Live updates

Companies pay £3.3m extra in storm compensation

Energy regulator Ofgem has agreed an additional £3.3 million from companies SSE and UK Power Networks after an investigation into how they dealt with last year's winter storms.

The money will go to organisations that played a key role in helping vulnerable customers who suffered power loss.

The new payments come after an investigation into how the companies handled the storms. Credit: PA

The firms have already paid out £4.7 million and committed to improvements.

Severe weather over Christmas 2013 saw power cuts affect nearly a million homes and Ofgem has today put the industry on notice that any repeat of last year's performance issues will trigger further action.

Scottish and Southern Energy's payout totals £2.3 million to the British Red Cross, Age UK, National Energy Action, Macmillan Cancer Support, and to a new community fund.

Distributor UK Power Network totals paid £1 million to the British Red Cross, the Royal Association for Deaf People, Carer's Trust and Citizens Advice.

SSE and UKPN pay out for handling of winter storms

Energy provider Scottish and Southern Energy and distributor UK Power Network have agreed to pay out a total £8 million over their handling of last year's winter storms.

An additional £3.3 million has been secured by regulator Ofgem after the £4.7 million already paid out to customers over "exceptional" storms last Christmas in the south of England.

Advertisement

77% of tenants 'have never switched energy supplier'

Over three quarters of tenants have never switched electricity provider, according to the latest data from Ofgem's 2014 Consumer Engagement Survey.

Over three-quarters of renters would have stuck with the same electricity provider to heat their home, Ofgem found. Credit: PA

The poll revealed one in five tenants did not know they could change energy providers in what the industry regulator dubbed the "sheer lack of awareness" of renters' rights to shop around.

A further 74% admitted to never switching to another gas provider.

Ofgem said that although renters often thought they had to accept the energy suppliers already in place when they moved in, this was very rarely the case.

Energy companies 'need more than a slap on the wrist'

Chief scientist at Greenpeace UK - Dr Doug Parr - has said the energy industry needs "real change," rather than an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.

What UK consumers need from this investigation is more than yet another ineffectual slap on the wrist for the big six's cartel.

We need real change to the market so that companies offering a better deal for customers and the environment are no longer shut out of the market, but more importantly we need to clear the way for alternative business models to the big utilities.

– Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace

Advertisement

Big Six energy investigation will 'rebuild consumer trust'

Ofgem's investigation into the Big Six energy firms should help "rebuild consumer trust and confidence" in the energy market, the watchdog said.

An investigation will look at the relationship between the supply businesses and generation arms of the Big Six energy firms. Credit: PA

Ofgem says soaring household bills and intensifying public distrust highlighted the need for an investigation, which will determine whether the companies were making excess profits, after they quadrupled to more than £1 billion in three years.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) probe comes after latest figures show that household electricity by prices in the first three months of 2014 were almost 6% higher than last year.

The investigation, expected to take around 18 months, will look at the relationship between the supply businesses and generation arms of the Big Six energy firms.

Big Six energy complaints reach record high

Ofgem's investigation into the Big Six energy companies comes after customer complaints relating to energy firms reached the highest number in a single quarter since records began.

The energy suppliers received a total of 1.7 million complaints, with Npower receiving the highest number of 83 complaints for every 1,000 customers.

Npower received the highest number among the six with 83 complaints for every 1,000 customers. Credit: PA

SSE, British Gas and E.On all received around 30 complaints, with SSE's figures doubling from 13 to 27 on the same time last year, while Scottish Power received the fewest at 13.

"Yet again millions of customers are being let down by poor service from the Big Six energy companies. This has to change," Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said.

Energy market probe 'a watershed moment'

Consumer rights group Which? has welcomed the investigation announced by Ofgem into the UK's energy market.

Load more updates