Which? research reveals customer dissatisfaction with energy providers due to short opening hours, long wait times and difficulties obtaining assistance.

A recent investigation by consumer advocate group Which? has revealed the challenges energy customers face when seeking support.

Issues like short operating hours, long wait times, and difficulties getting help have become common complaints.

The study surveyed over 9,000 customers to evaluate the service practices of 16 suppliers and 18 energy firms.

It found frustration among customers due to limited operating hours, with some experiencing reduced accessibility.

The investigation revealed disparities in the availability of customer service channels during weekdays and weekends.

While a few firms maintained phone lines open for ten hours or more on weekdays, the accessibility of live chat services outside of these hours was limited.

Similarly, variations were observed in weekend operating hours, with some companies offering full-day support on both Saturday and Sunday, while others provided only limited availability.

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The energy regulator has initiated a competitive tender round worth £1 billion to appoint an offshore transmission owner for the Dogger Bank B Offshore Wind Farm project.

Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator, has announced the launch of a £1 billion tender for the Dogger Bank B Offshore Wind Farm project.

The tender aims to appoint an Offshore Transmission Owner (OFTO) through a competitive process.

Ofgem outlined the requirements for potential bidders, emphasising the need to demonstrate capability in financing, operating, and managing offshore transmission assets.

The Dogger Bank Wind Farm, comprising phases A, B, and C, situated between 130km and 190km off the North East coast of England, is set to become the world’s largest offshore wind farm upon completion.

With each phase boasting an installed generation capacity of 1.2GW, the project represents a multi-billion pound investment.

Together, they will have a combined installed capacity of 3.6GW, capable of annually powering up to six million homes.

Image: SSE

The collaboration will introduce a decarbonisation programme to assist clubs in slashing energy costs and embracing sustainability.

The Football Association (FA) has partnered with energy supplier E.ON to introduce a programme aimed at promoting sustainability in grassroots football.

This initiative will assist clubs in reducing energy costs and adopting environmentally friendly practices.

It includes tailored intervention packages comprising energy saving advice, equipment and educational resources.

Chris Norbury, Chief Executive of E.ON UK, said: “Whether the focus is saving money, fighting the climate crisis or creating new jobs and skills, it’s important to look at the small actions that can add up to a big impact, which is why we’re so excited to be working with one of the biggest networks of community organisations anywhere in the world – the FA’s grassroots football network.”

Energy supplier switching in Britain remained consistent in January 2024 compared to the previous month but surged by 76% compared to January 2023.

Energy supplier switching in Britain remained consistent in January compared to the previous month but surged by 76% compared to January 2023, with 207,000 changes of supplier recorded.

According to data released by ElectraLink, there were 207,000 changes of supplier (CoS) last month, representing a modest 3% increase from December 2023.

However, this figure stands higher than the 117,000 CoS recorded in January 2023.

The six-month moving average has also witnessed an upswing, rising from just above 100,000 switches per month in January 2023 to over 220,000 switches per month in January 2024.

The data reveals a notable increase in switches from other suppliers gaining customers from large brands, which contributed significantly to the overall rise in total CoS for January.

Large to large switches accounted for 60% of January 2024’s total CoS, while switches from large to other suppliers represented 21% of the total.

Other to large switches made up 13% of January 2024’s total CoS and other to other switches constituted 6%.

The North Sea Transition Authority has launched a consultation on publicly accessible data for carbon storage, aiming to spur job growth and support net zero goals.

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) has initiated a consultation to determine the details of making carbon storage data publicly accessible, a move aimed at advancing job opportunities and supporting the UK’s net zero ambitions.

Information from geophysical surveys, well data and injection tests will be among the resources available.

The consultation, open until 12th April, seeks input on various aspects of the data disclosure regime, with virtual engagement sessions planned to facilitate public participation.

This initiative aligns with the government‘s commitment to carbon capture, supported by an investment of up to £20 billion.

Energy Efficiency and Green Finance Minister Lord Callanan said: “This is an important move for the UK’s burgeoning carbon capture sector. It will lay the groundwork for a robust framework that will give industry access to the wealth of data on the North Sea and the potential for storing carbon emissions, taking us closer to our net zero goals.

“We’re already backing carbon capture with up to £20 billion – one of the biggest investments in Europe – and this initiative underscores the UK’s leadership in the global effort to tackle climate change.”

The Federation of Small Businesses has accused certain energy suppliers of exploiting small firms through drastic increases in standing charges, with reports of fees skyrocketing up to 12 times.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has raised concerns over soaring standing charges imposed by some energy suppliers, alleging that these increases are contributing to inflated bills for small firms.

In response to a recent consultation by Ofgem on the standing charges system, FSB highlighted grievances from its members, citing alarming rises of up to 12-fold in fixed fees, irrespective of energy usage.

The FSB reported that an auto parts business in Dorset faced a 12-fold surge in standing charges, escalating from 70p to £9.69 per day over two years.

Similarly, a Highland tech firm experienced a significant spike from 32p to £7.50 per day, resulting in an annual increase of £2,500 in energy costs.

The FSB proposes greater transparency in suppliers’ standing charge calculations, exclusion of costs related to the supplier of last resort acquisition and collaborative efforts between Ofgem and energy suppliers to narrow the standing charge discrepancy between rural and urban areas.

FSB National Chair Martin McTague said: “Energy suppliers have some explaining to do on the sudden and dramatic hikes in standing charges, which become a regressive form of billing that hamper small business growth, confidence and investment.

“Even now that the wholesale energy prices have come down from the peak we saw in 2022, small businesses are still scratching their head over skyrocketing bills.

“While parts of the standing charges are being reinvested into green and energy efficiency measures, there’s little to no clarity on the cost make-up, and small businesses are forced to pay the increases with no options and explanations from their energy suppliers.”

An Ofgem spokesperson told Energy Live News: “We know that standing charges have provoked a huge amount of debate in recent months, with different balances to be struck, which is why we opened this call for input, and more than 40,000 people have responded to share their views.

“We’ve heard from businesses of all sizes and other non-domestic services ranging from church halls to sports centres that energy bills continue to be a crucial issue. We will now use these responses to inform how we approach this complex issue and set out next steps in due course.”

Litigation law firm has claimed that energy suppliers added an average of 10% to business gas and electricity bills by including undisclosed third party broker commissions.

A litigation law firm claims that businesses across the UK have incurred an additional 10% charge, on average, for their gas and electricity.

This increase is attributed to the routine inclusion of third party broker commissions by energy suppliers, as disclosed by the law firm during its ongoing examination of the matter.

The law firm, Harcus Parker, is currently engaged in group legal action to recover undisclosed broker fees, estimating the total at up to £2 billion.

The revelation suggests that millions of non-domestic energy customers experienced an inflation in their bills over a period spanning more than a decade.

The law firm’s research indicates that energy companies, on average, appended a cost of 1.7p per unit of gas and electricity to cover broker commissions, with some brokers permitted to add up to 6p per kWh.

Matthew Patching, Partner at Harcus Parker, said: “We have examined thousands of bills for customers joining our claim and it’s been quite shocking, in percentage terms, how much these secret commissions have added to their bills.

“When you hear they’ve added 1.7p per unit in third party broker costs it doesn’t sound much but if you’re only paying 10p per unit in total for your energy that’s a hefty percentage.

“It means many businesses are owed thousands of pounds. Some institutions and businesses with high energy costs are owed tens of thousands of pounds.

‘We’ve been calling on Ofgem to make these broker costs transparent for all-non-domestic energy customers for nearly a year and we’re delighted that they have finally listened. That said, others were raising this issue of secret commissions ten years ago so I’m not sure why it has taken so long.

‘It seems some unscrupulous brokers were more interested in getting themselves the highest amount of commission possible rather than getting the customer the best financial deal.”

An Ofgem spokesperson told Energy Live News: “After listening to concerns from businesses, Ofgem consulted on changes to supply licence conditions to require full transparency on how much is paid to energy brokers for securing a contract with the customer.

“Brokers can be invaluable in finding the best deal for their business. But we have proposed bringing in transparency on how much that service costs so the customer can make a full and informed decision as to who they do business with.

“Ofgem has asked government to introduce regulation of energy brokers, who fall outside our remit. While this is considered, we are working to ensure that customers are properly informed and protected with appropriate regulation on energy suppliers.”

Chris Shaw, Chair of The Energy Consultants Association, told Energy Live News: “I note the suggestion that energy bills were “inflated” by 10% which suits the narrative being peddled by these claims framers.

“Energy brokers have been the driving force to materially increase switching rates and lower out of contract rates over the past ten years – both offering significant savings to UK business. These benefits appear to be conveniently forgotten.”

“We have seen instances of claimants ending up with huge legal bills and courts repeatedly throwing these types of claims out (Leicester Indoor Bowls a recent example) – so I’d urge caution for anyone being sold a riches at the end of the rainbow story.”

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A new report indicates a lack of data on direct and indirect emissions and renewable energy use, with less than a third having dedicated environmental committees on their boards.

Nearly 4% of surveyed small and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders can provide data on their companies’ direct and indirect emissions (scope 1-3).

That’s according to new research sponsored by EY and conducted by YPO, which shows a “significant” gap in environmental measurement practices among SMB leaders.

Additionally, almost 5% of small businesses measure their businesses‘ renewable energy use, according to the survey.

The study highlights potential resource and understanding challenges among SMBs, with less than a third having social and environmental committees on their boards and only 27% having a full time sustainability leadership position.

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Almost a quarter of UK businesses considering government energy support as essential for survival, according to a new survey.

Nearly 81% of UK businesses anticipate increasing prices in response to high energy costs in the next two years.

According to a new survey conducted by PwC, a quarter of organisations deem government energy support crucial for survival.

Over the past two years, 77% of businesses experienced a moderate to significant impact of high energy costs on the prices of their products and services, with 67% citing a negative effect on profits and margins.

Looking ahead, 81% expect further price hikes and 72% anticipate a negative impact on profits due to high energy prices.

The survey, encompassing 750 UK organisations from both the private and public sectors, highlights the economic challenges posed by high energy costs.

Barriers to mitigating these costs include a lack of immediate solutions and environmental considerations, each cited by 63% of respondents.

While organisations prioritise objectives like reducing energy consumption, carbon emissions and energy costs, the survey indicates a division in energy strategy objectives.

Efforts to mitigate costs include reviewing energy procurement strategies, improving energy efficiency and adopting corporate power purchase agreements.

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The decision, effective from 29th March 29, follows consultations and includes adjustments to licence thresholds.

Ofgem has expanded profit reporting obligations to smaller energy suppliers.

Effective from 29th March 29, these changes aim to enhance transparency in the energy market by modifying the Consolidated Segmental Statement (CSS) reporting conditions.

Following stakeholder consultations, Ofgem has lowered domestic and non-domestic threshold levels, removing the requirement for a generation license.

The domestic threshold levels have been lowered to 50,000 or more meter points in gas or electricity, while for the non-domestic market, the threshold is reduced to ten or more meter points.

Suppliers reaching the threshold in the last month of their financial year will now be obligated to submit a CSS.

Ofgem emphasises the importance of this reporting in providing a top-level view of companies’ energy supply profitability.