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How has Brexit affected energy businesses?

Brexit has had an impact on investment in some energy projects.

That’s the view of some of the energy experts who was at our Power Ride charity event in London last week through which we raised more than £1,200 to support Parkinson’s and our Re-energise Nepal campaign.

When asked about the effects of the UK voting to leave the EU, Chris Johnson, Finance Manager at Net Zero Buildings said: “The first impact is the drop in the exchange rate. They have recovered but we are still suffering from those for the raw materials. Our SchoolHaus side of things uses Canadian seeder, PV panels that are imported and we’ve noticed a hit on those but we’ve limited as much as we can.”

Chris Kimmell, Commercial Manager at Open Energi said: “Financiers are slightly wary of investing in new things. That’s just yet more uncertainty to add to lots of other uncertainty that’s been piled on top of the energy industry unfortunately. Customers, some of ours are less willing to invest as well so for us we’ve seen a big impact on the financial point of view.”

However Dave Worthington, Managing Director at Verco, believes it’s too early to say Brexit has affected investment in the energy efficiency sector.

He added: “It has certainly affected some of our core clients’ business, construction and property particularly, now we’ve seen the value of property go down and that’s hit development of pipelines.

“Our clients I think are still going ahead with things they were planning to do in the energy efficiency space. We’re still seeing that whole area grow because the long term trajectory is still there, the government has signed up to the fifth carbon budget, we’re seeing the government now saying they are going to ratify the Paris Agreement so there’s a non-stopable momentum in corporate response to climate change.”

Other energy experts who attended the event said the money invested to support the construction of Hinkley could have been “better placed elsewhere”.

£511m saved on energy bills by negotiating

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According to a You Gov survey commissioned by npower, Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK saved £511 million on their energy bills in the last 12 months and around 45% of them saved up to £10,000 per year.

This is all because they negotiated a better deal from their suppliers, with as many as 93% of SMEs stating that taking the time to negotiate contracts really is worth while with average savings per business valued around £2,800.

However, despite the financial benefits of negotiating with energy companies, still 70% of SMEs don’t think to ask for discounts and price savings.

To encourage more businesses to negotiate with their suppliers, the Big Six has launched a campaign which offers tips on how to get the most out of their negotiations, including the importance of research and planning ahead.

Philip Scholes, Head of npower Business said: “This research shows that businesses across the UK are reaping the dividends of negotiating their supplier contracts. However, not all firms are entering discussions with their provider, which could prove to be a missed opportunity in the long term.

“That’s why we launched this campaign – we’d encourage all British businesses to look at their supplier costs and particularly their annual energy costs to help improve their bottom line.”

Earlier this month, the CMA stated SMEs paid around £280 million more per year between 2007 and 2014 to the Big Six.

Gas Bills to be cut by 7% announce Ecotricity

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Britain’s greenest energy company, is cutting its customers’ gas bills by 7% from April. Ecotricity believe the cuts, available to both new and existing customers, will save the average customer nearly £50 a year on their only tariff – ‘Green Gas.’

The company said it was making the cut following recent falls in the wholesale gas price – and called for other energy companies to better reflect wholesale reductions in their own price cuts.

The price cuts follow similar price cuts from large energy suppliers in the wake of plummeting wholesale gas prices. However, Ecotricity’s cuts are the largest in the industry so far. Earlier this week British Gas and EDF Energy cut their gas prices by 5%.

In the past 12 months the price of wholesale gas has fallen by as much as 35%, caused by lower global commodity prices and a mild winter.

Ecotricity said the price cuts would save the average customer £46 a year. The utility, which has one flat-rate gas tariff for all its customers, called for other utilities to make more aggressive price cuts in light of the fall in wholesale gas prices.

Founder Dale Vince said the 5% cuts from the rest of the industry do not go far enough.

He added: “We think 7% better reflects the reduction in wholesale costs. The 5% reductions that we’ve seen so far around the industry just aren’t enough.

“It’s all of our customers who’ll get this reduction, too – no matter when they joined us or how they choose to pay; that’s part of our ethical approach – one tariff and one price for everybody. We think that’s how it should be.”

Ecotricity’s Green Gas tariff is the only one in Britain with a green component and the only one with a frack-free promise – the company also recently announced that they’ll be making their own green gas from grass using its Green Gas Mills.

Mr Vince added: “A new kind of gas is entering the energy market, the green kind – and it’s the genuine alternative to fracking in Britain.

“Oil prices have fallen, so we’re seeing reductions in gas prices across the industry now – but one thing is for sure, they’ll go up again. It’s only by making our own green gas in Britain that we can keep energy bills affordable in the long term by creating energy independence – and we won’t need to frack the countryside to get our gas.”

Last month, Ecotricity lodged a planning application for its first anaerobic digestion plant, which if approved will be the first of three Green Gas Mills from the energy provider.

The plant will create gas from grass and rye sourced from within 10 miles of the plant, and will also include training facilities to offer local college students work experience in the anaerobic digestion industry.

100,000 people could die over the next 15 years because they can’t afford to heat their homes.

 

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ScottishPower to cut gas prices by underwhelming 5.4% from March

 

ScottishPower has become the third large energy company from the ‘Big Six’ suppliers to announce household price cuts this year, these cuts are scheduled to reduce average annual bills by £32.

 

ScottishPower have announced they are to cut its standard gas prices by 5.4% from mid-March, saving a typical household £32 a year.

 

The Glasgow based company is the third of the ‘Big Six’ suppliers to announce a gas price reduction this year, after pressure from politicians to reflect the falling price of wholesale costs in a fairer tariff.

 

The reduction, which will affect about one million households on the supplier’s standard variable tariff, will not come into effect until March 15, meaning customers are still paying more during this colder winter weather.

 

Earlier this year E.On was the first to announce a 5.1% price, effective from February 1, this was subsequently followed by SSE, who announced they will slash their prices by 5.3% after Easter.

 

Stephen Murray, of MoneySuperMarket, said ScottishPower’s price cut was “hardly worth shouting about”. Murray stated “These price cuts are long overdue considering the sharp falls seen in wholesale gas prices over the last year, but they just don’t hit the mark.

 

“It will still leave these customers paying on average nearly £300 more than those who have shopped around and switched to one of the many fixed price deals already available.”