Tag Archives: gas and electricity

npower Reveals UK Homes Turning Up The Heat This Summer

Npower research has revealed that many homes across the UK resorted to switching their heating on to deal with this summer’s unseasonal weather.

Findings from energy company npower reveal that 50% of UK homes had used some form of heating in the last four weeks, and this figure rose to 58% for residents over 55 years of age. With the summer weather yet to make an appearance and boiler systems usually switched off in spring still in operation, npower is encouraging Brits to ensure their boilers are operating efficiently and safely.

To help homeowners keep their heating systems in good working order, npower has launched a combined energy tariff and central heating care package, meaning that new customers signing up to the Bill Saver energy tariff can take advantage of discounted central heating care.

Npower’s new offer combines the Bill Saver tariff, which offers annual charges discounted at 7%* until August 2013, with an exclusive central heating care offer, only available to new dual fuel customers taking this tariff.

Npower’s central heating care includes unlimited callouts as well as parts and labour**. The service also includes an annual boiler service and safety check giving homeowners peace of mind that everything is operating efficiently and safely. An additional bonus is that npower’s central heating care has no call out charges.

David Bond, Customer Marketing Manager at npower, commented: “The weather over the last couple of months has seen many people in the UK reaching for the heating controls and so it’s important that heating systems are well maintained so they are ready to spring into action when needed.

“Signing up to a central heating care product now will keep systems protected over the summer and, crucially, ensures that come winter residents have access to a team of qualified engineers and a 24/7 helpline should anything go wrong. This is a limited offer so we’re encouraging homeowners to sign up now to take advantage of our Bill Saver tariff and our cheapest central heating care together.”

Npower’s central heating care offer is available until 30th July 2012. For more information please contact 0800 229 999 or visit www.npower.com.

Via EPR Network
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npower Introduces New Boiler And Central Heating Care Product

npower is introducing a new boiler and central heating care product.

The new product is one of the most competitive on the market and includes comprehensive cover for a gas boiler, controls and radiators, as well as an annual boiler service and unlimited calls outs with no call out charge. Labour, repairs and parts are included and are guaranteed for 12 months, whilst customers will have 24/7 access to a dedicated boiler care team at npower’s call centre who they can contact for free. npower will also replace boilers less than seven years old if they are beyond economical repair.

The product is available for any new boiler care customer, even if they do not use npower as their energy supplier.

Emily Stagg from npower, commented: “Research shows that 51% of homeowners would feel annoyed at the expense of a boiler breakdown, so investing in boiler care can offer worthwhile peace of mind should anything go wrong.*

“At npower, we’re always looking to improve our customer offering and this competitive product offers good value for homeowners looking to protect their boiler and central heating all year round. As part of the service, we’re able to offer a comprehensive 30-point boiler service and safety check with one of our Gas Safe registered engineers, which means we will ensure if your system is working properly and then be there for you all year round.

“Now is the perfect time to sign-up as it makes sense to get your system checked after the winter to make sure it’s working properly and hasn’t been put under too much strain over the colder months.”

For more details about npower’s boiler and central heating care, interested parties can call 0800 2944 989 or visit www.npower.com/boilercare.

Via EPR Network
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npower Reveal Only One in Five Young Brits Can Tie a Knot and Half Can’t Climb Trees

npower has today unveiled research, showing that modern day youngsters are disconnected from the great outdoors, with many unable to build a camp fire (78%), put up a tent (79%) or even tie their shoe laces (45%). When asked if they cared about the environment, more than a third (37%) said no and, incredibly, half of those (52%) said that it’s because “in the future we’ll be able to live in space”.

The figures show that while young people are able to search for clips on YouTube (37%) they’d struggle to search for the local post office by reading a map (81%), and while they may be able to work a DVD player (67%), a huge 87% said they wouldn’t know how to repair a bicycle puncture.

The research indicates that today’s youths have lost their sense of adventure and lack skills which older generations take for granted. Nine out of ten youngsters (91%) are unable to recognise different types of butterfly and 43% cannot remember seeing the stars in the last month.

The lack of interest in the great outdoors is a worry for many parents, with more than seven in ten (77%) saying their child spends too much time watching TV or playing video games.

Survival expert and founder of Woodlore, Ray Mears, comments: “The latest figures are really shocking and I can’t believe our young people are so ill-equipped when it comes to practical skills.

“When I was growing up, I was told ‘You don’t need equipment, you need knowledge to survive in the wild’ and this is something that I truly believe. Simple skills like putting up a tent can teach you important lessons that can’t be learnt without doing them yourself. You learn how to work in a team and communicate with your peers; how to work under pressure and use logic and, most importantly, how to look after yourself and know your strengths.”

In response to these startling figures, npower will today announce the start of Climate Cops SOS, an educational programme which looks for Britain’s greenest young people by working with schools across the country. Working with survival expert Ray Mears, npower hopes to inject passion for the great outdoors back into the hearts of the nation’s youths. To enter the competition, they will have to devise and implement a group activity which celebrates adventure and encourages their fellow peers to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors. 100 winning students will be treated with a trip to the Lake District where they will have a survival master class with Ray himself.

To enter npower’s Climate Cops SOS, children must be aged 11 to 13. Entries should come through their school and they will need to show that they have devised and implemented a group activity, which celebrates adventure and encourages their peers to go outside and enjoy the great outdoors.

For more information visit www.npower.com/climatecopssos

Via EPR Network
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npower Receives A Tail Wagging Hello From Guide Dogs

npower has been receiving visits from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association at sites across the north east of England to raise awareness of its services for blind and partially-sighted people.

npower Receives A Tail Wagging Hello From Guide Dogs

Over the past two months staff f r o m npower have been meeting guide dog owners and their respective guide dogs during selected lunchtime visits to its offices across the north east. Guide Dogs had previously been invited to the npower site in Worcester and was selected by npower to receive a £20,000 donation, which was used to sponsor four guide dog puppies through their training.

At these visits npower employees have been encouraged to sponsor a puppy, recycle for the charity and get involved in volunteering and payroll giving.

Nicola Wilson, Guide Dogs’ Development Fundraiser for the North said: “We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to visit the north east sites of npower. We’ve had an incredibly warm welcome so far and thanks to everyone’s support Guide Dogs will receive an extra £792 annually and we still have three more site visits to attend. npower and their staff have been extremely supportive of Guide Dogs and we simply cannot thank them enough for their continued generosity and support.

“The dogs love all the attention they receive at these visits and the volunteers who dedicate their time enjoy answering all the queries and talking about their experiences as guide dog owners and/or volunteers.”

npower currently sponsor four guide dog puppies at Tibury power station and its offices in Swindon and Worcester. Orbie, a five month old golden Labrador is sponsored by the offices in the North East.

Gary Doig, npower’s Community Investment Manager in the North East said, “npower was delighted to sponsor our own guide dog puppy, Orbie, through the corporate charity committee. The Guide Dog visits to our North East sites will undoubtedly create a lot of interest amongst our employees, enabling them to learn more about the dogs themselves as well as increase awareness of the great work done by the charity. Hopefully Guide Dogs will also be able to recruit some future fundraisers f r o m amongst our people.”

There are around 4,600 guide dog partnerships throughout the UK; each costing about£50,000. The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations to funds its guide dog service.

Nicola explained: “Without the help of employers and staff like npower, Guide Dogs couldn’t provide its services for visually impaired people.

“There are still thousands of blind or partially sighted people who never leave the house alone because they lack the confidence and support to do so. Guide Dogs want to change this and provide independence and freedom to every visually impaired person who needs it.”

Via EPR Network
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npower Reports Solar Energy Boost From Cashback Scheme

npower has reported that, thanks to a new government cashback scheme, those who use solar power to generate their own electricity could soon earn approximately £960 per year.

npower Reports Solar Energy Boost From Cashback Scheme

Introduced by the government in April 2010, Feed in Tariffs, or FITs, as they’re more often referred to, offer homeowners with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels a payment of up to 41.3p for every unit of electricity they generate.

James Morgan, solar expert for npower, commented: “This is great news for homeowners. Put simply, owners of solar photovoltaic panels, which produce electricity, will be paid for all the energy they generate – regardless of whether they use it themselves or sell it back to the grid. So not only will your energy bills be reduced, but you will also be receiving a regular income from the energy you generate.

“Consequently, there’s never been a better time to be installing solar panels on your home. Since the introduction of the scheme, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people interested in going solar, as the extra financial benefit offered by FITs means that the payback period has been reduced to around 15 years for a typical installation costing around £12,000.”

Solar photovoltaic (PV) uses energy from the sun to create electricity to run appliances and lighting in the home. Solar PV requires only daylight – not direct sunlight – to generate electricity, making it incredibly efficient. The system also generates no greenhouse gases, helping to reduce homeowners’ carbon footprint.

Ronald and Wendy Jordan from Cornwall are one couple who will benefit from Feed-in-Tariffs. They run their own beef farm and bed and breakfast near Lostwithiel and decided to invest their savings in solar PV panels while interest rates were low.

Via EPR Network
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npower Welcomes Cash Rewards For Low Carbon Electricity And Heating

npower has welcomed the Government’s announcement regarding Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) levels and urged consumers to buy now to take advantage of the Government scheme.

The scheme offers financial assistance when installing solar PV panels, potentially earning customers £986 per year.

Julia Lynch-Williams, Director of Energy Services for npower, commented: “According to Government calculations, consumers generating their own electricity from solar PV panels could earn approximately £986 per year from tax free generation payments and bill savings combined.

“The new Feed-in-Tariff arrangement means homeowners have the opportunity to earn more than ever before from generating their own electricity and together with a grant, solar is certainly a more attractive investment than it’s ever been. Given that the Government has increased generation levels since the consultation in July, now definitely looks to be the best time to buy.”

With a typical installation costing around £12,000, FITs will see the payback period considerably reduced.

npower has seen enquiries in solar panels increase by 200 per cent since the Feed-in-Tariffs were first announced in July 2009, and expects this trend to continue.

To help homeowners take advantage of FITs, npower solar offers a complete ‘one-stop-shop’ service including site survey, grant application support, installation and buy back of excess energy.

npower’s website includes guidance for homeowners on solar installations, including a suitability calculator which tells homeowners whether their property is suitable for solar installations and offers a free estimate for installation.

Via EPR Network
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Guide To Stay Safe And Warm In A Winter Power Cut

Householders are being urged to cut out and keep a handy guide on staying safe and warm in the event of a winter power cut. The guide was pulled together by uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service, after many households were left without power during the recent big freeze.

Emma Bush, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says:”With this winter expected to be the coldest in 30 years and more snowfall predicted to be on the way, consumers should be as prepared as possible for any further power cuts.

“Energy companies will always try to get the supply back up and running again as quickly as possible, but in severe weather such as snow this can take time. If you are disabled, chronically ill, elderly or have young children in your home, let your supplier know as they may need to make you a priority.”

The uSwitch.com cut out and keep guide to surviving a winter power cut:

1.Be prepared - make sure you keep torches, spare batteries, candles and matches in an easy to get to cupboard or drawer and that all your family knows where they are. Keep a battery-powered radio tuned into a local station for information and have important numbers stored on a charged mobile phone.
2.Check - turn off all your electrical appliances and lights, but leave one light switched on so you know when the power is back on. Check whether neighbours have power or not. If it’s just your home affected, check your fuse box first before calling your supplier.
3.Stay warm - this is a priority. If a power cut leaves you without any heating move the whole family into one room, preferably south facing, and make sure you wear several layers of clothing, including a hat, scarf and coat if necessary. Use sleeping bags for extra warmth.
4.Stay safe - you can use other forms of heating such as paraffin stoves, but always read the instructions carefully and make sure the room is well ventilated. If you’re going to cook on a BBQ make sure you only do it outdoors. Never leave candles or heating appliances in unoccupied rooms.
5.Store water - if a power cut lasts for more than a few hours you will need to start storing water as the water supply may start to be affected. Fill saucepans, buckets, empty bottles or even the bath with water. If you are able to boil some water keep it in thermos flasks for warm drinks and fill hot water bottles to help stay warm.
6.Keep food fresh - if the freezer loses power do not open the door unless you have to, frozen food can last for around a day. The fridge is more of a problem, but if it is cold enough you can store food outside. Use a cardboard box with newspaper to stop it from freezing though.
7.Be a good neighbour - check on any elderly or vulnerable neighbours. If they’re struggling to keep warm invite them into your home – the more bodies, the more heat and the safer they should be.
8.Sub zero - if the temperature falls below freezing use towels and blankets to help insulate exposed water pipes. The last thing you need is a burst pipe.
9.After the power cut - check water pipes for leaks, reset electric timers and clocks and check the food in your freezer. If food has thawed do not refreeze as it could make anyone eating it ill.

Via EPR Network
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£319 Million Investment Could Spell Future Bill Misery For Consumers

Ofgem yesterday published final proposals for funding the first tranche of projects from a potential GBP1 billion package of extra investment in Britain’s high-voltage networks. The first tranche, totalling GBP319 million, will help connect Great Britain’s growing renewable electricity generation. However, this is just part of a much broader GBP233.5 billion investment programme that is expected to add GBP548 a year in total onto household energy bills, warns uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service. And while the investment is needed, consumers must start preparing for the eventual impact on their energy bills.

Will Marples, energy expert at uSwitch.com, comments: “This announcement is one of many that consumers can expect to hear about huge investments being made to secure our longer-term energy supplies. The investment is crucial, but there can be no doubt that it will have an impact on our future energy bills and this has to be explained to consumers now so that they can start taking action to protect themselves in the future.

“The average household energy bill today is GBP1,239 a year and the additional cost of investment alone is expected to add GBP548 a year onto our bills. Ongoing pricing trends coupled with this investment could see household energy bills hit as high as GBP4,733 a year by 2020, nearly four times higher than they are today.

“This is a wake-up call for us all. The GBP5,000 a year energy bill may seem like an outside possibility, but we have to remember that energy bills doubled in the last five years alone and that the huge investment needed to keep the lights on in Britain will alone add GBP548 a year onto our bills. The fact is we are entering a new era of high cost energy and households will have to adapt their behaviour accordingly.

“Consumers have to start taking action now to future-proof themselves against far higher energy bills. My advice is to invest in making your home more energy efficient, reduce the amount of energy you use and make sure you are paying the lowest possible price for it. Big projects such as a new energy efficient boiler or home insulation can be expensive, but you can speak to your supplier or the Energy Saving Trust to see if you can get any financial support to help with it. Any savings you make through cutting the price of your energy could also be re-invested into energy efficiency measures so that you reap even greater rewards in the future.”

Via EPR Network
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Door Step Energy Salesmen Must Provide A Written Quote From Today

The move is in response to growing concerns over doorstep selling and particularly the fact that many consumers end up on a worse deal after speaking to an energy company salesman. According to uSwitch.com research almost 7 million UK households have taken out an energy plan through a direct salesman, but less than a quarter of these (22%) believe they got a good deal.

Door Step Energy Salesmen Must Provide A Written Quote From Today

The new system of providing written quotes means that consumers will have proof of the deal they have been offered. But, importantly, the onus will still be on consumers to check for themselves whether it is the best plan they could be on.

Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, says: “This new rule is not about making sure consumers get the best deal, or even a better deal. It’s about making sure they have written proof of what they’ve been offered. It is then down to them to take this information and check for themselves whether they will be better off or not.

“The key thing is that consumers understand that the quote is not a guarantee that they will be saving money. Direct salesmen are not obliged to tell people about their company’s most competitive plans. These tend to be online and are around GBP300 a year cheaper than standard plans so consumers signing up with a salesman without comparing first could still lose out.

“Over a third of people (37%) think that energy salesmen don’t present them with enough information to make an informed decision while almost half (45%) don’t like the fact that the seller only represents one energy supplier. The new quotation system doesn’t tackle these issues, but it does mean consumers can protect themselves by taking the quotes and comparing prices before signing on the dotted line.”

As well as the requirement for written quotes, Ofgem is also increasing the threshold for debt blocking for prepayment meter (PPM) customers from GBP100 to GBP200. This means that those with a debt on their meter of up to GBP200 could now switch to a better deal opening up the opportunity for them to save money. The regulator has also brought in new rules on SME energy, but has backed off banning suppliers from rolling SME contracts over.

Via EPR Network
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New Small Business Energy Rules ‘Confusing’

Ofgem’s new rules for the small business energy market come into play yesterday – Monday 18th January, 2010. While designed to give greater protection to Britain’s SMEs, according to uSwitchforbusiness.com, the dedicated SME price comparison and switching service, the rules are in danger of confusing business owners and put too much onus on them to take action.

Jake Ridge, small business expert at uSwitchforbusiness.com, says:”Ofgem is doing the right thing in offering Britain’s SMEs greater protection in the energy market. However, these new rules have fallen far short of the simple blanket ban on evergreen or rollover contracts that was initially proposed and, as a result, are in danger of confusing busy SME owners.

“Small businesses need to understand the rules quickly to ensure that they benefit from the additional protection being offered. The key thing is that the rules only apply if you are a micro-business so check whether you qualify and let your energy company know straight away if you do. This means that when you come to renew your contract your supplier must provide you with clear written details of the full terms and conditions plus ensure you get suitable notice so that you can shop around for a new deal. Check with your supplier if you are unsure when your current contract will end.

“You also now have the right to opt out of being rolled-over – as soon as you sign a new energy deal let the supplier know you are opting out and this means that you can only be put onto a 28 day notice rollover plan at the end of your contract leaving you free to move to a better deal.

“The rules are complicated and unfortunately put too much onus on SME owners. But it’s a step in the right direction and should hopefully see more small businesses avoid the expensive trap of ‘evergreen’ energy contracts.”

The new rules only apply to micro-businesses, which Ofgem defines as a company that meets any one of the following criteria:
•Consumes less than 200,000 kWh of gas per annum
•Consumes less than 55,000 kWh of electricity a year
•Has less than ten employees (or the full-time equivalent) and an annual turnover or annual balance sheet total of Euro 2 million or less.

Via EPR Network
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Cold Snap Will Push Up Energy Bills But Not Household Energy Prices

Households could see their winter fuel bills increase by GBP60 if the cold snap continues into February, but reports that energy prices could go up are a red herring says uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service.

It costs £3 a day on average to heat a home, but uSwitch.com estimates that this could increase by GBP1 a day as consumers contend with the current freezing conditions. If the cold snap lasts a fortnight it will add GBP14 on to household winter fuel bills. But if it lasts two months it could cost households an extra £60.

However, reports that household energy prices could go up as a result of increased demand are misleading – energy suppliers buy their energy around a year in advance and can meet the current short-term increase in demand by topping up on the daily spot market. This means that consumers do not need to worry about their prices going up in the short to medium term.

Tom Lyon, energy expert at uSwitch.com, says: “If the cold snap continues through February it could add £60 on to household energy bills, but the cold snap would have to continue for far longer to have an impact on energy prices. Higher demand because of sub zero temperatures and the current rationing of energy to certain businesses does not mean suppliers will need to increase household energy prices. Hopefully this will reassure consumers, but our advice would be to think now about budgeting for an extra £60 for when the winter fuel bill drops through your letter box.”

Via EPR Network
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