The Anonymous Widower

Is A Cap On Energy Prices A Good Idea?

All political parties including the Motherhood and Apple Pie Tendency think this is a good idea, but I’m not sure.

I changed to OVO Energy, one of the smaller companies a couple of years ago, so I looked up on a comparison site to see if I could make a big saving by changing supplier.

Sixty-three suppliers would give me a saving of up to four pounds a month.

As my solar panels haven’t been installed for a year and I don’t know the full affect on my bill yet and I would be changing with solar panels, I shall not be changing my supplier now.

But the interesting figure is that sixty-three different deals were offered. That says to me that competition is working in the energy field.

An Ideal Energy Market

Most consumers would prefer a fixed low price.

But surely, that is impossible as there has to be an equilibrium between the price energy companies pay for their energy and the price they charge consumers.

What happens if there is a global crisis and energy prices are universally high?

The other problem with a low energy price, is that doesn’t encourage consumers to save energy.

The UK’s Energy System

The energy system and market is a constantly changing dynamic system and since energy privatisation in the UK, there have been massive changes to the generation, supply and use of electricity.

  • A nnetwork of interconnectors is starting to stretch over Western Europe to allow interchange of electricity.
  • Wind and solar power generation are increasing dramatically.
  • Coal is dead for generating electricity.
  • Consumers have invested in low-energy appliances.

There will be more developments in the next few years.

  • A planned interconnector to Iceland could be a game changer.
  • Solar panels and energy storage will increasingly be fitted to homes.
  • Millions of electric cars will be sold.
  • Some high-priced nuclear energy will come on stream.

All of these developments have and will continue to move the energy price up and down.

As a Control Engineer, I know that the best way to get a dynamic system like this to a stable point acceptable to all parties, is to apply as few restrictions as possible.

An energy price cap will impose a condition, that will distort the equilibrium and it might not be in the way that politicians want.

Politicians would be better to concentrate on actions that helped the current system find an equilibrium acceptable to all.

  • Make it as easy as possible for consumers to change energy supplier.
  • Avoid backing high-priced energy generation like Hinckley Point C.
  • Promote lower-cost generation and energy storage systems.
  • Fund energy research at universities.
  • Build more interconnectors.

But above all they should not distort the market.

As an aside here, I don’t object to Nicola Sturgeon setting up a tax-payer funded energy company in Scotland. In a free market, it will only promote more competition and possibly lower prices.

But it might lose Scotland a lot of money!

October 12, 2017 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments

OVO Offers Solar Panels And A Battery

There are a couple of reports on the Internet, that the smaller energy supplier; Ovo Energy, is now offering deals on solar panels and a battery.

I have been thinking of adding a battery for some time, but I don’t think the time is quite right yet, as the price of batteries is becoming more affordable.

However, I do think that Ovo’s move is the first of many we will see in the next few months and years.

This march towards solar and batteries could have various consequences for the UK.

  • Many house builders will add solar panels and a battery to new houses.
  • Domestic electricity needs will reduce.
  • Solar panels and batteries may have some interesting effects on the property market.

Battery owners could also charge up overnight on low-price electricity, so the daily operation could be something like.

  • Overnight the battery is charged on low-price electricity.
  • Morning ablutions and breakfast, thus uses low-price electricity.
  • Hopefully, the sun charges the battery during the day.
  • Evening electricity would in part be what has been stored during the day.

One overall effect of the battery is to smooth the energy needs of a property.

So as the proportion of houses with batteries increases, the National Grid will see a reduction in the spikes of electricity demand, as evetybody makes a cup of tea in the advert breaks.

But the biggest effect will be on how the UK would generate its electricity.

I am not against nuclear power for any technical or environmental reasons, but I do think that the cost of new nuclear power stations like Hinckley Point C are not good value for money compared with other methods of generation. On the other hand, if we are going to have much smoother electricity needs, then we do need the nuclear power station’s ability to produce a steady baseload of power.

I am against inappropriate on-shore wind in many locations, but I am not against off-shore wind or perhaps a few large turbines in an industrial estate.

I feel that solar, batteries and off-shore wind could give the UK very affordable electricity, but they need to be backed by some form of baseload power stations, which at the moment can only be nuclear.

Conclusion

Following my logic, I believe, that as more batteries are installed in the UK, the following will happen.

  • Those who install a battery will save money whether they have solar panels or not!
  • Batteries will be allowed to be charged on low-cost overnight electricity.
  • As more batteries are installed in the UK, the UK power needs will be smoother.
  • Overnight off-shore wind could be used to charge all these batteries.

This leads me to the conclusion, that the Government should create incentives for homes to install batteries, which would be charged with low-cost overnight electricity or solar panels.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Checking My Electricity Direct Debit

With the news this morning, that there is going to be a price cap on energy tariffs, I thought I’d look at mine.

I was paying £114 a month, but my supplier; OVO were recommended that I pay just £89.

The difference, is probably explained, as this has just been the first summer, when my solar panels have been installed.

So their charge calculating algorithm has only just caught up and I am now saving money.

Do you trust, your energy supplier to give you a an accurate estimate about what you should pay?

Interestingly, this morning, I’ve just found this web page detailing a link-up between OVO and Nissan concening the charging of electric cars.

The electricity market is changing very much for the better.

October 5, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Why People Don’t Change To Cheaper And Smaller Energy Suppliers

This news item on the Money Saving Expert web site is entitled Energy users don’t switch because they haven’t heard of cheapest firms, MSE poll finds.

If you’re thinking of changing read it and you might learn something to guide you to a more affordable supplier.

I swapped to OVO Energy a couple of years ago, and I’ve had no serious issues and they now have allowed me to connect my solar panels to the electrocity network.

The only problem, I had with swapping was getting nPower to pay me the money they owed.

September 8, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Conn By Name, Con Artist By Nature

I have just seen the Chief Executive of Centrica; Ian Conn, giving the most unfeasible explanation, why despite the fact that electricity prices are going down, British Gas will be putting them up by 12.5% from September 11th.

This article on the BBC gives more details.

Now is the time to give British Gas a good kicking by moving to an alternative smaller supplier.

I moved to OVO over two years ago and have had no trouble except.

  • Changing from my old Bog Six supplier was a pain, due to the original company’s incompetence. Was that real or deliberate?
  • OVO have still not fitted me with a smart meter. But I’m not sure I need one!

OVO have also handled my solar panels without trouble.

August 1, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Stephen Fitzpatrick Of OVO On Energy Policy

Stephen Fitzpatrick, the founder of OVO Energy was on BBC Breakfast this morning.

Some of what he said was very enlightening.

Nationalisation Of Distribution Networks

He indicated that this was almost irrelevant, as the technology of energy distribution is changing.

I agree.

Near to where I live, is the Bunhill Energy Centre, which has been built by Islington Council to provide heat and electricity to a local area.

Systems like this are common in some European countries and increasingly, we will see small scale units like this in cities.

In the countryside, solar and wind power linked to energy storage will become more common.

Large industrial users of energy will increasingly generate their own power.

So the distribution networks will become less and less important.

Energy Efficiency

This will become increasingly important, as innovators make devices and appliances that use energy more efficient.

It is interesting, that no Political Party has so far said, that they will promote devices and items that use less energy, by perhaps sponsoring ideas.

OVO’s Customers Spend Forty Percent Less On Gas Than When The Company Started

This was surprising, but it probably indicates that our houses and businesses are getting more energy efficient.

Energy Price Caps

He was in favour, because he believes it opens up the market for energy.

I think it also favours innovative, ethical and highly-regarded energy companies.

Say an energy company predicts that because of the price cap, it will become less profitable.

It can do one of the following.

  1. Increase the number of customers.
  2. Sell customers new and innovative goods and services.
  3. Go out of business.

OVO are taking over a respected boiler servicing company.

I think one of the good things about an energy price cap will be, that bad suppliers, big or small, will be forced out of business.

Conclusion

It was an impressive performance and the BBC should sign him up for Question Time.

 

May 17, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Ovo Energy Snaps At Heels Of Big Six With Corgi HomePlan Takeover

Ovo Energy seem to be making a play for the big time according to an article in City AM, with the same title as this post.

If it comes about, I think I’ll sign up for my boiler, as I’m with Ovo.

May 12, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Stephen Fitzpatrick On May’s Energy Cap

Stephen Fitzpatrick is the chief executive of OVO Energy, so you could expect a well-thought out response to Theresa May’s proposed cap on energy prices.

This article on Sky is entitled May vows to cap energy bill increases if Tories win election.

This is reported as comments by Stephen Fitzpatrick in the article.

He described the policy as a “bold and ambitious move” – and argued that a cap on standard variable tariffs would not harm consumers or competition.

“It will be painful for some companies, especially those currently taking advantage of customer disengagement, but it will offer consumers a safety net, protecting them from some of the worst practices of the industry whilst still allowing innovative suppliers to compete,

I just wonder, if the energy cap is more targeted than we think.

 

May 9, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Choose Your Energy Company With Care

This tale from the Observer is entitled Co-operative Energy didn’t bill us, but claims we owe it nearly £1,500.

It probably shows how various get-rich-quick and incompetent groups are entering the energy market.

I wouldn’t have chosen the Co-op, as on their record over the past few years, they seem incapable of organising a piss-up in a brewery.

This is said in reply to the request for help.

Frankly, Co-operative Energy hasn’t had the systems in place to issue ­coherent bills for nearly a year after botching the launch of a new computer system last summer.

 By November it had become the most complained about energy ­company in the country after many of its 500,000 customers received inaccurate bills or no bills at all, and were prevented from fleeing to more switched-on providers.

Surely, there is a case for withdrawing the licence of Co-operative Energy.

I wouldn’t touch them with Nigel Farage’s barge-pole, let alone mine!

Especially, as I’m very happy with Ovo Energy and have no possible reason to change.

They now even pay me for the energy I generate with my solar panels.

August 10, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Challenger Brands

This article from PR Week is untitled Challenge, stand up and stand out in 2016.

It’s aread that makes you think!

I picked the article up because it mentioned OVO Energy, s company I use and like!

January 13, 2016 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment