Customer service ratings
Citizens Advice has revealed customer service ratings for energy providers, with no company scoring higher than 3.65 out of 5 stars
Flexible energy solutions required
Analysis by Cornwall insight suggests that national wholesale and system electricity costs could be cut by an annual £4.6bn in 2030 and £14.1 billion in 2040 if flexible energy solutions are implemented. Additionally, households that participate in flexible electricity initiatives could stand to cut wholesale electricity costs by more than 14% by 2030 and a staggering 50% by 2040 – a predicted annual saving of £115 and £375 respectively for an average household.
Typically, daily peaks in electricity demand occur on weekdays between 4 pm and 7 pm which means additional more expensive fossil fuel-generated electricity is often required. This drives up wholesale electricity costs and ultimately impacts consumer bills. Encouraging consumers to modify their electricity usage according to the availability or price of electricity, by, for example, installing smart meters so they can access time-of-use tariffs, and participate in trials like the National Grid ESO Demand Flexibility Scheme will boost off-peak energy usage, saving money and taking pressure off the grid.
Grants for heat pumps
Government grants have made heat pumps more affordable than gas boilers, with £7,500 available for installations Homes and small businesses can now benefit from increased government grants to make heat pump installations more affordable.
The Boiler Upgrade Scheme is now offering £7,500 towards the cost of heat pump installations.
New power line for the UK
The government has announced a new initiative between the UK and the Netherlands. LionLink will deliver enough electricity to power more homes than Manchester and Birmingham combined and will be the world’s largest multi-use electricity power line. It should boost UK energy supplies with enough to power 1.8 million homes. LionLink will connect the two countries to each other and to offshore wind farms in the North Sea to provide clean, affordable” energy by the time it is due to be operational by the early 2030s.
Worried about our electricity bills
A survey by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, conducted in Spring 2023, suggests nearly 66% of respondents expressed either a “very worried” (29%) or “fairly worried” (37%) sentiment regarding their electricity bills over the past three months.
SMEs could have been mis-sold.
According to a Guardian newspaper report around a quarter of the UK’s 5.5m small businesses – over 1m companies – may have been forced to renew their long-term energy supply contracts at the peak of the market, according to separate surveys from the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), including through coercion or mis-selling. At the time many small firms struggled to find an energy deal because suppliers either refused to supply small businesses or demanded large financial deposits.
Since then, market prices have fallen, and on the 1st April the government cut its financial business support, but companies were still locked into long-term contracts that will force them to pay inflated prices based on last year’s peak for months or even years to come. Many were encouraged by the government to sign up for fixed-price deals rather than tracker arrangements, meaning they were locked into high prices.
Similarly, Energy analysts Cornwall Insight also says businesses that had to fix their energy bills when wholesale prices peaked in August last year will see a rise of up to 133% in their electricity bills from April 1st when the Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) was introduced. The new scheme is not nearly as generous as the previous one and provides non-domestic energy users with a discount on the price of each unit of energy they use. This kicks in when the price per unit reaches a certain threshold and is limited to a fixed amount. These threshold prices and maximum discounts for electricity have been set at £19.61 per megawatt-hour (MWh) with a price threshold of £302 per MWh – this compares unfavourably to the previous support which provided a discount from a wholesale unit price threshold of £211 per MWh for electricity.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) believes the change could lead to 370,000 firms being forced to make fundamental changes to their operations, including closure in some cases.
Could competitive tariffs return?
There was some good news being discussed in the sector as many expect switching energy suppliers could return later this year after a two-year pause due to lack of competition amid high bills. Analysts Cornwall Insight say potential conditions later in the year could lead to “the return of competitive tariffs”, and with it the chance for consumers to “take back some control over their energy bills”.
We have been used to switching suppliers for many years, but this practice halted with the rise in prices as many suppliers went bust leaving those remaining offering fixed deals at or just below the price cap. It is hoped that if prices do ease, we could see suppliers competing for customers again which should mean Utility Bidder will be helping you find more competitive prices and saving you money on gas and electricity bills once more.
The EBDS is available to all non-domestic customers on contracted, deemed, and out-of-contract rates and is automatically applied to your bill but it’s still worth talking to our experts to compare business energy rates.