Companies

DRAX has underlined its belief in the long term potential of the assets it acquired in Scotland in a £702 million deal in October after Scottish Power lost interest in them. The portfolio includes a giant reservoir-based power generator in Argyll, the Lanark and Galloway hydro-electric facilities on rivers in South West Scotland and a biomass fuel plant near Glasgow, along with four gas-fired power stations in England. Spanish-owned Scottish Power has decided the best prospects lie in wind power as it responds to the shift to clean energy. However, the head of Drax’s generation operations, Andy Koss, said the assets bought from Scottish Power would help it support the move to renewables. Drax expects the hydro-electric generating assets bought from Scottish Power to have long remaining lives as they have been well invested in. It is particularly excited about the potential of the Cruachan pumped-storage facility in Argyll, one of only four in the UK, to provide support to the evolving power system in Scotland.

Herald 14th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 14 January 2019

Utilities

The energy industry regulator has admitted that there are too many unsustainable energy suppliers providing gas and electricity to British homes after it encouraged a stampede of start-ups into the market. The chairman of Ofgem, Martin Cave, said customers had faced a string of energy company failures, “unacceptable” pricing tactics and “shoddy customer service” as the market has grown to more than 80 suppliers. The “downsides” of the market’s growth meant that “arguably too many suppliers have come into the market with unsustainable business models”, he told an industry conference. It is the first time Ofgem has admitted that it has allowed too many financially shaky companies to take charge of providing an essential service to customers. It comes after four suppliers collapsed in as many months, leaving more than 700,000 homes in limbo while the regulator appoints a new supplier.

Telegraph 10th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 11 January 2019

Utilities

Energy regulator Ofgem is to tighten up the rules for new suppliers of gas and electricity after nine new entrants ceased trading. The latest to collapse was Economy Energy, which ceased trading on Tuesday. Ofgem is looking for a new supplier for its 235,000 customers. Mary Starks, Ofgem’s executive director for consumers and markets, told the BBC that there was “room for improvement” in the licensing regime. She also defended the new price cap. This caps prices at £1,137 a year for an average dual-fuel customer who pays by direct debit. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Starks said that new suppliers were subject to rigorous background checks and subject to financial requirements.

BBC 9th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 10 January 2019

Utilities

Energy supplier Economy Energy, which was recently banned from taking on new customers, has collapsed. The supply to its 235,000 domestic customers will continue, any credit they have will be protected, and a new supplier will take on their accounts. Regulator Ofgem said a new supplier would be appointed as soon as possible. On Friday, it had ordered the company to improve customer service. Economy Energy is the latest of a host of small suppliers to fold.

BBC 8th Jan 2019 read more »

Britain’s fastest growing energy supplier is on track to burn through its milestone private equity investment after plunging to a £24m loss last year. Bulb Energy said a boom in its customer numbers drove the business to an annual loss for the year ending last March which was ten times higher than its £1.9m loss the year before. The East London start up “unashamedly” wiped out its £12m gross profit in a bid to acquire new customers. It reached 220,000 accounts at the end of the most recent financial year. Bulb’s losses are expected to balloon in the current financial year after the company trebled its customer base to around 870,000 by the end of 2018. The growth threatens to eat through the £60m investment it raised from a pair of private equity backers less than six months ago.

Telegraph 8th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 9 January 2019

Utilities

More small energy suppliers will be pushed to collapse by rules forcing them to pick up the tab for those that have gone bust already, an industry boss has warned. Eight suppliers ceased trading last year, owing tens of millions of pounds between them to their customers and to industry schemes. Ofgem rules mean that much of this debt will fall to rivals. Doug Stewart, chief executive of Green Energy, said that its share of the bill for competitors’ unpaid debts under one scheme alone would wipe out 7 per cent of its annual profits. He said that his company, a small but established supplier, could weather the costs, but warned that others would not. Dozens of new energy suppliers have started up in recent years, encouraged by the government and the regulator to take on the Big Six incumbents. More than 70 are now opera ting, but critics have warned that some are charging unsustainably cheap prices.

Times 7th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 7 January 2019

Utilities

Completion of deal means Drax will play bigger role at heart of Great Britain’s energy system. Drax is set to play a bigger role in Great Britain’s energy system than ever following the completion of the purchase of Spanish company Iberdrola’s portfolio of flexible, low-carbon and renewable assets, for £702 million subject to customary adjustments. The combination of hydro plants in Scotland with Drax’s biomass units in Yorkshire reinforce the company’s position as Great Britain’s biggest generator of renewable power. With the addition of 35% of Great Britain’s electricity storage capacity and 2GW of gas power stations Drax will also be better placed to provide the flexibility and stability to help underpin the increases in solar and wind power which will be needed in the decades to come if the UK is to meet its climate targets. The 2.6GW portfolio consists of Cruachan pumped storage hydro (440MW) in Argyll, run-of-river hydro locations at Galloway and Lanark (126MW) and a biomass-from-waste facility at Daldowie in Scotland as well as four Combined Cycle Gas Turbine stations in England: Damhead Creek (805MW) in Kent, Rye House (715MW) in Hertfordshire, Shoreham (420MW) in West Sussex and Blackburn Mill (60MW) in Lancashire.

Drax Press Release 1st Jan 2019 read more »

Cruachan Power Station in Argyll has started 2019 under new ownership after a £702 million deal completed a minute before midnight on Hogmanay.

Energy Voice 2nd Jan 2019 read more »

The energy regulator has threatened to shut down a troubled household supplier with 250,000 customers unless it addresses service failings. Ofgem said that it was banning Economy Energy from taking on new customers, demanding one-off payments from existing customers or increasing their direct debits because of its “unacceptable” levels of service. It noted that Economy was breaking, or likely to break, licence conditions and standards over service, billing, refunds and handling of complaints. The regulator warned the company that if it failed to improve, it could revoke its licence to operate.

The Times 5th Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 5 January 2019

Utilities

Why market for UK energy providers needs reform. Regulator urged to tighten rules for newcomers as number of failing companies grows. It was a bad week for the 36,000 customers of energy provider One Select. On the Saturday the company that supplied their gas and electricity was crowned the worst provider of customer service in the sector. On Monday it went bust. Part of a growing trend. Eight providers across the UK failed last year not counting a further four which exited through corporate transactions, and as many as 10 more could follow suit over coming months.

FT 3rd Jan 2019 read more »

THE sale of more than £700 million worth of assets by Scottish Power has been completed, meaning that the energy company is now the first in the UK to rely completely on renewable wind power. Selby-based Drax said it was “pleased to announce that it has completed the acquisition of Scottish Power’s portfolio of pumped storage, hydro and gas-fired generation, which comprises ScottishPower Generation Group and its wholly owned subsidiary, SMW”. Drax shareholders approved the deal at a general meeting held on December 21 2018 and the acquisition from Scottish Power’s owners Iberdrola was formally completed on December 31. Among the assets being sold are the giant Cruachan pumped storage hydro electric scheme in Argyll and Bute which has a 440 megawatt capacity, run-of-river hydro locations at Galloway and Lanark (126MW) and a biomass-from-waste facility at Daldowie as well as four Combined Cycle Gas Turbine stations in England: Damhead Creek (805MW) in Kent, Rye House (715MW) in Hertfordshire, Shoreham (420MW) in West Sussex and Blackburn Mill (60MW) in Lancashire.

The National 3rd Jan 2019 read more »

City AM 2nd Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 3 January 2019

Steel Industry

Cleaning up steel is key to tackling climate change. Technology to make grey metal green will not be rolled out commercially until 2030s. Globally, steel is responsible for 7 per cent to 9 per cent of all direct emissions from fossil fuels, with each tonne produced resulting in an average 1.83 tonnes of CO2, according to the World Steel Association. And as the world’s population grows, demand is only predicted to increase.

FT 1st Jan 2019 read more »

Posted: 2 January 2019

Utilities

The troubled energy supplier at the centre of an accounting scandal has warned that losses will be even deeper than feared, after a review that uncovered “serious historic failures” in its finance function. Yu Group is under investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority after its warning in October that it had discovered a £10 million black hole in its finances and was on track for a £5 million loss this year. Yesterday it said losses would now be between £7.4 million and £7.9 million this year, sending shares tumbling 14 per cent to new lows. Yu operates Yu Energy, the Nottingham-based business energy company, which supplies gas and electricity to about 10,000 small and mid-sized businesses. It was founded in 2012 and floated on London’s junior Aim market in 2016 at 185p. It reported revenues of £47 million and pre-tax profits of £2.2 million last year.

Times 21st Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 21 December 2018

Utilities

A small business energy supplier is under investigation by financial regulators over the accuracy of its disclosures before the surprise announcement of a £10 million hole in its profit forecasts. Yu Group said the Financial Conduct Authority intended to “review the accuracy” of its announcements between March 6, the date of its last annual results, and October 24, when its shares plunged by 80 per cent on the profit warning. Shares in the company, which is listed on London’s Aim market, fell by a further 27 per cent yesterday to close at 78½p, down from 580p the day before the October announcement.

Times 20th Dec 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 December 2018