Energy suppliers are committed to providing the best service they can to their business customers. Sometimes, however, former suppliers can lose touch – usually because a business owner has moved without leaving a new address. When this happens, and when no final meter reading was provided, customers may be owed a small amount of money.
If you think this could have happened to your business please get in touch with your old supplier – they will check and, if you are owed any money – get this back to you as soon as possible.
Closed accounts with credit balances - voluntary minimum standards for Micro Business customers - March 2015 (PDF 600KB)
It is important for any business, particularly micro businesses, to be aware of the terms of any contracts they enter into and, in particular, the contract renewal date.
If the contract is not terminated or renegotiated before this date, then some contracts will automatically continue or roll over to prevent micro businesses from going onto higher rates.
Rollover Contracts: a factsheet for micro business customers (PDF 1MB).
Gas and electricity suppliers know that energy bills going back months or even years, known as back-bills, can be a concern for customers.
Both the customer and the supplier have responsibilities with regards to billing. But where a microbusiness customer has taken all reasonable steps to avoid the need for back-billing, suppliers have committed to limit any back-bill to three years for electricity bills, and to four to five years for a gas bill. This is a minimum standard and in many cases suppliers have voluntarily gone beyond this to offer greater protection to their micro business customers.
From 1 November 2018, new standard licence conditions for suppliers of microbusinesses comes into effect that limits any back-bill to 12 months for both electricity and gas bills. The voluntary standards will, therefore, be closed as of 1 November 2018.
Retail health and safety touches on all incidents that could take place in servicing the energy supply in consumers’ homes. This work is led by our Retail Health and Safety Forum analyses trends in order to identify opportunities to raise standards, both across the membership and across industry.
Our aim is by bringing together the expertise of our membership we enable good practice to be developed and promulgated. Energy UK and our members believe that H&S is not a commercial advantage and hope our work can be adopted by members and non-members alike.
As a part of our work we regularly publish guidance to assist suppliers with raising their health and safety standards, whether that is advising strategic issues or getting best practice to frontline staff.
Our management presentations look to assist with bringing health and safety to the heart of strategy in organisations of all sizes. They reflect issues raised by the retail H&S committee as well as stakeholders across the Energy landscape.
These presentations are designed to assist supervisors in introducing and reinforcing topics with their workforces
Supplier Health and Safety initiatives:
As well as working together through the Retail Health and Safety Forum, Energy UK members have developed initiatives individually that they are happy to share with industry to drive health and safety improvements. We invite suppliers to use these initiatives to support their own activity
- Missing washers: EDF Energy have worked with Cadent to develop a short video that can be sent to meter installers in the field to remind them of the importance of following the correct procedures for the installation of washers on gas meters. Watch the video
- Pipe cleaning and soldering: EDF Energy in conjunction with Cadent have produced a short video that can be sent to meter installers to remind them of the necessary steps to undertake when preparing pipework and fittings for soldering.
Watch the video
- Unbunged ports and exposed copper: EDF Energy have developed a short video which can be sent to meter installers to remind them of the necessary steps to undertake in relation to bunging exposed ports and ensuring there is no exposed copper wire. Watch the video
Loose connections: EDF Energy have developed a short video which can be sent to meter installers to remind them of the necessary steps to undertake to avoid leaving loose cable connections when installing meters. Watch the video
Working alongside our members, we have documented many of the initiatives our members have implemented to further improve safety during electricity and gas meter installation activity. These initiatives can be found in the following documents. As new initiatives are implemented, we will update these documents accordingly
Retail Health and Safety Forum project summaries:
The Generation Health and Safety Forum focuses primarily on the operational challenges associated with electricity generation on various power station sites.
It was established over 10 years ago. Having originally held a distinct focus on thermal plant, the Generation Health and Safety Forum has expanding their focus to not only ensure our legacy assets are decommissioned safely, but also that new plant and technology coming onto the system is safe and secure by design.
Now, we have over 40 members contributing to the promotion and development of Health and Safety standards across various electricity generation sites.
This group promotes best practice, offers guidance and monitors our generator’s Health and Safety performance to ensure standards are met and improvements are made year on year in keeping incident numbers low.
The generation health and safety forum as well as the Safety Rules Forum and the Fire Safety Group produces industry guidance to support members and the industry in creating their own policies and practices.
The term flexibility refers to the ability to react to the fluctuating needs of the power system, maintaining security of supply. Under requirements detailed in the Climate Change Act, the UK must reduce carbon emissions by at least 80% of 1990 emissions by 2050, and the UK energy market is rapidly transitioning to support this target. From a system primarily built upon large, centrally dispatched, flexible fossil fuel generation, the UK is manoeuvring to deliver increasing volumes of less flexible low carbon power. National Grid, as the System Operator (SO), recognises that “needs are increasing, most notably at the extremes” while conventional sources of flexibility are becoming less available due to continuing decarbonisation efforts.
Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and Demand Side Response (DSR) capabilities are growing steadily, expanding upon existing capabilities from pumped hydro and peaking plants to create a broader range of flexible energy assets. Flexibility is enabled in part by increasing digitalisation, helping to maintain balance on the system efficiently. Changing customer behaviours and infrastructure upgrades, including the roll out of Smart Meters, mean that demand is increasingly able to make valuable contributions towards maintaining security of supply.
Work in this space is led by Energy UK’s Flexibility Working Group. Originally established to feed into the Smart Systems and Flexibility workstream of BEIS and Ofgem its remit has now expanded to include leading on Energy UK inputs into the ENA Open Networks Project and the National Grid reform of Ancillary Services under SNaPS workstreams.
The Working Group recently set out Energy UK definitions of flexibility and positions on the future role of a DSO, and will soon set out roles and responsibilities for the future energy system, focussing on balancing responsibility and information provision. Further, in 2018, the Flexibility Working Group will:
- Drive forwards BEIS and Ofgem actions from the SSFP, as well as identifying any gaps which should be addressed;
- Aid in the development of a series of papers about the future of energy;
- Provide a forum for members to engage with the Open Networks Project;
- Support National Grid’s Power Responsive project;
- Engage with the Smart Systems Forum on behalf of the energy industry.
In order to transform the UK into a low carbon economy and allow the country to reach carbon emission reduction targets at lowest cost, there is a need to use our energy more intelligently. This means we need to develop smart, flexible and accessible systems that deliver efficient energy usage and increase UK companies’ competitiveness.
In 2016, Energy UK set up the New Energy Services and Heat (NESH) Committee to lead our work in this space and enable those energy industry actors outside of traditional supply and generation roles to join forces and become a part of the voice of the leading trade association for the UK energy industry. The Committee leads Energy UK’s work in engaging with government and supporting a set of smarter digitalised systems across power, heat and transport to unlock the estimated £17-40bn in benefits from a smart energy system.
NESH’s work programme enables the energy industry to drive forward the transition to a smart, flexible, low carbon energy system which meets demand at the lowest cost to the consumer, focusing on three primary work areas: flexibility in the energy system, the decarbonisation of heat and supporting low carbon transport (each supported by a dedicated working group). The NESH Committee examines the changing nature of the energy industry and the ways in which developing business models and a wide range of new and existing technologies will enhance security of supply and enable wider decarbonisation of power, heat, transport and industry.
In addition to the work being taken forward in flexibility, heat and transport, other priorities the New Energy Services and Heat Committee are taking forward in 2018 include:
- The EMR five-year review, including future rule changes to the Capacity Market;
- Ofgem’s Significant Code Review;
- RIIO 2 and the changing role of network and system operators;
- The changing role and classifications of distributed energy resources.
Energy system transformation
In order to transform the UK into a low carbon economy and allow the country to reach carbon emission reduction targets, there is a need to develop smart, flexible and accessible systems that deliver efficient energy usage and increase UK companies’ competitiveness.
A holistic set of smarter digitalised systems across power, heat and transport needs to be supported by co-ordinated Government policies and in 2016, Energy UK set up the New Energy Services and Heat Committee to lead our work in this space and enable those energy industry actors outside of traditional supply and generation roles to join forces and become a part of the voice of the leading trade association for the UK energy industry.
Energy UK’s New Energy Services and Heat (NESH) work programme enables the energy industry to drive forward the transition to a smart, flexible, low carbon energy system which meets demand at the lowest cost to the consumer, focusing on three primary work areas: flexibility in the energy system, the decarbonisation of heat and low carbon transport. The NESH committee examines the changing nature of the energy industry and the ways in which developing business models and a wide range of new and existing technologies will enhance security of supply and enable wider decarbonisation of power, heat, transport and industry.
Three Working Groups support the Committee’s work in line with its focus, on system flexibility, the decarbonisation of heat and the decarbonisation of transport, each with their own programmes of work and priorities.
Emissions from the transport sector are largely unchanged from 1990 levels, which, combined with the fact that emissions from energy supply have been cut by 65 per cent since 1990, has resulted in transport recently becoming the largest emitting sector in the UK. There could be up to 10 million electric vehicles on UK roads by 2030 and a decade later the Government plans to phase out the sale of internal combustion engines entirely, representing an important opportunity to leverage the increasingly decarbonised electricity supply to cut transport emissions.
EVs will therefore play a key role in the future of road transport. Energy UK established the Electric Vehicle Working Group to provide a forum for retailer, generator and other energy stakeholder to develop positions on the optimal market arrangements for electric vehicles. The Electric Vehicle Working Group has enabled Energy UK to establish positions with which to influence government, most recently in a letter to ministers setting out the need for ambition in the Road to Zero and requesting ambitious targets for decarbonisation.
Published in 2017, ‘The Electric Vehicle Revolution’ sets out industry positions on the growing interdependency of transport and power and the facilitation of the uptake of electric vehicles. The Electric Vehicle Working Group is currently working on a follow-up paper to outline the key challenges and opportunities of integrating low carbon transport solutions into the energy system, as part of which a paper and consultation on smart charging standards was recently undertaken.
Other key work areas for the Electric Vehicle Working Group in 2018 include ongoing engagement with the Automated and Electric Vehicle Bill and continued close engagement with OLEV.
Energy UK also sits on Government’s EV Energy Taskforce and the GLA’s EV Infrastructure Taskforce, as well as a range of other groups.
The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) is a domestic energy efficiency programme to provide added support for packages of energy efficiency measures.
These measures can help with cutting down energy loss from a building and lead to less energy use. Support includes insulation and heating packages to low income and vulnerable households and insulation measures to low income communities.
Energy efficiency plays a key role in helping to lower energy bills. Following installation of most measures the difference will be immediate. Assuming that a consumer has been heating their home to an adequate level, they can continue doing so, but by using their heating less, resulting in significant bill reductions. Each house will require different measures for the optimum result, which is why it is important for the householder to work closely with their provider or installer to select best options.
ECO creates a legal obligation on energy suppliers to improve the energy efficiency of households through the establishment of two distinct targets:
- The Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) which focuses on the promotion of hard-to-treat homes. Solid wall insulation and hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation are two examples. Other insulation measures and connections to district heating systems are also eligible. Some CERO must also be delivered in rural areas.
- The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) which focuses on the promotion of measures which improve the ability of low income and vulnerable household to heat their homes. This includes actions that result in heating savings, such as the replacement or repair of a boiler.
There are lots of opportunities for customers to access energy efficiency improvements via the ECO. To find out more, contact your energy supplier.
Changes to ECO
The most recent ECO scheme (ECO2t) commenced on 1 April 2017 and is an eighteen-month obligation that will run until 30 September 2018. The Government are due to consult on a new scheme to replace ECO2t in the near future (early 2018). Energy UK is working closely with members and Government to learn any lessons from the current scheme and to ensure that the future scheme will be fit for purpose.
Read more information on Energy Companies Obligation on Ofgem’s website
How the savings are being passed on
The largest energy companies have all made commitments to reduce customer bills following the Government’s announcement of a restructure of the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO). For more information see our table detailing the actions of each energy supplier and savings passed on (PDF 500KB).