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Report: Global emissions to plateau in 2030, but Paris goals out of reach

New insight from business advisors McKinsey has suggested that "major shifts" in the energy landscape driven by renewables and electric vehicles (EVs) will see global emissions plateau in 2030, but progress is nowhere near close to the 2 degrees Paris Agreement target.

18 January 2018

News story: First MoT test to remain at 3 years to protect road safety

The wait for the first MoT test on cars and motorcycles won't be extended to 4 years due to safety concerns.

18 January 2018

Press release: Government sets out minimum wage rights for seafarers in UK water

All seafarers working in UK waters must be paid at least minimum wage rates, the government warns in new guidance.

18 January 2018

UK energy price cap laws should be passed by summer, says minister

Britain hopes to pass laws to allow the capping of the most common form of gas and electricity tariffs for millions of households by the summer, a junior minister in the business department told a parliamentary committee, reports Reuters.

Prime Minister Theresa May said in October she would impose controls to tackle what she called "rip-off energy prices", sending shares in the leading providers tumbling.

Ofgem has said the cap could be in place by Christmas 2018, provided parliament passed the necessary laws by the summer.

"The intention would be to introduce the bill shortly, with the intention of getting royal assent before the summer recess," said Claire Perry, minister of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Parliament usually begins its summer recess in mid to late July.

The government has said the cap would be temporary and set by regulator Ofgem. It published draft legislation in October.

Home power bills have doubled in Britain over the past decade to an average of about 1,150 pounds ($1,500) a year.

17 January 2018

Helm hits back at energy review’s ‘vested interest’ critics

Professor Dieter Helm has hit back at critics of his recently published energy costs review by accusing them of being 'vested interests'.

Giving evidence at a one-off session of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee, which was held to discuss the government-commissioned review, its author Professor Helm said that widespread reform was required to effectively tackle bills.

He said: "The beneficiaries of the high cost of energy are lots and lots of vested interests so I'm not surprised that each particular vested interest doesn't like a particular bit of the report that will attack the economic rents that they get.

"Change is expensive and they want to keep the bits that give them high economic rents but not the bits that attack the benefits they have got. We can't just tinker."

He also "completely rejected" the suggestion that his review was insufficiently grounded in empirical evidence about the energy market.

And he defended the review against criticisms that it had given insufficient weight to how energy policy can support innovative renewable technologies, by pointing out that research and development was not covered by the terms of reference he had been set by the BEIS department.

Helm said that he accepted that UK government had helped to develop expertise in offshore wind power. "Offshore wind would not have got where it is without government support."

But he said that he would have devoted £1bn of the 'tens of billions', which had been spent on offshore wind subsidies, to support a carbon capture storage demonstration project on the grounds that the UK had a competitive advantage in developing this technology due to its legacy of empty oil and gas wells in the North Sea.

Read the full story at Utility Week

17 January 2018

'Big Six' energy firms all rank bottom of customer satisfaction league table, says Which?

The Big Six energy companies have all ranked in the bottom 10 of an annual customer satisfaction survey as consumers turned to medium and small suppliers.

However, some small suppliers are showing signs of "growing pains", with Extra Energy and Spark Energy joining Npower at the bottom of the Which? customer satisfaction survey.

Utility Warehouse, Flow Energy, Octopus Energy, PFP Energy and Utilita took the top five spots based on a poll of almost 9,0000 people.

Scottish Power and British Gas took joint 26th position, below SSE at 24 and EDF and E.On in joint 22nd position.

The survey found only a third (32 per cent) of customers with the Big Six are very satisfied on average, compared with 52 per cent for medium-sized suppliers and 45 per cent for smaller suppliers.

Customers of medium-sized energy firms are also most likely to rank their supplier as excellent for value for money, the clarity and accuracy of bills and phone customer service.

Which? made just one energy company a "recommended provider" this year - the small supplier Octopus Energy.

It found customers with the Big Six on a standard variable tariff could save up to £333 a year by moving to the cheapest dual fuel deal on the market.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: "Energy customers shouldn't tolerate shoddy service, sky-high prices or failure to resolve complaints.

"Once again our survey shows many of the biggest energy companies languishing at the bottom of the table, with some small suppliers showing signs of growing pains.

Read the full story at The Independent

17 January 2018