Households may have paid £150 over the odds for their electricity over the past three years because energy companies bought their power for almost £4bn more than the average market rate, Labour has claimed. In a new analysis of official figures, the Labour party, which has pledged to freeze prices for 20 months if it wins the general election in 2015, said the big six energy suppliers appear either to be inflating their prices to make extra profits for their own power plants, or striking very expensive deals to the detriment of consumers. Caroline Flint, the shadow energy secretary, said she could demonstrate that the energy giants – which supply 98% of households in Britain – have been buying electricity at a far higher price than they could get on the open market. This amounts to about £50 a year per household for the last three years for which data is available, she said.
Guardian 1st Jan 2014 read more »
Mirror 1st Jan 2014 read more »
The big six energy companies no doubt hoped a new year might bring some relief from the political spotlight that has burned as brightly as any Christmas tree. But the unseasonal hand grenade lobbed their way by the Labour party should remind them they will remain a focus of Westminster attention for some time yet. Nothing could be more damaging at this juncture than for the power firms to be accused of overcharging customers by almost £4bn. Those same energy companies had been blaming the growth of green levies and other outside costs for pushing customer bills up to record levels. And the government has just lifted a significant burden from their costs through the removal of some social and environmental obligat ions. The latest allegation of profiteering surrounds claims that the big six are feeding their profits by effectively charging their retail supply business over the odds for electricity delivered from their power stations. They have always said this does not happen.
Guardian 2nd Jan 2014 read more »
The only way Britain can benefit from US-style low energy prices is by creating a totally integrated power market across Europe, the Energy minister Ed Davey has claimed. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said neither Labour leader Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy prices for two years, nor a UK fracking boom, would reduce household bills. Instead, he said there was an urgent need to build a giant network of electricity interconnectors across Europe, allowing vast amounts of energy to be moved between countries, driving down prices.
Independent 2nd Jan 2014 read more »
Ed Davey has dismissed Labour leader Ed Miliband’s suggestion that a two-year price freeze would solve the issue of soaring energy bills as “highly irresponsible” and a “con”. In a forthright condemnation of the proposal, the Energy Secretary said the move is “highly irresponsible and fails to deliver what consumers want,” adding “we think it’s a con, because the energy companies will all shove up their prices before and certainly shove them up afterwards, so the consumer won’t get any benefit.”
Independent 1st Jan 2014 read more »
Changes to energy tariffs designed to create a simpler and clearer market are coming into force. Regulator Ofgem claims its banning of confusing and complex tariffs will help to rebuild consumer trust. Other changes include limiting suppliers to just four tariffs per customer for both electricity and gas and simplifying how prices are charged. Energy UK, which represents suppliers, said the changes would “help people get the best deal” on their energy.
BBC 2nd Jan 2014 read more »
Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, was due to chair a meeting of the Government’s crisis committee Cobra in response to the bad weather and power cuts. The meeting was expected to be attended by officials from the Met Office, the Environment Agency, the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence, among others. About 300 properties in the South and East of England were without power today. Britain’s energy network companies are due to be hauled before the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee for a grilling about the length of time it took to restore power after the recent storms.
Independent 1st Jan 2014 read more »
Ingested Uranium is linked with health impacts far greater than is explained by orthodox risk models. Chris Busby explains how the ‘demon metal’ does its damage – and why the nuclear industry is desperate to hide the truth.
Ecologist 1st Jan 2014 read more »
Soroof International, the Saudi conglomerate controlled by Prince Bandar Bin Abdullah al-Saud, a powerful member of the kingdom’s royal family, is filing a formal complaint again EDF, the state-run electric utility company of France, Reuters reports. While the details of the complaint have not yet been made public, the conflict emerged over what Soroof representatives described in a statement as the “faulty execution” of an agreement on the part of EDF to honor its obligations. The two companies have been involved in a joint venture to develop electricity projects. Also of concern is the future of French-Saudi cooperation around nuclear energy development; the beneficiaries of multibillion dollar contracts to European nuclear-reactor vendors could include EDF and its French rival Areva. Reuters also reports that, while EDF has thus far issued no comment on the matter, French President Francois Hollande and other French government officials are traveling to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to meet with their Saudi counterparts. Soroof has brought their grievances to the International Chamber of Commerce, which will be abitrating the dispute, but declined to give details of their complaint, citing the requirements of the arbitration process.
IB Times 29th Dec 2013 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Nearly three years after a major earthquake, tsunami and nuclear radiation leak devastated coastal and inland areas of Japan‘s Fukushima prefecture, 175 miles north-east of Tokyo, Namie has become a silent town of ghosts and absent lives. Namie’s 21,000 residents remain evacuated because of continuing high radiation levels, the product of the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, six miles to the south. Homes, shops and streets are deserted except for the occasional police patrol or checkpoint.
RINF 1st Jan 2014 read more »
On the occasion of French President François Hollande’s visit to Riyadh on December 30, 2013, EDF and AREVA signed two sets of agreements aimed at supporting the Saudi nuclear energy program. The two companies have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with 5 Saudi industrial partners (Zamil Steel, Bahra Cables, Riyadh Cables, Saudi Pumps, Descon Olayan). These agreements aim to develop the industrial and technical skills of local companies. They reflect AREVA and EDF’s desire to build an extended network of Saudi suppliers for future nuclear projects in the country.
4 Taders 31st Dec 2013 read more »
China has agreed to provide Pakistan with a $6.5bn loan to construct twin nuclear power stations in the southern port city of Karachi, the largest ever Chinese financing deal for a single project in the country. The Karachi facilities will add 15 per cent to the energy-starved nation’s generation capacity. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif hailed the project as “a big source of electricity supply” during a media briefing on the economy at his office in Islamabad. The deal follows a series of other Chinese financing arrangements in Pakistan, including a $600m loan from the People’s Bank of China last May, deepening ties between the two Asian nations. Analysts familiar with the growth in China’s links with Pakistan say its support for the Karachi plants signifies an escalation in Beijing’s involvement in the country.
FT 1st Jan 2014 read more »
Renewables – solar
In many ways, Africa is the final frontier. Although humans originated from Africa, technology is often the last to come to Africa. In the West, we take light bulbs, refrigerators, and other appliances for granted. While those products were invented a long time ago, they have yet to make their way to the majority of Africans. According to the International Energy Agency, almost 60% of Africans still do not have access to electricity. As Africa modernizes and solar costs trend lower, solar energy is poised to play an integral part in Africa’s electrification.
Motley Fool 31st Dec 2013 read more »
Predicting the future is a fool’s game, but we’d be letting Santa down if we didn’t give our brand new crystal ball a whirl. Here’s our stab at pre-empting 2014’s seven big stories.
Carbon Brief 1st Jan 2014 read more »
As the planet marked its fourth hottest year on record, a study published in the journal Nature found increasing levels of carbon dioxide will lead to thinner ocean clouds and reduce their cooling impact, causing temperature rises of at least 5.6F (3C) over the course of the century. The team of scientists said the findings show some climate models have been too “optimistic” and previous estimates of a minimum temperature rise of only 2.7F (1.5C) could now be discounted. The optimistic models did not properly assess the impact of water evaporation, which sometimes rises only a short distance into the atmosphere and causes updraughts that reduce cloud cover, the study found.
Telegraph 1st Jan 2014 read more »
Michael Meacher: Significant doubts are now emerging in many key areas about the real benefits of fracking. The question marks over US shale oil and gas supplies, particularly the rapid peaking and then very fast decline rates, are too little understood in the UK and therefore don’t provide the check to resist Osborne’s hyperbole that they should. There is also the important constraint that the areas most profitable for shale drilling in the UK have middle class neighbourhoods where resistance is likely to be determined and persistent. For all these reasons it’s likely that Osborne, out of desperation over a flat economy, may yet again be chewing off more than he bargained for.
Michael Meacher 1st Jan 2014 read more »
Despite all the hype that fracking the UK will mean cheaper energy bills, it is increasingly clear that the opposite is the case, writes Lesley Docksey. And who will pay the cost? Taxpayers, energy users, and the environment.
Ecologist 31st Dec 2013 read more »