Utilities

Half of Britain’s energy suppliers face an existential risk after the “Beast from the East” tore through the balance sheets of the industry’s small players. Thousands of energy customers could be left in limbo due to a high risk that around 10 of the most fragile suppliers are on the brink of going under. Many hundreds of thousands more bill payers face the risk of sudden energy tariff hikes because almost 40 suppliers may be forced to squeeze their customers to survive. The startling strain endured by the industry in the wake of the volatile winter energy market is laid bare in leaked proprietary data compiled by one of the City’s top analytics firms, Dun and Bradstreet. The report, seen by The Sunday Telegraph, ranks 37 of Britain’s 81 energy suppliers as being at risk. Eight are identified as being on the brink of failing based on forensic analysis of company financial accounts and trade payments. The dire health warning underlines the struggle of energy suppliers, which have endured a winter of price spikes not seen in six years, and face the threat of the Government’s looming energy price cap later in the year.

Telegraph 26th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 27 May 2018

Utilities

Big Six energy supplier SSE will make its first dividend cut ever following its exit from the supply market to refocus on generating and distributing gas and power. The FTSE 100 giant will offer shareholders one last payout bonanza, despite tumbling profits and the loss of 430,000 customers, before cutting the payouts for the first time in its history at the end of the decade.

Telegraph 25th May 2018 read more »

SSE lost more than 430,000 customers over the past year, putting a dent in profits as it gears up for a merger with Npower. The energy provider said the number of retail customer accounts fell to 8.03 million in the year to March, from 8.47 million in the previous year.

Independent 25th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 26 May 2018

Rosatom

Rosatom, the Russian state nuclear corporation, yesterday signed a series of agreements with overseas companies during the Atomexpo conference and exhibition being held this week in Sochi, Russia. The agreements, with Chile, China, Cuba, Finland, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain and Zambia, include the engineering and medical sectors, among others.

World Nuclear News 16th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 May 2018

EDF

[Machine Translation] On the eve of EDF’s Annual General Meeting, Greenpeace France points to the poisoning that EDF’s CEO has been driving for several months and will present the shareholders of the company tomorrow. With a lot of communication on the energy transition, the company is far from developing renewable energies and directs almost all of its investments in nuclear power. A strategy that is losing, both for the company, and for France, which is lagging far behind the implementation of its energy transition. Faced with EDF shareholders, Jean-Bernard Lévy will no doubt say tomorrow that the company plays a central role in the energy transition, with its solar plan for 2035 presented in December 2017. ” In reality, when we cross the calendars and EDF budgets, we realize that the company will mainly give priority to investments in the nuclear fleet and postpone its investments in solar … In general, the company is already behind the targets that she fixed herself. And yet, in 2017, it devoted only 10% of its investments to renewables! ” Exclaims Alix Mazounie, energy campaigner for Greenpeace France.

Greenpeace France 14th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 15 May 2018

Companies

British Gas still losing customers amid fierce competition. The group also saw increased demand for energy during the cold snap brought on by the Beast from the East.

Energy Voice 14th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 14 May 2018

Companies

China Three Gorges has launched a €9bn offer to take full control of EDP, the Portuguese utility, in what would be one of the biggest Chinese takeovers of a European company. It is sure to attract political scrutiny not only in Portugal, where EDP is the country’s dominant generator and distributor of electricity, but also in the US, where it has a growing portfolio of wind and solar assets.

FT 11th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 12 May 2018

EDF

Electric power utility EDF (EDF.PA) said improved availability of its French nuclear power stations and higher tariffs boosted first-quarter sales by 3.7 percent to 20.45 billion euros. Chief financial officer Xavier Girre told analysts that EDF expects the French State Council to decide on regulated power tariffs in coming weeks, after an adviser to the Council last week recommended scrapping the tariffs, under which EDF sells power to most of its clients.

Reuters 9th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 10 May 2018

Utilities

The proposed merger of SSE and Npower faces an in-depth competition inquiry after the energy giants failed to address concerns their combination would result in higher household bills. The Competition and Markets Authority said it had referred the merger for a Phase 2 inquiry which would take until October 22. The watchdog had given the companies until late last week to offer “undertakings” to address its competition concerns but said they had not done so. The transaction could be complicated by the fact that Innogy, which is controlled by Germany’s RWE, is due to be sold to Eon, a rival German supplier that already has a UK supply business. This raises the possibility that Eon could end up owning or having indirect stakes in three of the Big Six suppliers. Industry sources expect Innogy could therefore be required to sell its holding in the merged SSE-Npower company before the Eon deal goes through.

Times 9th May 2018 read more »

The energy giants behind one of the sector’s biggest mergers are poised to offer the UK’s competition watchdog a full defence of its £3bn plan to cut the Big Six suppliers down to five. SSE and Npower have opted for a full Competition and Markets Authority investigation of its scheme to create a new energy supply giant, rather than offering measures to assuage the authority’s concerns that a merger might lead to higher bills. The CMA’s initial review of the deal, which would create a supplier with a combined 11.5m customers in the UK, raised fears that the merger would reduce competition in a market already plagued by concerns over unfair bills.

Telegraph 8th May 2018 read more »

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has started the hunt for a new chairman at an uncertain time for the UK’s largest household energy supplier. Rick Haythornthwaite, who was appointed in January 2014, announced on Tuesday that he would step down within 12 months, at a time when British Gas and the other “big six” suppliers contend with intense political pressure over “rip-off” energy bills. Centrica investors, meanwhile, have seen the value of shares drop by more than half over the past four years, from 344.9p at the start of 2014 to 153.65p and are worried about the company’s growth and ability to maintain its dividend. News of Mr Haythornthwaite’s departure also turns the spotlight on to Iain Conn, a former BP veteran who arrived as chief e xecutive in January 2015. He will need to be at his most persuasive when he faces shareholders at Centrica’s annual meeting in London next Monday that the company is on the right path under the strategy he put in place three years ago. When Mr Conn took the helm he inherited a company which, under his predecessor Sam Laidlaw, had ploughed money into buying oil and gas assets. But with the oil price collapsing, Mr Conn changed tack. Weeks into his tenure he cut the dividend by 30 per cent and tore up the strategy. The former oil man said Centrica would move away from capital-intensive generating assets. Gas power plants were sold. Last year, Centrica merged its European oil and gas business into a joint venture. Future growth, said Mr Conn in July 2015, would come from energy supply and services, energy markets and trading and “the connected home” – the installation of devices such as Centrica’s smart Hive thermostat that allows customers to control their heati ng and lighting remotely.

FT 8th May 2018 read more »

Posted: 9 May 2018

Companies

National Grid has agreed a potential £1.2 billion sale of its remaining stake in Cadent, its former gas distribution business. The FTSE 100 utility sold a 61 per cent stake in the regional networks, which distribute gas to 11 million homes and businesses, to Quadgas, a Macquarie-led consortium, last year, with an agreement that it could sell a further 14 per cent on similar terms next year. National Grid said yesterday that it had come to an agreement where either party could trigger the sale of the final 25 per cent stake of the networks, which have been rebranded as Cadent, to Quadgas next year.

Times 2nd May 2018 read more »

Posted: 2 May 2018

Utilities

Britain’s competition watchdog said the planned merger of SSE’s (SSE.L) retail power and gas business in the UK with Npower, owned by German rival Innogy (IGY.DE), could lead to higher prices for customers and warrants further scrutiny. The watchdog said the merger would be referred for a longer Phase 2 investigation unless the parties offer acceptable undertakings to address the competition concerns. “We know that competition in the energy market does not work as well as it might,” said Rachel Merelie, senior director at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). “However, competition between energy companies gives them a reason to keep prices down.

Reuters 26th April 2018 read more »

BBC 26th April 2018 read more »

FT 26th April 2018 read more »

Posted: 27 April 2018