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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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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The Energy and Climate Change Committee has been taking evidence from the industry about the acute need to help fuel-poor households, especially those without a mains gas connection. Brendan Coyne heard what they had to say
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David Porter, chief executive of the AEP and Utility Week's newly crowned Industry Champion of 2011, is on the brink of uniting the AEP, ERA and UKBCSE into a single organisation. He talks to Janet Wood.
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The gas industry has warned Ofgem that its proposals for the immediate reform of the gas cash-out regime in an emergency could backfire and cost consumers more.
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43 per cent of people are worries they can't afford their next fuel bill, according to a survey of 2,000 people by Citizens Advice. The charity is now handling 500 fuel-related problems each day and has urged consumers to check they are getting support they are entitled to from energy suppliers and government.
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Large energy retailers look set to follow smaller suppliers in passing on falls in wholesale costs after EDF Energy said it would cut gas prices by 5 per cent from 7 February.
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