Are we running out of gas?

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.

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Mixed response to proposed energy reforms

Ofgem proposals for a "simpler and fairer" energy market have drawn a mixed response from consumer groups, who say the changes "could mislead customers."

Ofgem proposals have drawn mixed responses. Credit: PA

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 plans final energy tariff reforms

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.

Ofgem are proposing for a 'simpler and fairer' energy market. Credit: PA

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.

Read more: PM pledges cheapest energy tariffs to customers

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Renters warned over gas safety

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.

Oil and gas provide 'vital role' to Britain's future energy

Vince Cable on a visit to an assembly plant in Broughton yesterday
Vince Cable on a visit to an assembly plant in Broughton yesterday Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

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."

'Extreme' engineering centre for subsea technology

An "extreme" engineering centre will be built to help develop deep sea technology.

The £7 million Neptune National Centre will be created on the River Tyne in Newcastle.

The River Tyne in Newcastle, where the Neptune National Centre will be created Credit: John Giles/PA Archive

Unveiling the centre as as part of a new oil and gas strategy, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This cutting-edge new facility will help put our academic community and industry at the centre of subsea and offshore engineering research."

Newcastle University will help provide funds of try scheme as a centrepiece for economic revival.

Davey: Growth opportunities for gas and oil industry

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the oil and gas industry is a vital strategic resource.

"With our support for carbon capture and storage, for decommissioning and by encouraging increased collaboration across different energy sectors, especially offshore, there will also be new sustainable growth opportunities for the industry and the wider UK supply chain."

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Scotland welcomes UK's plans for gas and oil

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said he welcomed the UK Government view that there is a long-term future for the industry.

He said that the UK strategy highlighted oil and gas as an "enormous economic resource for decades to come.".

Scotland's Oil and Gas Strategy, developed in conjunction with industry, lays out a plan to help the industry go from strength to strength, and rising capital investment - predicting that investment should rise from £11.4 billion in 2012 to over £13 billion in 2013 - clearly demonstrates the confidence investors and the industry have in Scotland

The Scottish Government has already launched its industry led Oil and Gas strategy and is implementing a range of measures to support the industry in this time of major investment. We welcome the UK Government's commitment to work with the Scottish Government in implementing its strategy.

– Fergus Ewing, Scottish Energy Minister

Vince Cable: This is an 'expanding industry'

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

At an announcement on the UK's oil and gas strategy in Aberdeen today, Business Secretary Vince Cable is expected to say:

"I want us to consider what barriers are stopping British companies bidding for and winning work in the North Sea.

"This is an expanding industry.

"We can either help create more jobs and opportunities across the UK if we get this right, or see work going overseas if not."

Ministers to announce oil and gas strategy

The Government will today announce an oil and gas strategy that aims to secure thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment.

Buzzard oil field in the North Sea, 50 miles from Aberdeen's coastline Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Plans for "tax certainty", skills development and supply chain support will be discused by three secretaries of state in Aberdeen, the oil capital of Europe.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and Energy Secretary Ed Davey will speak to business leaders about the strategy this morning.

Britain faces prospect of gas rationing

Britain faces the prospect of gas rationing for the first time
Britain faces the prospect of gas rationing for the first time Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Britain faces the prospect of gas rationing for the first time, experts have warned.

Energy expert Ann Robinson told the Independent: “If this dreadful weather continues for the next two or three weeks we should be very worried, because if we get into a position where we do run out of gas there is not a lot that can be done in the short term."

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