Experts will issue a warning that the approaching winter could bring even greater difficulties, surpassing the challenges experienced in previous winters.

Energy experts have sounded the alarm over the UK’s heavy dependence on imports, cautioning that this leaves the nation vulnerable to price volatility.

Analysis conducted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year revealed that the energy crisis had a more severe impact on UK household budgets than any other country in Western Europe.

Analysts suggest closing several gas storage facilities in 2017 exacerbates the current crisis.

Although plans are in place to reopen some of them, the UK currently possesses only a few days’ worth of gas storage, while countries like Germany and the Netherlands have enough reserves to meet months of demand.

Later this week, the Henry Jackson Society, a leading think tank, will also call on the Chancellor to be prepared to offer additional support, particularly in the form of subsidies targeted at individuals with lower incomes.

In its latest report titled “Winter is Coming: The UK’s Response to Russia’s Energy Weaponisation”, the think tank aims to delve into the factors contributing to the potential challenges of the upcoming 2023/24 winter in the UK, evaluate the effectiveness of government policies thus far and analyse the course of the energy crisis during this critical period.

Meanwhile, Labour has criticised the loss of storage facilities, estimating a cost of £1.7 billion to the nation.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves stated, “Yet another failure on energy security hasn’t just left families paying more, it’s left us exposed and reliant on others.”

The government’s recent changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme have been met with criticism from analysts.

The government‘s decision to reduce the “cap” in the UK Emission Trading Scheme (UK ETS) has drawn criticism from experts who said that the move makes it cheaper for businesses to pollute.

The UK ETS replaced the UK’s participation in the EU ETS on 1st January 2021.

Participating in the scheme, companies, including airlinesenergy companies and heavy industries have to purchase one allowance per tone of carbon dioxide emitted.

The scheme puts a limit on overall carbon production and provides allowances to industries to emit a specific amount of carbon.

Companies that reduce their emissions can sell their allowances to others, making a profit.

Over time, the government reduces the emission limit (“cap”) to encourage further reductions.

In contrast to the EU’s stable carbon prices due to strict regulations, the UK’s post-Brexit climate policies have led to a drop in the cost of carbon emissions for industries.

Analysts have criticised the most recent UK ETS change, as reported by the Financial Times.

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson told Energy Live News: “This government is committed to getting to net zero in a way that grows the economy and protects people’s livelihoods.

“We’ve taken significant steps to improve the ambition of the UK ETS and recently announced a reduction in the cap of 30% – to bring the scheme in line with our net zero goals.

“We want to ensure a smooth transition to the net zero cap allowing the market and participants time to adapt while ensuring the strength of overall ambition is not affected.”

Charities and community groups across England, Scotland and Wales are invited to bid for £3 million in funding from the Ofgem Energy Redress Scheme’s fifth funding round.

Ofgem Energy Redress Scheme has opened its fifth funding round, making £3 million available for charities and community organisations.

The scheme aims to provide financial support to initiatives focusing on aiding vulnerable households, fostering innovation in the energy sector and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Applications are now open and eligible organisations have until August 22, 2023, to apply for grants.

The Ofgem Energy Redress Scheme has already supported more than 470 projects since February 2018, with a total award of £81 million in funding.

This latest funding round is expected to contribute to various projects that promote energy efficiency, provide impartial energy advice to vulnerable individuals, engage communities on energy-related issues and conduct research on accommodating the needs of elderly and disabled people through advanced energy technologies.

Image: Nenad Cavoski / Shutterstock

Around 2.4 million households have missed at least one essential bill payment, including energy and water bills, in the month to mid-July, according to a report

The number of people missing payments on household bills, such as energy, phone and water, has surged to levels typically observed during winter.

A new report by consumer group Which? estimates around 2.4 million households missed at least one bill payment in the month leading up to mid-July.

According to Which?’s consumer insight tracker, a monthly online poll involving approximately 2,000 respondents, 8.6% of households missed at least one bill payment in July, compared to 8.2% in January.

The figures for missed bill payments had slightly improved in May and June but rose again in July.

As of 1st July, Ofgem established the annual price cap level at £2,074 for ‘typical’ dual-fuel households paying by direct debit.

Energy bills are calculated based on the customer’s actual usage, which may result in payments exceeding or falling below the price cap level.

Approximately 1.5 million households missed payments on household bills, including energy, water, phone, or council tax, with nearly two-thirds of this group missing more than one payment, according to the report.

Recently, Matthew Cole, the Head of the Fuel Bank Foundation, expressed concern over the end of the government’s Energy Bill Support Scheme, which previously served as a “vital lifeline” for millions of people, especially those with prepayment meters.

Mr Cole highlighted the worrying and uncertain future faced by some customers with no plans in place to renew the scheme.

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A collaboration of five UK community energy groups has initiated share offers to fund the transfer of seven operational solar farms into community ownership

Five UK community energy groups have teamed up to offer shares in seven operational solar farms.

The newly-formed consortium, known as Community Energy Together (CET), aims to bring these solar farms under community ownership through public investment.

The solar farms, located in Shropshire, Kent, Devon, Isle of Wight, and Swansea, have a collective total capacity of 36MWp, sufficient to power around 12,750 homes and save an estimated 317,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide during their lifetimes.

Four of the Community Benefit Societies have already launched their share offers on 31st July, with the fifth, Gower Power in Swansea, expected to follow suit soon.

If successful, this move is predicted to significantly increase the capacity of community-owned solar energy in England and Wales by approximately 20%.

Moreover, the initiative is projected to generate a collective community benefit fund of around £20 million, which will be directed towards supporting local social and environmental projects.