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Examining how utilities are tackling the key issues of vulnerability and affordability

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After a bruising week for the energy retail market, in which wholesale power prices hit dramatic new heights, more than 500,000 customers saw their supplier exit the market and a major price comparison website was forced to suspend its energy services, the real fear is that we have yet to see the worst. Adam John looks at where the energy retail sector goes from here.
Analysis
One of the major price comparison services has halted energy comparisons after soaring wholesale costs resulted in suppliers restricted the number of tariffs available. Elsewhere other comparison services are offering a severely limited number of deals, with only a handful of suppliers listed on their sites.
News
A customer service expert has warned utilities they cannot get away with blaming poor performance on Covid or Brexit. Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, pointed to evidence that after an initial wave of high satisfaction across sectors, consumers were now becoming more demanding and less likely to be pacified when they encounter problems.
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Download Utility Week’s report to discover the factors driving industry pilots of open banking technology to improve debt and payment management in the post-pandemic world.
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With COP26 only a few months away, excitement is building across the utilities industry. However, it is clear that the sector sees the UN climate conference as the beginning of a journey, not the end. Michelle Scarsbrook of Sopra Steria looks at where companies may turn next to further their net zero ambitions.
Opinion
Kwasi Kwarteng has admitted that the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme was “too ambitious” and has pledged that the government will consult more fully on any replacement scheme.
News
Rising pressures in the energy retail market such as soaring wholesale costs have meant that liquidity has become a "primary concern" for many businesses in the sector, an industry expert has warned. Andrew Stone, managing director at Interpath Advisory and joint administrator for recently failed supplier Hub Energy, spoke to Utility Week prior to Ofgem's announcement that this year will once again see a shortfall in renewables obligation certificates (ROCs).
News
The government has confirmed it will legislate to require all new-build homes and offices with parking spaces to have electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints.
News
The Ofwat director heading up PR24 has urged water companies to put forward bold solutions in the next price control but emphasised these must be set in a long-term context. Aileen Armstrong, senior director at the regulator, stressed the need to look beyond heavy infrastructure as the answer to all problems but accepted that this would come at a cost. She said she expected companies to look at spreading these costs over current and future generations.
News
UK Power Networks (UKPN) and Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) have announced plans to use artificial intelligence to proactively help up to 100,000 customers in danger of fuel poverty. The project will see information from the two companies combined, as well as their existing fuel poverty insight, domestic smart meter data and geographical socio-economic statistics.
News
Heat networks could potentially supply 95TWh of heat  - or 20 per cent of total UK demand - by 2050, according to a new government report. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has released a study identifying so-called “opportunity areas” that could be best-placed to support future heat network projects and how much heat could be supplied by them.
News
The costs of administering the Green Homes Grant (GHG) voucher scheme amounted to more than £1,000 per home upgraded by the short-lived heating decarbonisation scheme, a damning new report from the National Audit Office has found.
News
Ofgem has confirmed that two more energy suppliers have ceased trading, taking the total number of supplier failures so far this year up to five. This is the second double supplier failure announcement so far this year.
News
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