News January 2014

4 January 2014

Energy Costs

It may be a new year, but the energy debate has picked up where it left off in 2013. Yesterday, the Labour party accused the ‘big six’ energy companies of overcharging their customers by a total of £4 billion. Labour, Ofgem, and the energy industry are all calling for greater transparency in the energy market. Until that happens, politicians and commentators are forced to make do with the data available to them – as Labour has this week – to try and work out whether consumers are getting value for money. As such, it seems unlikely the big six are overcharging consumers by precisely £4 billion as there are too many unknown factors. But Labour’s analysis highlights just how hard it is to know whether consumers are getting a good deal in the current energy market.

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Posted: 4 January 2014

3 January 2014

Hinkley

A legal challenge against the £16bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project brought by Ireland’s equivalent of the National Trust has been rejected by a High Court judge. An Taisce had challenged energy secretary Ed Davey’s April 2012 decision to grant planning permission to the plant. The Irish group argued the decision had been taken without consulting the Irish public, who could be affected by any disaster and any subsequent leakage of radiation because the plant is situated just 150 miles from the Irish coast. It said this was in breach of the European Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and the UK’s own regulations on environmental impacts that stretch across national borders. But Mrs Justice Patterson found that Davey’s decision had been made properly and refused to give An Taisce permission for a judicial review.

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Posted: 3 January 2014

2 January 2014

Energy Costs

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.

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Posted: 2 January 2014

1 January 2014

Energy Costs

Energy giants have come under fire for failing to deliver promised price reductions, despite cuts for customers of a rival supplier coming into effect on Wednesday. Ministers announced at the start of December a deal with the companies to cut an average of £50 from household bills by reforming controversial ‘green levies’. It said at the time: “All of the major energy suppliers have confirmed that they will pass the benefits of this package to their customers.” But while British Gas announced a price cut the same day – which comes into effect on January 1 – three other of the ‘Big Six’ suppliers, nPower, ScottishPower and SSE, have yet to confirm price cuts for their millions of customers, a month later.

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Posted: 1 January 2014