Monthly Archives: January 2012

UK clears energy firms’ accounting over price rises

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A forensic review of UK energy company accounting practices has found no evidence of financial irregularities aimed at justifying steep rises in retail gas and electricity bills last year, regulator Ofgem, which commissioned the study, said.

A string of double-digit price increases, announced in the summer of 2011 by utilities, helped drive UK inflation to a three-year high in September at a time of stagnant wage growth and economic hardship, prompting a consumer backlash.

The energy watchdog launched the study partly to answer allegations that utilities had used accounting techniques to justify raising retail energy bills, by making those operations appear less profitable.

Britain’s six largest utilities, E.ON, RWE, Centrica, SSE, Scottish Power and EDF have not shifted profits between business segments to make retail operations look less successful, Ofgem said on Tuesday.
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#SSE on course to up profits

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Energy firm SSE said it was on course to deliver an increase in the dividend per share and an increase in pre-tax profits for the financial year to 31 March 2012.

This came despite its nine month update showing the number of electricity and gas customer accounts it has Great Britain and Ireland fell by 50,000 to 9.60 million.

Their consumption also fell with SSE’s household customers in Great Britain using 8.3% less electricity and 26.6% less gas.

Its figures show that an average household customer paid £710 for electricity and gas in the nine months to 31 December 2011, compared with £760 in the nine months to the end of 2010.

In January SSE announced a cut of 4.5% in its unit price for household gas with effect from 26 March 2012 and said it would not to implement any increase in household electricity and gas prices until October 2012 at the earliest.

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The average #water bill in England and Wales will rise by 5.7% from April this year, the water regulator Ofwat has announced.

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The average water bill in England and Wales will rise by 5.7% from April this year, the water regulator Ofwat has announced.

The increase – which is 0.5% above inflation – will add £20 to the average 2012/13 bill, taking it to £376.

Ofwat defended the rise, saying it was necessary for a multi-billion pound investment programme and was roughly in line with inflation.

It was also far less than the 10% that water companies had asked for.

The watchdog’s CEO Regina Finn said: “We understand that any bill rise is unwelcome, particularly in tough economic times. Inflation feeds through into water bills, and this is driving these rises.

“We will make sure customers get value for money.”

The impact of the new charges will vary for households depending on the company that supplies them and whether or not they have a water meter, Ofwat said.
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UK winter 2012 #gas prices touches 11-week high

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British gas for summer delivery surged to a seven-week high early on Monday as temperatures plunged and storage withdrawals accelerated to meet rising demand.

Gains pushed summer 2012 gas back above technical support levels, but brokers questioned the longevity of the surge given the bearish backdrop that has underpinned a months-long decline in prices.

The contract retreated to 57.60 pence ($0.90) at 10:30 GMT on Monday, up on the day by just under a penny, following a burst of buying interest that propelled it to a high of 58.4 pence earlier that morning.

UK gas for next winter delivery touched 11-week highs of 70.50 pence but fell back to about 70 pence in mid-morning trade, pulled lower by softening prompt prices which drove gains across the forward curve. The contract was still up 1.45 pence on the day.

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