Energy retail

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Rishi Sunak has pledged to provide extra support for households with their energy bills if he wins the Conservative leadership contest as Cornwall Insight forecast the price cap will peak at more than £4,400 in April next year. The former chancellor of the exchequer, who is lagging behind foreign secretary Liz Truss in the two-horse race, made the commitment after Truss recently rejected “handouts” for households struggling to pay their bills.
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Allowing suppliers to recover additional costs due to the energy crisis could result in the price cap increasing to more than £4,200, an industry analyst has predicted. Martin Young of Investec issued the forecast following Ofgem’s announcement it would update the price cap methodology to include an allowance for backwardation costs, which suppliers will recover over a six-month period.
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Household energy debt has hit an all-time high of £1.3 billion - a more than 150% increase on September last year - new figures from Uswitch.com have revealed. The figures are extrapolated from a weighted survey of 2,000 UK adults, which found 23% customers - equating to 6 million households - owe an average of £206 to their energy retailer.
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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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Annual reviews into the state of competition in energy seem like a damp squib, but may just be a way of ministers getting around their lack of power to probe the market, says Tim Briggs.
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Annual assessments could help ensure energy is competitive, but not if it leads to knee-jerk reactions, says Filippo Gaddo.
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Eco is supposed to help those most in need, but progress is slow and costs are rising. Mathew Beech joined some Eco surveyors to get first-hand experience of the problems they encounter.
Analysis
Npower has recorded an increase in profit for the first 9 months of the year of 8 per cent, according to its interim results.
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RWE, the parent company of Npower, plans to cut around 6,750 jobs as a weak European economy hit the group’s profits.
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SSE’s adjusted profits before tax for the first six months of its financial year has fallen by more than £43 million (11.7 per cent) to £354 million, as its retail division made a loss.
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A competitive energy market is a better route to ensuring fairer energy bills for consumers rather than price regulation, according to the former director of energy strategy and futures at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).
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Some heavyweight analysts think EDF will do very well out of Hinkley Point C, says Megan Darby.
Analysis
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