But, as experts tell David Blackman, policymakers now face the challenge of finding more sustainable, long-term solutions to the cost of living crisis.
Analysis
The heat sector is in virtually universal agreement that energy efficiency is an essential first step in decarbonising heating in UK homes. Despite this broad consensus, the government appears to remain apathetic towards the subject. Members of Utility Week's Heat Council put forward a range of ideas and measures that could be implemented in the short-term, including an Eco+ scheme, a national home census and even a possible role for Martin Lewis.
Analysis
Ofgem has issued a retailer with its second provisional order of the year, this time demanding it addresses evidence of poor customer service and complaints handling.
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Customer service agents work in a challenging environment, made harder right now by the difficulties we’re all facing. Capita’s Alan Linter explains how by evolving how we listen and paying attention to customers’ emotional needs, we can make the support we give each other stronger than it’s ever been.
Opinion
An exclusive Utility Week poll of senior sector figures has highlighted the growing concerns over the risk of a cybersecurity breach. Eight out of ten respondents said they regard a serious hack as a high-risk factor, with 85% saying it would have a major impact on their business. One described this as their company’s “biggest fear”.
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Utilities leaders have long spoken of a need to shift sector mindsets from a focus on assets to the needs of end users. But, how quickly is this transition happening in practice and is data playing the central role it needs to? This new report gauges the views of senior industry figures, from Eon, EDF, Western Power Distribution and UK Power Networks among others.
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A trial of heat-as-a-service in the form of the warm homes prescription pilot, run by the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), has shown that it is possible for suppliers to offer energy as a service under current market rules, one of the designers of the scheme has said.
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Our latest review of sector coverage in the national media includes a bleak report of government fears that six million households could be asked to ration electricity this winter. Meanwhile, National Grid is said to be examining ways to ramp up gas pipeline capacity and a new poll shows a quarter of UK households are looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes in the face of soaring bills.
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The emergency support packages announced by the government so far this year will largely shield lower-income households from increased energy bills, according to the Resolution Foundation. The think tank said households in the bottom three income deciles, the poorest 30%, will see 93% of their increased energy costs offset.
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Twice as much of the £15 billion cost-of-living support package, announced by Rishi Sunak on Thursday (26 May), will go to the poorer half of households than the richest 50%, analysis of the measures has shown. The Resolution Foundation think tank said households in the lower half of the income distribution scale will benefit from two thirds of the additional support awarded by the chancellor of the exchequer.
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The £15 billion support package unveiled by the chancellor has been broadly welcomed by the energy industry, but concerns have been raised about the lack of energy efficiency measures included. Speaking to Utility Week, Energy UK deputy director Dhara Vyas said the trade body was “really pleased” the government has responded to calls from the sector and from consumer groups, but said there are some areas where ministers could have gone further.
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