There are fears of gas shortages in Ukraine after Russia announced it would raise its prices. But will that affect the rest of Europe?
Energy regulator Ofgem has announced rules to limit tariffs to four simpler options, but what customers really care about is the cost.
As temperatures plummet there is concern over energy supplies. The amount of gas in storage has been run down as homes turn up the heating.
ScottishPower will reduce its domestic gas and electricity prices on January 31 following the measures recently announced by the UK Government to curb non energy costs.
A typical dual fuel household annual bill will reduce by £54, made up of a 3.3% reduction in standard tariffs for dual fuel customers – £42 per annum. It also includes a universal rebate to be paid to customers in line with the government timetable - £12 per annum.
This reduction will bring the average annual bill for a dual fuel customer paying by monthly direct debit down to £1,199 per annum. It should benefit 2.2 million households.
A number of British consumers may be able to cut their energy tariffs from December under rules proposed by regulator Ofgem which it hopes will encourage competition.
Lawrence Slade from the industry trade body Energy UK has told ITV Daybreak that "these reforms start putting customers first again.
"The really key thing here is to help customers get on the best tariff for their circumstances."
– Consumer Futures director of policy and external affairs Adam Scorer
We welcome today's announcement. Everyone wants a simpler more trusted market. There is a lot in this reform package that could bring that closer. Now Ofgem needs to get on and implement it and energy companies need to respond to the spirit of the reforms.
But it would be naive to assume that this will sort out the energy market once and for all. The market needs to earn consumer confidence. There are also areas where Ofgem needs to go further, which include making it much easier for customers to switch supplier.
– Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com
There are still some crinkles in the reforms to be ironed out. However, Ofgem has delivered a strong set of reforms and now it is up to the industry to start to deliver.
The proof of this pudding will be in the eating though and we will all know that Ofgem has succeeded when growing numbers of households are able to use competition to get better value and cheaper energy bills.
- Ofgem have told suppliers to limit themselves to four "core" tariffs each for electricity and gas and for each type of payment.
- All information suppliers send to consumers must be "simplified, more engaging and personalised".
- Suppliers will use a new Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR), which the regulator claims will help to simplify the selection process for consumers.
- And new enforceable standards of conduct will enable Ofgem to take action against suppliers where they have failed to treat customers fairly.
Ofgem proposals for a "simpler and fairer" energy market have drawn a mixed response from consumer groups, who say the changes "could mislead customers."
The reforms are expected to come into effect from the summer, however consumer group Watch? has said it "could mislead millions into paying over the odds for their energy."
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "While these new rules will help make the market simpler and fairer it's hugely disappointing to see the regulator sticking to its fundamentally flawed idea of how energy prices should be presented.
"This will fail to help people find the best deal easily and could even mislead millions into paying over the odds for their energy.
"Energy prices are the biggest worry for consumers and our research shows overwhelmingly that people find it easier to spot the cheapest deal for them when prices are presented clearly, simply and consistently - just like on the petrol station forecourt."
Ofgem will today announced its final proposals for reforming the retail energy market, which aim to reduce and simplify the number of tariffs available for consumers.
The regulator has told suppliers to limit themselves to four "core" tariffs each for electricity and gas and for each type of payment, while all information suppliers send to consumers must be "simplified, more engaging and personalised".
Suppliers will use a new Tariff Comparison Rate (TCR), which the regulator claims will help to simplify the selection process for consumers.
And new enforceable standards of conduct will enable Ofgem to take action against suppliers where they have failed to treat customers fairly.
Tens of thousands of private renters could be at risk from gas safety hazards, according to housing charity Shelter and British Gas.
One in 10 people say their landlord or letting agent had failed to ensure a gas safety check was carried out in their home in the last year, a study of more than 4,300 private renters found. Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said:
It's absolutely vital that renters are aware of the need to get an annual gas safety check. Meanwhile, landlords need to know that gas safety is not optional. Failing to get a gas safety certificate can put lives at risk.
An annual gas safety check and certificate is required by law and is the legal responsibility of the landlord.
The oil and gas industry will play a vital role in British energy needs for decades to come, according to three Liberal Democrat ministers.
Business Secretary Vince Cable, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and Energy Secretary Ed Davey were in Aberdeen this morning to set out their long term strategy, aiming to boost investment and supply chains while promoting exports.
Mr Davey said the industry will play a huge role despite efforts to promote cleaner fuels and decarbonisation.
"The primary products, oil and gas, on all estimations will remain an integral part of the mix for many decades to come," he told an invited audience which included industry leaders and local politicians.
"Only the UK can deliver what is required over a sustained period if you are going to get the most out of the oil and gas industry. The UK is a large economy - that is why we can provide the support.
"Smaller economies have difficulty absorbing the costs.
"The size of the UK economy can really create the framework and certainty."