UK will have enough energy to meet demands

The ex-boss of National Grid, Steve Holliday, has said that no one should fear electricity blackouts as the UK has enough energy capacity to meet the UK’s needs – even on really cold days when demand is high. His upbeat statement is based on the government’s latest auction of capacity for power generation, happening this week. Companies will bid for subsidies to provide back-up power when required. Their stand-by plants will run for just a few days a year when there are extreme conditions. A lot of this back-up will be provided by old gas and coal plants that might otherwise be ditched. Funded by the bill-payer, they offer a power insurance policy of sorts.

Steve told BBC News: “It’s time for the headline of Blackout Britain to end – it’s simply wrong. We’ve been talking about blackouts for 15 years every time it gets cold, but it’s a scare story. The lights haven’t gone out yet and thanks to the measures the government is putting in place this week they definitely won’t go out in future. The UK has one of the most stable supplies of electricity in Europe.”

The head of the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG), which represents companies that use a lot of energy, Jeremy Nicholson, has voiced fears before about energy security but says the capacity auctions will secure supplies. He said: “The power industry makes a lot of noise about tight generating margins but somehow manages to provide plenty of capacity when it’s needed. The capacity issue is sorted now – frankly it should have happened 5-10 years ago. Our bigger concern now is the possibility that when margins are tight, the price will shoot through the roof.”

Energy UK is also confident about supply, saying: “We support the Capacity Market and we believe it will keep the lights on in Great Britain.”

Capacity auctions were originally introduced so that back-up supply was available from 2018, but the scheme was brought forward. Bidders who are successful will receive payments for keeping power stations available between November and February, even if they are not generating. Coal, gas and nuclear stations are able to bid for the payment, as well as demand reduction suppliers and interconnectors. Then the National Grid will juggle what’s needed when. A government spokesman said securing capacity to back up intermittent forms of energy like solar and wind might cost about £7 per year per household initially, reducing to £2 over the longer term. He said power shortages resulting in price surges would be much more costly. Generating margins were forecast to be tight for this winter, but there has been no problem, despite a long cold windless spell during which wind energy has produced around 1% of electricity demand. The highest daily percentage of wind power was over 20%.

Source: BBC

Ofgem tells the big six energy suppliers not to raise prices

Utility procurement prices

Ofgem has warned the big six energy companies, EDF Energy, British Gas, SSE, E.On, Scottish Power and Npower, that they shouldn’t raise their prices in the Spring, despite a 15% increase in their costs. It believes that increasing wholesale gas and electricity prices were mainly to blame for driving costs upwards, along with renewable energy subsidies.

At the end of last year, energy companies stated that upward pressure from wholesale costs may be passed on to consumers with tariff price increases. However, they were slow to pass on falling wholesale prices in 2014.

Ofgem recently published its supplier cost index. EDF Energy announced a price rise in December, which will increase customers’ electricity prices by 8.4% and lower gas prices by 5.2% in the Spring. Oil prices, which also set the gas price, dropped from a high of $115 a barrel in 2014 to less than $30 at the beginning of 2016. However, the price has now recovered. Other companies have pledged to freeze prices until the end of the Winter, but some have already hinted that wholesale pressures will lead to imminent price rises. The regulator’s analysis found that electricity wholesale costs accounted for 6% of the increase on the cost index, with gas wholesale costs accounting for 6.6 points. Levies on environmental and social programmes, in particular those supporting renewable energy, accounted for 2.9%. Other costs, such as energy transmission and distribution, were down a little. Despite higher costs to suppliers, they are still around a tenth lower than they were at the start of 2014 due to a 2-year period of falling costs. The average household dual-fuel energy bill was £1,066 in December 2016 compared with £1,140 in December 2013.

The Energy Brokers is independent of suppliers and provides energy and utility procurement, management, risk, compliance and related services to organizations that want to drive down costs. Part of The Consultus International Group and sister company of The Waterbuyers and Assured Energy, we have spent 20 years in energy procurement building a reputation for openness, honesty and transparency. We are proven experts in procuring and managing energy and other utilities, in understanding and reducing risk, in taking a genuinely commercial view of your business and its requirements and then matching that with the most appropriate and cost-effective energy strategy.

For more information email or call 0330 221 1000.


Source: The Guardian

Water deregulation – industry launches awareness campaign

Water deregulationThe water industry has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the new non-household retail water market in England, which deregulates in April 2017.

When the market opens on 3 April, 1.2 million businesses, charities and public sector organisations will be able to choose which company will supply their retail water services. A survey by the water industry regulator Ofwat has discovered that up to two-thirds of eligible customers are unaware of this development.

Water industry organisations have joined together to support the awareness-raising campaign to ensure customers do not miss out on the benefits of choice, which include consolidating multiple services into a single high-performance service. If your business is eligible, you will no longer be restricted to buying retail water services from your regional water company as you have to today. Instead, you will be free to choose.

To assist you with this transition, The Waterbuyers can help you by consolidating clean water and wastewater services from different water suppliers into a single high-performance service, saving money, time and resources. A trusted provider of utility buying and demand reduction services – and 100% independent of water suppliers – we can ensure you make savings when these become tenderable. We always go out to the whole market – and we set the benchmark in pricing performance.

For more information please email or call 0330 024 5707.