Monthly Archives: January 2011

British Gas Customers to Collect Nectar Points as New Partnership Announced

From today, British Gas customers will be able to collect Nectar points as the UK’s leading energy supplier joins forces with the country’s biggest loyalty programme.

The new partnership means that over 12 million British Gas customers can now benefit from the full range of Nectar rewards ranging from money off at Sainsbury’s and Homebase to Eurostar and Vue cinema tickets.

British Gas customers will be able to collect Nectar points for their Energy or Maintenance and Repair accounts (for example; gas, electricity, Kitchen Appliance Cover, HomeCare 100™ or Plumbing and Drains Cover) as well as collect bonus points for taking out additional products and services. British Gas will continue to add new ways to collect bonus points and run special promotions throughout the year.

Phil Bentley, Managing Director, British Gas comments, “More than 12 million customers count on British Gas to look after their world every day and we don’t take that loyalty for granted. As a way of saying thank you and rewarding that loyalty we’ve joined Nectar. Nectar’s reach will help our customers to benefit from the points they can collect using our services and those of the other great partners in the programme.”


UK energy bills could be reduced following Ofgem proposal

Britons worried about their increasing energy bills may be reassured to hear that a uniform basic tariff could be introduced, following proposals by Ofgem in March.

The Guardian reports that energy providers will have to offer a standardised rate for their gas and electricity.

This could cost more than current deals being offered by energy providers but it will protect customers against unexpected price hikes.

A basic uniform tariff will mean that energy bills can only be increased by a certain amount each year if at all.

This follows an investigation by Ofgem, which was launched in November last year, into the price hikes in energy prices from several companies.


Carbon Reduction Commitment – scrapped?


Newspaper reports over the weekend suggest that the government could scrap the £1bn-a-year green stealth tax, formally known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment.

Don’t celebrate just yet, though – rather than seeing the tax disappear totally, it’s likely it would just be merged with other existing taxes.

“One of the options proposed is effectively abolishing the Carbon Reduction Commitment and saying should we merge its provisions with the Climate Change Levy (an existing tax on business energy usage) and mandatory carbon reporting,” Dave Symons, a director at WSP Environment and Energy told the Sunday Telegraph.

“We can see the logic for that. But it’s quite a substantial change – merging the scheme with another tax could even create additional revenue for the Treasury because it could extend the scope.”

Under the plans that the Coalition government inherited from the previous government, the Carbon Reduction Commitment will apply to mid-sized businesses with annual energy bills of more than £500,000, of which there are about 5,000 across Britain.


Alarm as Russian energy giant Gazprom grabs big business


Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom has built up a dominant 20 per cent share in some sectors of Britain’s business gas market in just over a year of frantic trading.

British rivals say they have not been able to compete because the prices being offered by the Russian group are so low.

One source at a leading energy company said: ‘In any competition we lose every time to them. It is one of the reasons we are exiting some of the business markets.


E.ON waives retirement age to keep chief


Paul Golby, the long-serving chief executive and chairman of E.ON UK, has been asked to stay beyond the company’s retirement age to complete a major restructuring of the £9bn-turnover business.

Business Energy industry insiders said that Dr Golby had said late last year that he would retire on his 60th birthday this year. However, Dusseldorf-based E.ON has waived its retirement cut-off and asked Dr Golby to continue to lead the 15,000-employee British division.

The major part of the restructuring is the sell-off of UK power distribution networks in a move expected to raise £3.5bn. Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing is trying to buy the assets through his Cheung Kong Infrastructure vehicle, although there is at least one more bidder. JP Morgan is handling the sale and Deutsche is acting for Mr Li.

The slimmed-down company would remain a big player in the UK through its power generation, which includes 21 wind farms, and £6.6bn-turnover retail divisions.

Coventry-based E.ON UK was bought by the German giant in July 2002 when it was known as Powergen. Dr Golby became its chief executive that year and is well-respected in the industry.


18k payout for cafe owner slandered by British Gas


A Former cafe owner has been awarded more than £18,000 damages after he was slandered by a British Gas worker.

Can Say, who ran the Corby Cafe, in George Street, in the town, took British Gas Services to the High Court in London after his electricity was mistakenly cut off in 2008. Mr Say claimed the bailiff who went to cut the power slandered him in front of his customers by falsely saying he had not paid his bill.

The company admitted the disconnection was a blunder on their part, but denied their employee had said anything defamatory.

But now a top judge has awarded Mr Say £18,747 total damages for the slander and the losses incurred during the 10-day power cut.

Speaking outside court, Mr Say, the son of a former Cypriot MP, said he was pleased that the judge had found in his favour, but the money would not compensate him for the three years of stress he had lived through while fighting the case.

Judge Bernard Livesey QC told the court Mr Say’s son, Hildi, ran the cafe using a business name of Kingdom Catering Ltd, from 2005 to 2008. However, “for whatever reason”, a £2,000 debt was run up to British Gas before, after a brief closure, his father took over. Despite Mr Say writing to British Gas and telling them the business had changed hands, it sent round a bailiff and an engineer on August 28, 2008, to disconnect the supply.


Energy incumbents given customer service lesson by upstarts

The efforts by new entrants into the UK energy market to improve customer service standards are helping improve call centre support throughout the sector, according to research from Datamonitor.

Smartestenergy and Haven Power have the best customer satisfaction scores in the industry, while Shell Gas Direct recorded the highest score for a gas-only supplier.;jsessionid=E91092AFEEDDEF578223926AEFFC3833


Working With Facebook for Renewable Energy

I am at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where political, academic, and business leaders from around the world are convening to reflect upon our global development, identify positive progress, and meditate on new global risks and realities. At the top of the agenda is climate change.

Facebook is one of the many businesses here to address key global challenges — an appropriate player given the company’s unprecedented growth and global membership of over 500 million people. Valued at over $50 billion and representing a new era of technology and social interaction, Facebook is just the kind of highly visible, innovative company that can best demonstrate the bold and transformative leadership required to face the global realities being discussed this week in Davos.

I was interviewed at the forum today by Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook’s director of marketing. I brought a gift to Randi, who is expecting a child — a maternity shirt with the message “Facebook: Unfriend Coal” — offered as a reminder that we need unprecedented cooperation and leadership from corporations, like Facebook, which have the political power, capital, and innovative drive help to stop climate change.

Her response? “We will love having you as a partner for that.”


UK government to fund marine renewable-energy projects


Three research and development projects that will help to develop wave- and tidal-energy technologies are set to receive investment of more than £2.5m

Made by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the investment will help to finance research and development focusing on supporting and underpinning the deployment of pre-commercial devices installed and operating in the sea.

The companies leading the three projects are Bauer Renewables, Pelamis Wave Power and Marine Current Turbines.


UK energy policy ‘could delay renewable energy investment’


A new “dash for gas” could be created by the UK’s energy policy, delaying investment in renewable technology, a government committee has warned.

UK energy policy 'could delay renewable energy investment'

UK energy policy ‘could delay renewable energy investment’

Some £200 billion will be needed to upgrade the country’s energy infrastructure in the next decade to meet renewable energy and carbon reduction targets, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

This investment will be accompanied by six draft National Policy Statements (NSPs) intended to improve planning for energy projects, however it has been argued these do not place enough emphasis on low-carbon developments.

The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee warn in a new report if too large capacity for gas generation is allowed to develop this could “crowd out opportunities for renewables to form a substantial component of the UK’s energy mix”.