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.
News
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

There is currently much public debate about whether the domestic energy market is working, whether big energy companies are treating customers and small suppliers unfairly, and about energy companies' profits. Ofgem has proposed, under its Retail Market Review, far-reaching re-regulation of retail tariffs. But at a recent Policy Exchange event, professor Stephen Littlechild, the distinguished former electricity regulator, argued that the retail energy market is working and Ofgem's proposals risk damaging it.
Comment
Retail energy supply is getting more interesting by the day. The Energy and Climate Change Committee put its considerable weight behind support for the demand side - whether as short-term response or long-term demand reduction - and raised the possibility of a feed-in tariff for these contributions. Good Energy has raised the stakes too, saying it plans to offer time-of-use tariffs, adding that option alongside its existing payments for micro and distributed and generators. Energy network companies, as well as suppliers, are recruiting customers to trials that will include more time-of-use tariffs, as well as others that incorporate electric car supplies and, for bigger customers, interruptible tariffs.
Comment
If there's one thing we know about customers, it's that they are hard to read - and harder still to predict. Even hard facts can be misleading. Take switching, for instance. Recently energy switching has fallen, but does this really indicate rising satisfaction with energy suppliers? That's doubtful.
Comment
Smart grids planned for Europe are almost certain to be "a target for hackers worldwide", warned a senior figure in the German firm Tüv Informationstechnik.
News
Sponsor utilities and others are using the high profile of the Olympics to trial and publicise sustainable technologies. Justin Pugsley reports.
Opinion
In early June, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) published the results of smart meter field trials, concluding that "in some cases there was little effect on home comfort, as actions focused on unnecessary consumption, while in others the effect was noticeable - for example, a colder and darker home".
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