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British Gas profits down due to mild weather

Energy giant Centrica reports operating profits drop of 35% for the first half of 2014.

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British Gas profits are down to 4% for the first half of 2014.

Centrica, owner of British Gas has reported a group-wide drop in profits to £1.03 billion.

Profits at the residential arm of British Gas fell by over a quarter to £265 million in the same period.

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Ofgem increases storm compensation

The amounts to be paid to end users following the disruption during the Christmas storm has been increased by £3.3 million, now totalling £8 million.

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Ofgem has doubled minimum payments for those who lose power for more than 24 hours

The energy regulator Ofgem has secured an additional £3.3 million for consumers after an investigation into how SSE Energy Networks and UK Power Networks handled the disruption caused by last winter’s storms.

In addition, Ofgem will more than double the minimum payments for people affected by future incidents of a similar nature, increasing them from £27 to £70.

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Energy complaints reach all-time high

The number of complaints dealt with by the energy ombudsman in the first six months of this year was more than the total for the whole of 2013.

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The Energy Ombudsman deals with complaints unresolved after 8 weeks

It was revealed that serious complaints about energy companies have soared, more than doubling in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period last year.

In total there were 22,671 complaints so far this year, compared with only 10,598 in the previous year.

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British Gas to pay £1 million for mis-selling

The largest energy supplier in the UK has made £1 million available to compensate customers it ripped off during sales schemes at the Westfield shopping centre and Sainsbury’s stores.

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British Gas mislead customers in shopping centres and supermarkets

“Looking after your world”, or perhaps not. British Gas has had to put aside £1 million to compensate customers it mislead.

Ofgem said it welcomed the package which is made up of payments of “£566,000 direct compensation to affected customers and £434,000 to help vulnerable customers via the British Gas Energy Trust”.

British Gas staff made “exaggerated savings claims” and “did not compare tariffs on a like for like basis” during the period of February 2011 to March 2013.

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Gas prices could rise due to Russian embargo

Ukraine has had its gas supplies from Russia cut off due to the ongoing dispute between the two nations, which could lead to a Europe-wide shortage in the coming months.

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Gazprom is Europe’s largest gas supplier

Gazprom is Russia’s government-owned gas giant, and has now informed Ukraine that it needs to settle its debt and pay for any future gas supplies upfront.

All supplies passing through Ukraine have not been completely severed, but Gazprom is only sending enough to supply other European countries, meaning Ukraine must pass through all gas from Russia to its bordering nations.

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Iraq conflict could push energy prices up

Concerns regarding security of supply have driven Brent crude prices up 3% and US crude up 2% in the wake of recent developments.

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Crude oil prices have risen sharply due to the uncertainty in Iraq. Prices for Brent crude futures have risen to over $113 per barrel, the highest price for almost a year.

Iraq is the second-largest oil producing member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), exporting over 3 million barrels per day.

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SSE announce annual profits rise of 9.6%

Scottish & Southern Energy announce pre-tax profits of £1.55bn for the year to 31 March.

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SSE have announced an increase in profits of almost 10%

In a time when customer bills are being constantly increased, the energy giant and member of the Big Six announced a significant increase in profits during what it called a “challenging” time for the sector.

Earlier in the year, the company announced the longest energy price freeze of its kind ever seen, possibly pre-empting any backlash this announcement might have created. SSE’s domestic prices are frozen until 2016.

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Scottish Power fined £750k for price variations

Ofgem has fined the energy giant for charging an unfair amount to many of its customers, simply because they paid using a different method.

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ScottishPower was fined £750k for varying its prices too much depending on the payment method

Energy company Scottish Power is the latest of the Big Six to be fined by Ofgem, following an investigation by the industry regulator.

Utility companies can charge different amounts to customers depending on their payment method, but the difference must reflect the true cost of providing the service.

Scottish Power was found to not have the correct systems in place to calculate the right price for each payment type, and was charging customers unfairly.

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E.ON fined record amount for mis-selling

The energy giant has been handed a £12m fine after an investigation by the industry regulator found it guilty of misleading customers over a sustained period of time.

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E.ON was given the biggest ever fine of its kind for misleading customers and breaking rules

Energy industry regulator Ofgem has handed down a record fine of £12m to E.ON for what it called “extensive poor sales practices” over a period of three-and-a-half years between June 2010 and December 2013.

The company was found guilty of:

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BBC survey: energy consumers confused

A survey commissioned by the BBC has found that almost half of domestic energy users don’t know how their bill is calculated.

Although Ofgem has simplified tariff structures in recent years, and limited the number of tariffs suppliers can offer, many still find their energy bills confusing, the survey found.

The survey discovered:

  • 51% of consumers have not switched energy supplier in the last 5 years
  • 76% of consumers think bills are too complicated
  • 44% of consumers don’t understand how their bills are calculated

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