EDF Just Increased My Monthly Energy Bill by a Gobsmacking 134%; Utility Doesn’t Explain the Missing Discount (4)

–Energy transition hits home
–EDF reduces increase after we asked it to justify its initial proposal and sent our meter readings
The collapse of Avro Energy and Green means many suppliers have been lost this year, Guardian reports (others too in the past few days)
–Adds Ofgem (energy regulator) general response

By Mathew Carr

Sept. 21-30, 2021 (LONDON) — Good Morning! Sort of.

Awoke to see in our inbox that our monthly energy bill here in London, England, from utility EDF was jumping 134% over the next few months — from 71 pounds ($97) to a whopping 166 pounds.

Natural gas prices have surged in Europe and around the world as countries simultaneously seek to pivot to cleaner fuels — that is natural gas instead of coal which produces about double the greenhouse gas when burned. I knew it would be painful, but not this painful. See this snip from our bill:

From emailed bill dated Sept. 18

Our previous provider was Green Network Energy. EDF replaced it.

We asked EDF some questions, then more questions. It said it would take 100 pounds a month, instead.

But these questions didn’t really get answered:

Did I get the discount promised …at least temporarily? How difficult has it been for EDF Energy to implement that discount, given soaring wholesale prices? How did you do it?

A source with knowledge of the situation only said this (I include it all, for the sake of transparency):

  • Your monthly Direct Debit increased because the review of your payments was based on estimated readings and using the prices on our Standard Variable tariff rate. This happened because of the timings between when you signed up to your new tariff (Fix Total Service Aug23v2) and when we issued your annual bill.
  • Your annual bill is based on what we expected you to use over the next 12 months and is based on the available tariff information at the time of issuing.
  • We haven’t applied a discount, we have reduced your monthly Direct Debit as requested. However, we’d recommend you provide updated meter readings as soon as possible so your bill can be updated based on your actual energy use.
  • If customers want to change their Direct Debit, we’re happy to review their payments, however pay too little they might have an extra amount to pay at the end of their billing year. For customers without a smart meter we’d always recommend that they submit meter readings when we request them so Direct Debits payments are calculated using actual energy use and are as accurate as possible. This helps to make sure people pay the right amount and avoid any bill shocks later down the line.
  • Should customers wish to install a smart meter, meter readings would be taken regularly and are automatically sent to us. This means that the Direct Debit will be reviewed annually in line with actual energy usage, without the customer having to do anything.

European natural gas prices have been on a tear …partly because much higher carbon prices has made coal less profitable to burn (coal prices are surging too). Suppliers have reportedly withheld supplies.

It’s unclear whether the financial pain will be temporary or more permanent. It shows the need for governments to set aside money from selling carbon allowances for people who need help with their bills.

January 2022 Dutch natural gas futures have almost quadrupled since the beginning of the year.

ICE

EU carbon futures have surged above 60 euros a ton (U.K. carbon is in the same ballpark).

ICE

Unfortunately for the climate, these price jumps may make politicians hesitant to move too quickly on new policies to cut emissions at the Glasgow climate talks starting next month.

The 2015 Paris climate agreement target to keep temperatures from rising 2C is already at severe risk. And the Glasgow meeting has already been delayed a year because of the pandemic. Solar, wind and batteries, anyone?


Jon
athan Brearley• Ofgem (energy regulator) CEO, on Linked In:
When energy companies exit the market, we have robust processes in place to make sure supplies continue and that consumers face the least amount of disruption as possible. We have one of the most secure and resilient energy systems in the world.

I’ve been meeting with smaller and challenger energy suppliers alongside the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to set out the next steps for protecting consumers, businesses and energy suppliers from the high global gas prices rises affecting many countries in Europe and around the globe. Central to any next steps is our clear and agreed position that the Energy Price Cap will remain.

The Ofgem website has all the information you need if your provider goes out of business, and explains the actions we take for consumers

(UPDATES Sept. 30 with partial response; Sunday with Ofgem, Green Network details, Wednesday with EDF’s initial response, captions, note)

NOTES

  1. EDF took control of our account from our previous provider, which suffered financial difficulties.
  2. Guardian link: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/sep/22/19m-uk-homes-left-without-supplier-after-two-more-gas-firms-go-bust
  3. Gas prices dropped slightly Wednesday Sept. 22; the charts are from Tuesday Sept. 21

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