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Energy suppliers respond to our campaign – what do you think?

Energy deadline

31 January marked the deadline for energy suppliers to submit their plans to wake up their customers who are sat on standard variable tariffs. So what’s the score then?

Some of you will recall that after a full two-year long investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), last summer the investigation finally concluded.

And it confirmed what we already knew – this market just simply isn’t working for consumers and it’s time for energy companies to accept they need to change.

Disengaged customers

The crux of problem is that, largely we, as consumers, just aren’t engaged with what’s going on with our energy.

And there could be a number of reasons why this is – such as, not knowing how to engage, difficulty understanding energy tariffs or bills, or just simply, a lack of trust in energy companies.

But, there’s a bigger problem here – and one that we’ve been campaigning on – that those who don’t engage are often the ones penalised for it. This comes in the form of paying out for standard variable tariffs or SVTs.

These tariffs are usually the most expensive tariffs on the market. Our research found that the gap between a SVT price paid with the Big Six is, on average, £111 more than their cheapest tariffs and over 58% of the Big Six’s energy customers are on these tariffs.

Well today, Which? was in Parliament giving evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy parliamentary select committee, on what progress we’ve seen since the regulators published their energy market findings last summer.

And we certainly didn’t pull any punches…

Six months after the CMA’s inquiry concluded and energy prices topped the list of biggest consumer worries. What’s more, trust in the sector has continued to dwindle, and the Big Six energy suppliers also found themselves lumped into the bottom half of our annual energy customer satisfaction survey.

From our view, while we’ve seen Ofgem take on the challenge set, and start trialling and testing ways to improve the current situation with our energy, the same cannot be said of the industry.

Energy sector response

It seems that energy suppliers are dragging their feet and waiting to be told what to do by the government or the regulators, bringing into question their commitment to really making this a proper functioning, competitive market that works for its customers.

And that’s exactly why we’ve been calling on energy suppliers to submit plans that show how they are going to help their most disengaged customers, those on SVTs, get engaged and moving onto better deals.

The deadline we set for that challenge is today. We’ve allowed almost three months for energy suppliers to submit their plans – you can see who has responded to our calls on our energy campaign website.

So, after nearly three years of looking at the problems with our energy, we now want the energy sector to start being part of the solution. Their customers have been waiting far too long already.

Update 14 Feb 2017: Suppliers respond

Our latest analysis of Ofgem data reveals that two thirds of energy customers are still stuck on the most expensive deals. As part of our Fair Energy Prices campaign, we challenged energy suppliers to publish plans on how they’d get these customers engaged and switching.

We had 19 responses from energy suppliers and, of those, 14 set out plans to engage their customers, including trialling simpler bills and new ways to make people to switch. Here’s Which? Campaigns Manager Neena Bhati talking about these plans:

Energy prices remain a top worry for consumers, and with the recent price hikes it’s vital that all companies do more to engage with their customers and make it easier to switch to better deals.

We’ve passed all the plans to the government and Ofgem and have called on them to report on progress by the end of April. We’ll also be pressing suppliers to deliver on their plans, and to regularly set out what difference this is making to their customers.

Do you think the energy industry is doing enough for customers? Do you feel the industry works for you?

Comments
Guest
Malcolm says:
20 February 2017

I have very low gas and electricity usage and feel very unfairly treated by the recent npower price hikes. It is absolute rubbish for them to say they know and understand their customers and what they want. Yes they know their customers and know how maximise profit from them, but that’s all. I will have a 34% price hike staying with them.

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Guest

Malcolm, the obvious question is “why stay with them?”. Try Which?Switch to find a cheaper supplier. There are around 40 to choose from. You are lucky having low usage and correspondingly low bills. Some find Ebico, with no standing charge, to be good if you are a very low user.

Guest
regina luxemburg says:
20 February 2017

british gas seem the most reasonable to deal with in my opinion.very helpful and anxious to put you on their best deal for you.

regina luxemburg

Guest
Dudley Powell says:
20 February 2017

I changed to Ovo several years ago and have been delighted. I only have electricity – day and night and my annual bill is about £400 p.a. Their website is really easy to use. I get really frustrated when companies say you could save £300 pounds, I wish!! Much better to quote the price per unit. How much you use depends on your property and many other factors. Ovo only have three tarrifs – dual fuel, day and night electric, and standard electric. Very easy to work out.

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Guest

Those who are in debt on a prepayment meter seemingly have been able to transfer that debt to a new supplier to take advantage of a better tariff. The debt that can be transferred has been increased to £500. https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/system/files/docs/2017/02/dap_closedown_letter_final_20_feb_2017.pdf

Guest
Rod Northcott says:
21 February 2017

I left EDF for First Utility, I have found them efficient ,informative and ready to supply information as well as being one of the cheapest.When they think I should change tariff they have in the past told me about the better deal.

Guest
peter says:
21 February 2017

I left EDF three years ago for Ist Utility and I am so pleased that I did.

Guest
Irene McColl says:
21 February 2017

I was with Scottish Power, they kept upping their prices so I did a search of other companies and decided to go with First Utility.
They halved my monthly direct debit, then reduced it further. I now have a large credit balance to see me through the winter.
I told my friends, now they have joined.
An excellent company to deal with’

Guest
I Belcher says:
22 February 2017

I left Co-op energy after a disasterous change in their computer systems. Now with Extra Energy who reduced my bills by £800.
Just renewed with Extra Energy, saving another £300

Guest
.michael Kearns says:
22 February 2017

I want the goverment to hold all companies to account , who do not do the best for their customer and give them proper service

Guest
Colin Love says:
23 February 2017

I’m afraid to say that I don’t think this will make any difference to the way the energy companies behave; they will just look on this as a PR exercise and will carry on in their own sweet way!

Guest

I think your campaign has the wrong focus. If people really care how much they pay for energy, it is usually open to them to put the time and effort necessary to make the savings by switching: though it is not so easy for those who are not web users. The people who essentially can’t do that are those stuck on pre-payment meters where they will always be worse off than mainstream customers – it should be much easier to move to normal billing methods. The other major problem is that people in rented accommodation usually can’t get the places where they live made more energy efficient.

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Guest

But that is changing from this April, Phil. Landlords will have to bring all rented properties that are subject to energy performance certificates up to a minimum E standard. It is being phased in starting with new lets and then extended as tenancies turn over. It’s not the most ambitious exercise but given where things are starting from it should bring about a noticeable improvement within a few years and, in the pursuit of higher rents, will push energy efficiency improvements up the rental market.

Guest
Bob James says:
24 February 2017

I moved from First Utility to npower in December because I was chasing the best fixed 1-year deal I could find. So far I am pleased with npower and their web site is easier to use than First Utility’s. I have just read npower’s response to the Which? complaint and their approach seems comprehensive in taking the problems of those who, for whatever reason won’t switch.
I was fairly happy with First Utility and their prices, but their response to problems was poor: I am still waiting for the final bill!

Guest

I usually switch each year with the help of Cheap Energy Club. It’s not difficult. I’ve just switched to Iresa.

Guest

My last bill from British gas indicated that I would be better off going with Sainsbury for energy. This I did and this is the type of help I would like from my energy supplier. Have found that British Gas is very helpful in all ways. Still prefer to having simple paper bills though so I can trace what is happening. It is easy to lose info in a computer

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Guest

Sainsbury’s is a “white label” supplier; they effectively are an agent for another supplier. In this case that other supplier is British Gas. Sainsbury’s seem to offer competitive tariffs so it was good of BG to refer you to them. It could still be worthwhile you looking at Which?Switch to see if you could get a significantly better deal though, I would suggest.

Guest
Steve C. says:
26 February 2017

We have two supplies, one of which is three phase. Both were provided by EDF. Due to EDF’s latest price increase, we have just swapped the main (single phase) supply to Bulb, a 100 percent green supplier with – apparently – one of the best customer service records around. They certainly have been extremely helpful so far and are projected to save us around @£250 per year as well. Unfortunately, due to their expense daily standing charge, they could not be competitive with the three phase supply but they were very ‘up front’ and apologetic about that and did not say anything about what type of supply was involved. It would appear that new suppliers only need the supply details (address, possibly meter number etc.) to be able to switch. We are currently seeking an alternative supplier for this.

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Guest

Ofgem today:
“Switching hit a six-year high last year as more households shopped around for a better deal.
7.7 million gas or electricity switches took place in 2016, according to new data from Ofgem. This is 1.7 million more switches than the previous year, a surge of 28%.
In this way, switching rates last year reached their highest level since 2010, at around 15.8% across gas and electricity customers.”

Perhaps the message is beginning to get through?

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Guest

Switching suppliers costs money and that cost will be shared by everyone including those who do not switch, including the vulnerable.

I would prefer to tackle the problem that the way the industry works results in many paying more for their energy if they don’t regularly check to see if there is a cheaper alternative.

Until the basic problem has been tackled we will keep having these discussions. It’s time to think about people other than ourselves.

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Guest

I have suggested that subsidised fixed term fixed price tariffs (if indeed they are) should be abolished and the basic tariff should be a standard variable one. There would then be less need to switch. However, there will always be differences between suppliers – the way the buy energy in the market, how far ahead they forward buy, how efficient their operation is…..so we will always have a price choice.

I am still waiting for Which? to comment on their stance on subsidised tariffs and whether they support svt’s as the main tariff – cheaper for all if subsidised tariffs were removed. Do you support this as part of the approach?

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Guest

I’m with British Gas. Had lots of credit last year, but it’s vanished. What happens to that credit??

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Guest

If you pay by direct debit you may have had an automatic refund to your bank account, Richard. Energy companies generally make refunds once a year unless you object to the accumulation of credit. I hope it’s not because you have landed on an expensive tariff because a fixed price one has ended.

Guest
James Wright says:
27 February 2017

My opinion is Ofgem are not doing enough to control the energy increases no matter which supplier you are with, a lot of talk not enough action.

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Guest

I am trying to switch providers. I am confused I have two quotes for switching suppliers. One has a lower price for energy one a lower price for the standing charge. How is one supposed to work out which is cheaper?

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Guest

Use your estimated annual consumption, in units (kWhours) of gas and electricity. Multiply each by its unit rate and add on the annual standing charge. Compare the two suppliers. Or you could simply ask the potential provider to quote your annual bill based on your usage – give the same usage to each, of course.

Alternatively, Which?Switch does this for you – put in your annual estimated usage and the quotes it produces give total annual cost including the unit rate and the standing charge. You can do this on line or give them a phone call.

Guest
John Quinn says:
1 March 2017

I am now with Ovo for over a year and delighted with them.

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Guest

“The total number of complaints by domestic energy consumers fell by 32 per cent last year according to data published jointly by Ofgem and the Energy Ombudsman today.

The total number of complaints dropped from around 5 million in 2015 to 3.5 million complaints in 2016 – the lowest point in three years.

Most large and medium suppliers solved on average at least 90 per cent of complaints within 8 weeks, the deadline after which complaints may be referred by individuals to the Energy Ombudsman. ”

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/energy-complaints-fall-third-2016?utm_medium=email&utm_source=dotMailer&utm_campaign=Daily-Alert_02-03-2017&utm_content=Energy%20complaints%20fall%20by%20a%20third%20in%202016&dm_i=1QCB,4STZU,F31FFV,I2Z50,1

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Guest

There were 3.5 million complaints in 2016. If we are having a party to celebrate this then please accept my apologies. 🙁

Hopefully some of them were not serious problems.

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Guest

I am reporting, for those interested, the news I get sent by Ofgem. Is it better to only report bad news? Like a significant increase in people switching, improvement is always welcome to me.

Guest
L G Hare says:
2 March 2017

Extra Energy’s bills are very confusing. The amount shown in the credit column is the total amount paid in, not the balance after fuel costs. Also, three of their call centre staff gave me three different answers when I asked the total amount of charges for the year. Also, monthly statements of usage and cost cannot be accessed easily online.

Guest
Geoff says:
3 March 2017

In the last few years our annual usage of electricity has remained fairly stable , there’s little more we can do as a household to reduce our bill . 12 months ago we moved from SSE/Hydro Standard , to a 1 year fixed deal . The renewal letter this year – with an implied threat to return us to Standard – assumes a ‘ personalised ‘ annual estimate that is around 1000 kWh below our usual . In response an advisor produced an estimate closer to our usual figures – I am still waiting a response on why the original renewal wasn’t more ‘ accurate ‘ . Uncharitably I suspect a ploy to make the ‘ savings ‘ figures appear less than they ought to ?

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Guest

Shocked customers billed £33,000 for one days gas after “Smart Meter ” error by SSE , one wag- prices have certainly risen for gas on Your SSE SSE , I like it warm but —- Government hopes every home will have a “smart meter ” by -2020- I bet the Big 6 do at this rate. What have I been saying about them being liable to be hacked or interfered with ?

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Guest

Presumably it was the billing calculation that went haywire not the consumption recording otherwise we are in trouble. Luckily the error was so big that it stood out; what would worry me would be uncorrected small errors within the margins of normal consumption. I suppose this will be held up as a “freak” occurrence but it must worry people and undermine the credibility of the [not so] smart meter campaign.

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Guest

Absurd bills from energy companies used to be a problem but that was resolved many years ago. I doubt it is difficult for the software to flag up unexpectedly high bills for inspection by a human.

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Guest

I doubt if any bills have been generated on the basis of these smart meter displays on smart phones. There must be several points in the digital chain where data could have been corrupted.

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Guest

I have just been emailed an update on “smart meters ” that re-enforces my post of 5-3-2017 as well as previous posts about this subject on Which . This time there is no argument against what I was saying as it is coming from University of Twente in collaboration with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences . Due to talk of over billing Professor Frank Leferink of UT investigated those devices (manufactured-2004-2014) along with Cees Keyer+Anton Melentjev , I wont go into technical detail but 5 out of 9 meters registered high -2 were 30 % lower -overall =582 % higher readings than consumption –a lot more technical detail — While the Netherlands authorities took this into consideration ,different story in the USA where the same thing was happening and where in many States its Compulsory to install them -US utility customers told — the meters are operating “correctly ” PAY UP ! –March-6-2017 – and the UK ?- pay up .

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Guest

Is this published on line yet, Duncan? It would be interesting to read about it.

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Guest

Wavechange-I have 2 links one is : https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/17030318.htm the other one you wouldn’t be interested in as it is a “naturist ” website going on about radiation but does point out New York “smart meters ” are manufactured in China . I will try to find the direct link to Holland . The US ones are -AMI “smart meters ” -quote- are computers with microwave technology , tracking devices,+two-way radio transmitters called -ZigBee -built with cheap plastic parts and NO surge arrestors (Wikipedia )

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Guest

Thanks Duncan, but the link does not work.

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Guest

Sorry Wavechange I am being monitored just now -blocked for trying the website again /blocked from posting my reply to you on FF , trying another browser it TOLD me I was being blocked ! , Somebody not happy with my posts and telling me something , as I am used to this in the past I know what to look for , come on -you cant keep everything secret -can you ? I suggest you input =smartmeters are charging 582 percent and try several answers . sorry about this I thought they would leave me alone , hope this posts ????? I have downloaded it anyway . Thats sly they changed the server its the UK server that is blocking me the US one lets me get there , your British server is stopping you reach the US one , I have server notification on my browser (one of them anyway ) So its Science Daily USA not UK.

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Guest

Duplicated post deleted. See below.

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Guest

Part of your link was missing Duncan: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170303180139.htm

The reason for the incorrect readings is simply that the meters cannot cope with electronic power controls found in many products including phone chargers, TVs and LED light bulbs.

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Guest

It seems I missed out the -139 but I was still blocked twice on the correct URL although “funnily ” its working now That website still doesn’t provide all the info on “smart meters ” Its not as simple as you make out Wavechange I have already read up on how those “smart meters ” can be intercepted etc if it was many in the US wouldn’t be constantly complaining as well as petitioning their States to block installation of them , one guy has went to court and achieved it ,the utility company is appealing , one or two states have blocked it. Anything that transmits can be intercepted just ask GCHQ . Hall Sensors have been out for decades their accuracy and efficiency have been proven over many decades so some other part of the SM design is causing it to read low the other Rogowski coil that reads over I know nothing about -bad design/cheap components or not tested long enough .

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Guest

I don’t doubt the test results but it would have been good if the meter manufacturers and the regulators were asked to comment. If there is a problem on the scale suggested then it needs dealing with.
Many electricity meters – smart or not – are electronic. It would be interesting to know, when a normal household mix of appliances is used – the higher power devices like heaters, cookers, dryers, washing machines, TVs combined with low power LEDs , chargers and the like, what the inaccuracy then is likely to be.

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Guest

Come on Which fix your server — OOPS ! please post again , exactly like Windows – fault condition it comes out with -oops ! who does that help ? not so LInux -exact fault given and where to look . malcolm – What the website has NOT explained is RF interference induced into the ring main supply and if radio controlled by microwave high frequency harmonic pulses from SMPS devices of inferior quality (LED lighting ) . Look at your computer a high quality SMPS of probably – 80 db + harmonic suppression of AC ripple otherwise your CPU would get the wrong signals via the power lines due to inferior harmonic suppression .I have built a large number of power supplies from valves to solid state but I would never build a SMPS . The first thing that goes on a motherboard are the capacitors thats why high quality Japanese solid electrolytic ones are used on good boards . Now think cheap ones used in household goods giving out all sorts of high frequency harmonics and the CPU in those “smart meters “

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Guest

Heating appliances are resistive loads and would not cause a problem but it would be necessary to look at the original research to establish if the presence of low power goods including electronic controls could cause a malfunction. If not, the report is a worst case scenario.

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Guest

Still, that’s a high proportion of meters overreading.

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Guest

There are thoughts to charge households more if their maximum demand exceeds the effective current 15kW. Some overseas countries set tariffs based on maximum demand – it helps avoid high cost of extra capacity in the geberation and transmission system.

“Also, if the penetration of electric vehicles and electric heating increases, as many expect, our approach to capacity may need to change further. Fast chargers for electric vehicles (EVs) and electric heat pumps could require large simultaneous loads, which could exceed even today’s maximum capacity for households. When we consider that capacity may be at a premium, allowing everybody to charge their vehicles and use their heat pumps without restriction could be prohibitively expensive for everyone.

So, in the future, we may need to find new ways of paying for and providing access to the electricity system that meets society’s expectations of a fairness and reliability. This probably means that those that want access to much more firm capacity than is usual might need to pay extra for it. Alternatively, people may want to accept some limit on their ability to consume large amounts of electricity whenever they want in return for lower prices. For example, some users could allow their electric vehicle charging to be interrupted for a short period in order to reduce their charging costs.” (Ofgem)

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Guest

So the real reason for the push to install smart meters is so that a watch can be kept on consumers who are near to, or some times go over, the maximum capacity level so they can be surcharged.

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Guest

Maximum demand is a key factor in the cost of generation. Industry is charged on the basis of the demand it might need as well as what it consumes. Most domestic premises will have “normal” demands but power-hungry premises that impose extra demands on the system may have to contribute more. One use would be to limit loading in premises at peak times. Another would be to charge the going rate at the time, so someone who organises more of their usage off-peak would benefit from cheaper tariffs – a more sophisticated version of the Economy 7 approach.

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Guest

The Ofgem document seems to be from a recent blog rather than a formal document: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/news-blog/our-blog/imagining-tomorrows-low-carbon-electricity-system

Nevertheless it is good to see that Ofgem is giving thought to meeting our needs in the future. I am very much in favour of heavy users of energy paying higher prices. I would like to see all new buildings built with solar panels as standard and orientated for maximum efficiency. When built into a roof, solar panels need not look out of place like those added to existing buildings.

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Guest

I have noticed that some house-builders are starting this around our area, but mainly for the larger properties with the bigger roofs [and the higher incomes as well I expect]. The only consolation is that the increasing availability of fed-in renewable energy might, eventually, enable electricity prices to stand still if not actually to reduce.

Guest
barrie mills says:
9 March 2017

my years bill with Scottish power will be £901.00 their best offerwas £1.178.00 for a one year fix
which I was informd was a slight increase equals 30.74 % increase

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Guest

I am trying to work out if the EU is giving a “reply ” to Britain in the form of “the finger ” or its just a co-incidence . As you know the government and a lot of the population (well in England anyway ) are adverse to wind power , pointing out inefficiency/short life/ cost /etc , well it seems they are totally ignoring that advice -Denmark-Netherlands-Germany are building an artificial island in the north Sea on the 23 March -2017 (agreement ) and will connect 10,000 -that’s right 10,000 wind turbines .Guess where they are going to build it ?? on the Dogger Bank -60 MILES from the UK , now isn’t that in the UK,s area of national “concern ” commercially . Now we know “the Donald” was really annoyed at NS for building off-shore wind farms near his golf courses but next time you take your pleasure boat out to the Dogger Bank to view the scenery your “view ” is going to get a bit “interrupted ” we still haven’t heard from the RSPB on this but I am sure it will be vocal . By the way they intend to sell the electricity to—Britain hows that for a piece of work ?

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Guest

In principle this sounds like a good idea – the UK government has already granted approval for one or more windfarms on the Dogger Bank. The geological formation in the middle of the North Sea is actually much wider east to west than its longitudinal dimension. A significant [and possibly larger] part is closer to the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark than to the UK. This development would not in any significant way restrict UK windpower developments off the east coast of England.

The Danish company DONG Energy is already heavily involved in massive turbine fields in the North Sea off East Anglia. Presumably it was open to UK companies to join in the Dutch, German and Danish partnership.

Luckily, the wind has no knowledge of which turbine is going to catch it and turn its force into electricity. Even better is the fact that, once it has turned one turbine, the wind remains available for further use as it speeds across the sea, its power momentarily diminished at the margin perhaps, but nevertheless ready to serve any other country that wishes to capture it.

Although many people object to wind turbines, they nonetheless reduce the running time of fossil fuel generating plants and are an important part of a comprehensive energy strategy. No energy comes free of charge and the cost of installing a shoal of turbines, cabling to the mainland, and providing the necessary infrastructure to feed it into the grid is probably not much less than constructing a conventional power station.

Duncan – can you give us a reference where we can read more on this scheme?

Guest
Derek Fisher says:
15 March 2017

Has anyone besides me ever noticed that gas quality is very variable – things heat up far more slowly on some days than others?
I may be accused of being a conspiracy theorist, but I feel I might be getting “diluted” gas at times – i.e. with air added to eke out the real thing.
As we are charged by volume and not actual energy supplied, it seems easy to do.
Perhaps a campaign for a gas quality (online / “onpipe”) testing facility should be instigated.

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Guest

Derek, your meter measures gas volume used – cubic metres – but if you look at your bill this is converted into energy – kWh. The conversion from cu. m to kWhs takes account of calorific value of the gas supplied.

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Guest

I received a new unsolicited phone call yesterday.

An Asian sounding voice from a company that sounded like iswitch asked if I was the person responsible for paying energy bills as she wanted to help me switch to a better energy tariff.

I was busy, the woman was hard to understand so I cut her short rather quickly and didn’t get any details.

But a search on the number 02034098107 revealed plenty of results for nuisance callers.

Guest
Peter Austin says:
19 March 2017

Today (Sunday) I received an e -mail from my supplier Scottish Power headed “ACTION REQUIRED” which drew my attention to the fact that my current tariff with them will run out in 43 days. Not so appropriate for a day of rest I thought. However in the light of foul weather hereabouts I decided to research my options. I have discovered the lowest priced option is with PFP Energy and that is almost exactly 20% above my expiring tariff.
The Press has warned us that tariffs are on the rise quoting 7-10% so why so much in my case?
Investigation reveals our 20% increase is due to a 40% increase in the so called Economy7 tariff ( from 4.943p/unit to 6.95p/unit and our use of this tariff, as we are reasonably well organised, is approximately 70%

I feel this 40% rise in the Economy 7 tariff which seems industry wide is unfair a best and probably a cynical con particularly of the more thrifty consumers.

I hope Which? will publicise the whole truth about these increases and at least encourage the industry to do the same or even reconsider their prejudicial tariffs.

Guest
Mike Kavanagh says:
23 March 2017

The energy market is so concentrated in showing what we can save if we move to them that they have introduced a rather nifty lie on the comparisons. I have noticed all comparisons now show your old deal coming to an end with them adding the standard rate of the same company for the rest of the months to make a full year. This is wrong. All comparisons should show your existing deal as a previous 12 month comparison so you can actually see how much your energy is going to go up. They than should show you what would happen if you choose to stay with your existing suppler/s on their standard tariff after your fixed deal ends. For low users don’t just compare a duel fuel as you may find having separate supply’s are cheaper.
We should be asking Which to campaign on the growing trend of the standing charge most energy companys add to bills. Their should be a max they can charge. This charge should be transparent how they get to the figure they are quoting. How can one company have costs of £100 to supply your energy while another company will tell you it only costs £20 to get your energy to you. I feel the energy company have been putting the standing charges up in anticipation of the government bringing in a cap on energy. WHICH GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER.

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Guest

I agree with you in general Mike but I don’t think there is any longer any true relationship between the ‘standing charge’ and the cost of supplying energy and reading meters. It is just another component in a tariff matrix that people have to pick and choose between alongside dual-fuel, paperless billing and direct debit discounts, exit penalties, and volumetric tiers.

Personally I think every supply point should have a standardised ‘meter charge’ set by the regulator Ofgem which would have to be paid alongside any other tariff; whether or not there should be a geographical element is a moot point – probably not for mains gas because you either have access to it or you don’t. The meter charge would cover the grid maintenance and transmission costs and other indivisible infrastructure costs, and would generally be uniform, at least within any extensive area, regardless of consumption per supply point. That would still leave a large number of variables on which the supply companies could compete against each other, including administration and billing efficiency, customer service, procurement, market volume, and tariff policies and structures.

It would also be good if the government levies and obligations could be taken away from the energy bill altogether.

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Guest

Higher/lower standing charges often go with lower/higher unit charges and give deals that may suit low, medium or high users best. In the same way, a supplier with zero standing charge will have high unit prices and benefit very low users only.

I would like to see clarity on what costs should go into a standing charge. Ofgem could rule on this and monitor them. There are not simply administration costs involved, but maintenance of connection, government green levies, support for the vulnerable and so on.

I would also like to see “subsidised” or low-profit tariffs abolished – typically fixed term fixed price – so a reduced cost standard variable tariff becomes the norm on which we compare costs.

Guest
Mrs.Maureen Hale says:
28 March 2017

I am with M&S Energy with SSE. I notice that you had no response from M&S Energy, but you have from SSE.
I don’t really understand how these two Companies operate together. It does seem sometimes that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.