Utility Week

UTILITY Week 25th November 2016

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Customers This week SSE will freeze prices until at least April Second largest energy supplier confirms it will not hike standard household prices this winter SSE has promised to freeze its household energy prices until at least April 2017. Britain's second largest energy supplier has confirmed it will not increase standard household energy prices this winter, cap- ping them at their current level to give customers "peace of mind". The freeze follows price rises in October from independent suppliers GB Energy Supply and Ecotricity of 30 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively. The suppliers blamed the rises on growing wholesale costs and GB Energy Supply warned that "many small suppliers" will have to make similar price changes. SSE managing director of retail, Will Morris, said: "We understand that the prospect of increasing bills dur- ing the colder months is a real concern for customers, particularly as they start to turn up the heating. So today we're giving them peace of mind that no matter what happens we will not increase our standard household energy prices during the winter, until at least next April. "This follows our unique two-and-a-half-year price freeze in March 2014, since which time we've also cut prices three times for our standard customers as we work to keep prices as low as possible for as long as possible." Earlier this month, SSE's financial results revealed a 13 per cent drop in profits, which it blamed on the weather, falling customer numbers, and smart meter rollout costs. It has also committed to improve services needed for competitors to connect customers to its distri- bution network aer Ofgem closed the investigation into whether the supplier infringed competition law. SJ ENERGY 2.3m are on ten most expensive tariffs Analysis by consumer collective The Big Deal has revealed 2.3 mil- lion people are on the UK's ten most expensive energy tariffs. Customers on these tariffs are paying as much as £361 more for their energy than they would on the cheapest deal. Topping the list of the "worst" tariffs is Co-op Pioneer Variable Quarterly Billing, which comes in at £1,184 for an annual dual fuel bill. Four of the big six are listed in the ten highest priced tariffs – Npower, Scottish Power, SSE and EDF – all of them with a standard variable tariff. SSE and Green Star Energy feature twice. Edward Molyneux, The Big Deal's head of research, said: "The big six call these deals 'standard'… the government and regulator should force the big six to rename these tariffs as 'emer- gency tariffs' to encourage people who are on them to act and get off them as soon as possible." The figures are based on 12,500kWh of gas and 3,100kWh of electricity. ELECTRICITY Good Energy starts online marketplace Business energy customers can choose where their electricity is generated with a new online tool from Good Energy. The independent supplier has launched its 'Selectricity' online marketplace to allow businesses to choose how and where their electricity is generated, by matching them with local renew- able energy generators. It will also show hour-by-hour usage. The part-government-funded tool was developed by Open Util- ity and is the first peer-to-peer offering in the UK. Customers using the platform include the National Trust, Brixton Energy and Community Power Cornwall. WATER Leakage falls but 'more must be done' Leakage levels across the water industry have fallen by 1.4 per cent in the past year, reversing the upward trend of the previous four years. However, water com- panies must do more to improve. That was the message from the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) in a new report, Delving into Water, which revealed 121 litres of water is still wasted through leakage on aver- age per household each day. "Whilst there has been a 1.4 per cent decrease this year, it remains above the baseline of 2010/11. However, all companies have met the leakage perfor- mance commitments set out at the 2014 price review. We con- tinue to question whether these targets are challenging enough," CCWater said. Morris: 'We're giving customers peace of mind' I am the customer Victoria MacGregor "Landlords who can afford it must raise energy standards" Earlier this year, George, a 68-year-old pensioner who rents from a private landlord, sought help from Citizens Advice because his home is freezing cold. There is no double glazing or insulation, the radiators don't work and the window frames are rotting. When he spoke to his landlord about this, the landlord said he would fix the windows – but nothing was done. Up to 750,000 private renters live in properties in England with a low F or G energy efficiency an upfront fee. With the Green Deal loan scheme no longer supported, landlords can avoid paying for even simple improve- ments such as lo insulation. The government should insist that landlords who can afford to raise the energy efficiency stand- ard of their rented properties do so now. A fund paid for out of stamp duty could also be set up to help landlords pay for further upgrades costing over £5,000. Victoria MacGregor, director of energy, Citizens Advice rating. These homes are more likely to suffer from damp and less likely to have modern boil- ers, wall insulation or even cen- tral heating. Tenants face paying £1,000 more than the national average bill to heat these homes. But because tenants normally pay the energy bills, landlords have little financial incentive to make improvements that would bring down the extra heating costs – so many simply don't. Despite regulations intro- duced last year requiring the standard of rented properties to be brought up to a minimum rating of E by 2020, landlords won't have to make any energy improvements that cost them UTILITY WEEK | 25TH NOVEMBER - 1ST DECEMBER 2016 | 25

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