Energy retail

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Analysts at Investec have lowered their forecast for the price cap for the next period beginning in April by almost £100 but said some form intervention is still needed to help those struggling with bills. The investment firm said wholesale gas and electricity prices have eased since it predicted last month that the price cap would rise to £2,000 for the summer period.
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Talks between the government and industry over the ongoing energy crisis are not moving fast enough, the bosses of two suppliers have told Utility Week, with Ecotricity chief executive Dale Vince accusing ministers of being “in denial” over the extent of the issue. Vince said they are “hoping presumably that the problem will ease or go away but it isn’t going to.”
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Good Energy offered Ecotricity the resignation of its chairman in return for dropping its opposition to Good Energy's plans to sell its renewable assets, Ecotricity's founder has told Utility Week. Dale Vince said Ecotricity refused the offer on Thursday, stating that Good Energy's plans to sell its entire renewables portfolio as part of a strategic shift towards energy services "makes no sense".
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Rising living costs and the fallout from the pandemic are exercising utilities as they set about developing diversified approaches to dealing with different cohorts of customers in financial difficulty. In this Utility Week insight report we asked experts from water and energy to share their experiences and solutions.
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Ofgem has fast-tracked a proposed modification to the Uniform Network Code (UNC) that would introduce a new volumetric gas distribution charge for recovering the costs of Last Resort Supply Payments to gas suppliers. UNC797 was proposed by Corona Energy, which said apportioning the costs in relation to usage would limit the impact on fuel poor households.
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Boris Johnson has not ruled out further measures to help cash-strapped customers with their energy costs but dismissed cutting VAT on energy bills as a “blunt instrument”. At his Downing Street press conference on Tuesday evening (4 January), the prime minister said: “We need to help people who are in fuel poverty the most.”
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Latest in Energy retail

Much has been said about the threat to customer privacy posed by smart meters or, more accurately, by unauthorised access to and inappropriate use of the data collected by the devices. Recently, the European Data Protection Supervisor warned of the dangers posed by mass data collection resulting from the deployment of smart meters without robust safeguards.
Comment
Consumer Focus chief executive Mike O'Connor talks Janet Wood through the new policy-heart of consumer protection - the Regulated Industries Unit
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Andrew Jones says we need to ramp up electricity storage to make the UK's system more efficient and capable of accommodating renewables
Opinion
Trust is key to the smart meter rollout, and to changing behaviour. Janet Wood reports from a Utility Week round table supported by Accenture
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Industry group Prime Alliance is battling to prevent security issues scuppering global smart meter rollouts. Michael John explains
Opinion
Excellent customer service throughout the process of arranging and carrying out a smart meter installation visit will be critical in winning public support for the rollout, says Matthew Weaver
Opinion
The show must go on, whatever the weather. Justin Pugsley finds preparation, rapid response and insurance the vital ingredients for utility resilience through winter weather
Opinion
Energy-behaviour anecdotes. In my local electrical store I have heard ­people told to look at energy efficiency ratings, and get the low-rated ones because they are cheaper. I know several people who put on appliances at night thinking they save money - although they are not on an Economy 7 tariff. And some businesses on an interruptible gas tariff found themselves unprepared when - you guessed it - the entirely predictable happened and there was an interruption.
Comment
Britain's bold and pioneering smart meter deployment will be watched - and possibly bought - by the rest of the world, says Rich Hampshire
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