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  1. Simon Harris

Gas plant could scupper estuary airport plans

Campaigners against one of the biggest and most expensive projects the south east has ever seen have an unexpected ally - a gas plant on the Isle of Grain in north Kent.

The plant has just secured a four-year deal to buy up to three million tonnes of liquefied natural gas which could secure the energy needs of three million British households.

But the plant is right in the middle of what could be Boris Johnson's new Thames Airport. And the possibility that the site could be demolished or relocated is being hailed as a nail in the coffin for the Mayor's plans.

Simon Harris has been looking at the arguments for and against.

Age UK's advice for rising energy bills

ITV News Meridian spoke to Mervyn Kohler from Age UK to get his advice for keeping warm as the colder weather approaches.

Age UK also recommend following these websites for help if you are struggling to stay warm with the rising energy bills:

The Energy Saving Advice Lane - [http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Organisations/

Government-and-local-programmes/Programmes-we-

deliver/Energy-Saving-Advice-Service

Age UK advice - http://www.ageuk.org.uk

The Home Heat headline- http://www.homeheathelpline.

org.uk/](http://www.homeheathelpline.org.uk/)

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First of the 'big six' to increase energy bills

Scottish and Southern to increase energy prices Credit: ITV Meridian

Scottish and Southern Energy is the first of the 'big six' energy providers to announce it's going to charge customers more for gas and electric.

SSE says it's average bills will rise 8.2%. But, there are regional variations - the south and south east has been hit with a 9.7% increase.

Average bills will rise by £106 pounds a year to £1,380.

The company say much of the bills are made up of costs outside their control.

Southampton Airport at forefront of energy saving measures

Southampton Airport is undertaking a ground-breaking project to improve lighting on the aircraft stands as well as reduce carbon emissions.

The airport will make savings of around £45,000 by installing Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting throughout the airport, cutting its electricity use by ten percent.

It is the first time LED technology has been used in this way at any UK airport.

The airport has replaced more than 70 per cent of its lighting with LED alternatives and also used solar powered technology across the airfield - cutting its electricity use by 10 per cent.

Improving the energy efficiency of the airport is a long term strategy. We’re committed to doing everything we can to manage the business as responsibly and efficiently as possible. The steps we’ve already taken demonstrate our commitment which we intend to build on into the future.”

– Dave Lees, Southampton Airport Managing Director

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SSE stops cold calling

The energy company SSE has today announced it will stop making calls to potential customers.

The company's energy supply brands - Southern Electric, Scottish Hydro and SWALEC will only contact customers they have a relationship with or who have agreed permission.

SSE say their focus is now on ensuring that existing customers get the best possible products and customer service.

An Annual Energy Review will take place where an energy adviser ensures they are on the best tariff for their needs and advises on ways to reduce energy consumption.

Nobody likes receiving a sales call out of the blue and so we are stopping it. It doesn’t matter that other energy companies still do it, or other industries for that matter, cold calling is not something that a company like SSE - committed to providing an excellent customer experience - should be doing any longer. This decision to end unsolicited calls is part of becoming that company and demonstrates that we are dedicated to delivering what customers want.”

– Will Morris, Managing Director of SSE Group
  1. National

Consumer Focus: SSE 'not a case of one bad apple'

Consumer Focus has welcomed Ofgem's decision to fine SSE for the "systemic failure" in its direct selling operations.

This is not a case of one bad apple or one rogue sales team. The problems at SSE affected the whole direct selling operation and represent a fundamental failure at one of our biggest energy companies.

Other companies have also broken direct selling.

This has been a stain on the energy market since the introduction of competition. While the situation has got better and many companies have decided to end doorstep sales, the recent history casts a long shadow and Ofgem are right to take this scale if action.

– Adam Scorer, director of policy at Consumer Focus
  1. National

SSE 'very sorry' for mis-selling breaches

In response to Ofgem's £10.5m fine for mis-selling, energy firm SSE's corporate affairs director Alan Young said the firm was "very sorry" about the breaches of the rules.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme

What we were doing was not adequately telling people about the terms and conditions of their contract or adequately making sure they had the information they needed to switch.

We have set up an independent compliance unit to make sure, to monitor, to audit, to randomly check energy sales across all channels now so customers can have the assurance when they are dealing with us there are safeguards in place and proper structures.

We have totally reformed our business in this area, we have restructured it.

Mr Young also defended the management team still being in place, insisting SSE was one of the "best companies in Britain".

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