UKH

Changing Energy Supplier

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Fantastic timing as always, my fixed contract expires at the end of October.

Obviously things are volatile to say the least, but would a company claiming to buy 100% of it's energy from renewables be any less likely to go under in the coming months?

 kevin stephens 23 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge: I would wait. Our fixed deal has also just ended, I’m now on the “standard” rate but this is no more expensive than fixed deals on offer because of the combined impact of wholesale price increases and Government cap on domestic prices. Also many of the smaller suppliers that “claim” to supply 100% renewables may go out of business leading to the renewable generators looking for new contracts.

Hopefully things will settle down after a few months when I’ll shop around for a long term contract with a green, or at least greenish supplier

In reply to kevin stephens:

We are with one of the companies that have gone bust. Our power and gas is still on so I assume someone will be in touch at some point. 

 Si dH 23 Sep 2021
In reply to Dax H:

> We are with one of the companies that have gone bust. Our power and gas is still on so I assume someone will be in touch at some point. 

Ditto. From what I've seen in the news (quotes from CAB), it's recommended to take some photos of your meter readings and then sit on your hands, ofgem have the job of assigning you a new supplier and it seems it can mess the process up if you try to switch yourself at the same time.

I guess we'll probably get put on poor value tariffs and want to look for a new one after that.

In reply to Ridge:

> Obviously things are volatile to say the least, but would a company claiming to buy 100% of it's energy from renewables be any less likely to go under in the coming months?

I was with Green Network Energy, who did that.

They went bust in January, even before it was cool.

(I was transferred to EDF, actually on quite a good tariff; that ended this month and I've switched to E.ON as they had the best fixes tariff of all the large suppliers at the time I switched. It's a -much- worse deal than I was on, and I checked again last night out of curiosity and the best available has become much worse still in the last couple of weeks. )

Post edited at 19:51
 Philip 23 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge:

Very few of the green companies actually buy renewable energy. The way I understand it, you either need to contract a matching amount of energy to that you take from the grid (like Good Energy do) or you need to buy renewable certs from generators feeding into the grid. The latter doesn't increase the renewable % in the mix, it just makes the non-renewable tariffs more polluting.

I was with Bulb, who like Good Energy, are one of the few to make contracts with producers - thereby supporting the growth of renewable sector. I might be wrong, but I think they are one of the suppliers at risk.

I switched to GE as they were already my feed in provider and offered a special tariff for feed in customers. I'm also hoping they re-introduce an ASHP specific tariff too.

 Geras 23 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge:

No, I was with Green who were 100% renewables in both electric and Gas.

They went bust yesterday...!

In reply to Ridge:

Thanks all. Looks like a case of sitting it out and seeing what develops.

 CurlyStevo 23 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge:

Octopus have a reasonable standard variable rate.

 Hardonicus 23 Sep 2021
In reply to Philip:

I'm with Good Energy for my feed-in tariff. What's the crack if they go bust?

 gethin_allen 23 Sep 2021
In reply to Dax H:

> We are with one of the companies that have gone bust. Our power and gas is still on so I assume someone will be in touch at some point. 

Me also, I had a look at switching but through uSwitch there were only three companies picking up new customers and they were all random companies I've never heard of (probably on the brink of going under) and they were all ridiculously expensive. 

I'm going to wait a while, take it on the chin that we'll probably be paying more for a few months and then have a look once things settle down a bit. 

One of the contributory factors about the gas price rise has apparently been less wind generation being replaced by gas power station use. The wind picks up in the winter usually and today almost 40% of the electricity used was wind generation so fingers crossed that's a good sign.

 Snyggapa 23 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge:

correct, I believe the current wisdom is that the government "price cap" for people that roll off of contract and onto the "standard rack rate" is well below what it costs the suppliers to buy the energy. Hence

a) you won't get a better deal that the out of contract rack rate from your current supplier

b) many suppliers are going bust because the government set rate is less that it costs them to buy the energy in wholesale, never mind their own costs, transmission costs, meter reading costs etc

 Philip 23 Sep 2021
In reply to Hardonicus:

> I'm with Good Energy for my feed-in tariff. What's the crack if they go bust?

F-i-T is fixed rate regardless of provider, so I wouldn't worry - you'd just choose someone else to pay you.

In reply to gethin_allen:

A BBC article said the current high gas price is mainly because the cold winter depleted stocks along with other things I can't remember - maybe the pricing model with Gazprom changed or something?.

 Si dH 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Toerag and gethin_allen:

This graph from the national grid website shows generation of each type over the last year.

Red is fossil fuels, basically all gas.

Green is renewables, the vast majority of which is wind.

Blue is other, mostly nuclear with a bit of biomass.

Grey is interconnectors.

Basically, gas generation is usually higher in winter than summer - especially the peaks - because it has to increase to meet the extra demand, which wind doesn't offset. Obviously far more gas is also used for heating in winter than summer too. The problem will get worse due to the seasons, not better.

Post edited at 12:33

 AdJS 24 Sep 2021
 gethin_allen 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Si dH:

The hope would be that the companies made some attempt at least to account for the known seasonal variations in gas use and even the consequences of economic uptake post covid but you can't really predict the wind.

It does seem to have been a very light wind summer. I've noticed this while watching the forecast hoping for a good breeze to blow the midges away. This article seems to agree

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-09-13/u-k-power-prices-hit-record-as-outages-low-winds-cut-supply

 mutt 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge:

from memory Pure energy charge the network rate plus £15 admin fee or something so even though costs might be high whilst the gas is running short at least they wont go bust.

its probably not a good time to take a fixed rate anyway as gas is likely to get cheaper in the next few months.

 Fiona Reid 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge:

Good luck... we moved house earlier in the year and ended up with one of the previous round of suppliers that went bust by default. I'm still trying to resolve this with the new supplier (we're owed money) but 6 months on no joy. I've already had to pay for the gas I didn't use.  

Even better 2 weeks back I was told my tariff will end in a month so we have to move to a more expensive one. However, as I'm owed money I'm advised to hold off whilst our current supplier tries to resolve the money owed with the previous supplier. 

Today was the deadline for a decision on that. I was told to hold off changing tariff to give them a chance to resolve things and avoid the direct debit getting all messed up. However, I'm now told it will be at least 2 more weeks to wait (conveniently after the tariff expiry deadline date I have) and that I should move to a new tariff now instead. 

So I try to do this this afternoon and discover that the tariff offered two weeks back has disappeared and prices have risen 57% for gas and 34% for electricity on the best fixed rate they can now offer. The variable rate isn't actually too bad but it's still a fair bit more than what I was offered 2 weeks ago. 

Angry doesn't even come close. By following the advice of the adviser handling the dispute we're going to be at least £1000 worse off over 3 years! 

Unless I can get the company to honour what I was offered it looks like we'll just move onto the variable rate when the tariff expires and just keep a close eye on fixed rate deals.

Post edited at 17:04
 Ciro 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Philip:

> Very few of the green companies actually buy renewable energy. The way I understand it, you either need to contract a matching amount of energy to that you take from the grid (like Good Energy do) or you need to buy renewable certs from generators feeding into the grid. The latter doesn't increase the renewable % in the mix, it just makes the non-renewable tariffs more polluting.

I don't follow the logic here... Regardless of whether the supplier is contracting a specific provider or buying RECs, both require green energy to come into and then leave the grid at your home.

One person switching to RECs won't change much, but the more if us who do switch, the more the renewable market sector has to expand to meet that demand, and the non-renewable market sector has to contract accordingly.

 Sealwife 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Hardonicus:

You should still get it.  The company I was with went bust about 18 months ago, owing us over a years worth of FITS payments.  Ofgem assigned us to EDF and we got paid. I think there was a form we had to fill in (it took a lot of googling and searching to find it) but we got all we were owed.

 Si dH 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Ciro:

> One person switching to RECs won't change much, but the more if us who do switch, the more the renewable market sector has to expand to meet that demand, and the non-renewable market sector has to contract accordingly.

Does it work like that? As I understand it, national grid determine the energy mix based on high level strategic factors, cost, resilience and supply availability. I don't think the number of people who have a 'green' tariff makes the tiniest bit of difference to those decisions, and it's those decisions that drive demand, surely. 

I think the driver to increase green energy provision comes from government policy, not from people buying green energy tariffs. 

 Ciro 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Si dH:

> Does it work like that? As I understand it, national grid determine the energy mix based on high level strategic factors, cost, resilience and supply availability.

They do, but the supply availability is very dependent on where customers money is going. If it's going to green providers, more green energy gets produced and is available for the grid.

> I don't think the number of people who have a 'green' tariff makes the tiniest bit of difference to those decisions, and it's those decisions that drive demand, surely. 

The point of RECs is to create market pressures to increase green energy production - each one represents an amount of green energy put into the grid. 

The energy companies want your money - if everyone signs up for green tariffs, the producers will make sure they are generating enough to supply that demand for RECs.

> I think the driver to increase green energy provision comes from government policy, not from people buying green energy tariffs. 

Part of government policy is to use RECs to divert customer's money into green energy production.

 Ragingpossum 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge:

No, your largest protection here is from scale and incumbency (without getting too deep on specific company financials and historic pricing and customer acquisition models). Since  the market barriers were opened (c10yrs ago), lots of small providers have entered the market and they are now likely to be suffering the worst for a few reasons: 1) scale is generally correlated with credit worthiness, particularly if needing to renegotiate with creditors; 2) Larger incumbents typically have a more diversified customer mix and higher % of SVT customers who switch less; 3) Smaller providers have had to aggressively price fixed deals to acquire customers (typically the least sticky customers), that becomes increasingly painful as energy prices rise and unsustainable as a business model unless you have unlimited pockets.

That being said, bar some inevitable hassle if your provider goes bust the financial impact to you would be little to none as there is a regulated process for the transfer of customers to another provider.

The above a side, going for a provider with strong green credentials is a great thing to consider and worth doing your research on as some of the best known brands with a green badge are not the same as some more focused providers.

Fixed vs SVT (standard variable tariff) is a tricky one at the moment given you are basically taking pricing risk either way, personally (having just come up for renewal in September) I prefer the cost I know and have hegded / fixed (even if it looks higher now) than the potential for a blow out price rise in the future, it's also quite telling in my mind that most providers have removed fixed deals off the table as this is where they can lose a lot in the future. You could also look at energy futures to get a forward looking view (this is what the energy companies do to an extent). 

If you prefer an SVT tariff then shop around harder, for the best price per unit etc, the based price they can charge is heavy regulated so it's up to the provider if they want to price you as a profitable customer or not (right now I would suggest it's the former).

 David Cowley 25 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge:

I'm in a similar position.  Currently on a standard variable rate at moment as my fixed deal with Octopus ended in August and looking at 150 a month to fix in. Wondering whether to ride it out on variable rate or lock in now on fixed deal. Martin Lewis recommended riding it out the other night but it us a risk. I think the October price cap is calculated on prices from Feb to July so come the price cap rise due again in April things will get even worse if stocks don't build up so I'm really unsure what to due. Stick or twist

 jimtitt 25 Sep 2021
In reply to Ciro:

> I don't follow the logic here... Regardless of whether the supplier is contracting a specific provider or buying RECs, both require green energy to come into and then leave the grid at your home.

> One person switching to RECs won't change much, but the more if us who do switch, the more the renewable market sector has to expand to meet that demand, and the non-renewable market sector has to contract accordingly.

You are confused, the certificates (ReGO's) are traded independently from the power itself. The UK for example buys ReGO's from Greece but it's unlikely any electricity was delivered to Scunthorpe! For 2019/2020 the UK imported 47.2TWh of ReGO's from Europe and exported 7.45TWh (the most to Spain).

Roughly one-third of UK renewable certificates are actually EU origin. Brexit is causing a slight problem in that the EU is not recognising UK certificates!

The certificates are cheap as chips, Shell changed all their customers to "green" at minimal cost and without buying any renewable power. We produce renewable electricity with a bio-gas plant here in Germany and the power itself goes into the local grid, the certificates themselves are sold seperately to the the German Railways so they can improve their CO² claims in competition with other transport systems while they complete their new coal-fired power station to actually move the trains.

 Trangia 25 Sep 2021
In reply to Ridge:

I don't think anybody has mentioned it, but it's advisable to take your own meter reading when/if your supplier goes bust, and before you are contacted by the new temporary supplier or chose your own new supplier.

 Ciro 25 Sep 2021
In reply to jimtitt:

> You are confused, the certificates (ReGO's) are traded independently from the power itself. The UK for example buys ReGO's from Greece but it's unlikely any electricity was delivered to Scunthorpe! For 2019/2020 the UK imported 47.2TWh of ReGO's from Europe and exported 7.45TWh (the most to Spain).

> Roughly one-third of UK renewable certificates are actually EU origin. Brexit is causing a slight problem in that the EU is not recognising UK certificates!

The UK grid is connected to the EU grid by interconnections to several EU countries.

> The certificates are cheap as chips, Shell changed all their customers to "green" at minimal cost and without buying any renewable power. We produce renewable electricity with a bio-gas plant here in Germany and the power itself goes into the local grid, the certificates themselves are sold seperately to the the German Railways so they can improve their CO² claims in competition with other transport systems while they complete their new coal-fired power station to actually move the trains.

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-and-social-schemes/renewable-energy-guarantees-origin-rego

"The Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) scheme provides transparency to consumers about the proportion of electricity that suppliers source from renewable generation.

All EU Member States are required to have such a scheme."

"We issue one REGO certificate per megawatt hour (MWh) of eligible renewable output to generators of renewable electricity.

The purpose of the certificate is to prove to the final customer that a given share of energy was produced from renewable sources. As such, the primary use of REGOs in Great Britain and Northern Ireland is for Fuel Mix Disclosure. FMD requires licensed electricity suppliers to disclose to potential and existing customers the mix of fuels (coal, gas, nuclear, renewable and other) used to generate the electricity supplied."

Are OFGEM just blatantly lying about the certs, it have they been conned by those dastardly Europeans?

 jimtitt 25 Sep 2021
In reply to Ciro:

No, they pick their wording very carefully. In 2019 the UK bought 88% of it's REGO's from Norway but no electricity was directly delivered (or indirectly according to reports), the power you received on your green tariff could have well come from a German brown coal plant and greenwashed on it's way by a French nuclear power operator using Polish certificates.


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