Connect with us

Energy

Price comparison sites accused of hiding cheapest energy deals

Published

on

The UK’s biggest price comparison sites have been accused of hiding the cheapest energy deals from their customers, in an effort to promote providers that pay them a commission.

Blue & Green Tomorrow is currently running a crowdfunder to ensure its survival. Please pledge. 

The Big Deal, a collective switching site, has accused five of its major rivals of using the same approach to filter out the best deals from the majority of customer searches.

It said the websites of uSwitch, Compare the Market, MoneySuperMarket, Go Compare and Confused.com all ask visitors if they want to switch energy providers immediately. If consumers click ‘yes’, all deals that do not offer the company a commission are excluded, The Big Deal has claimed.

The relative newcomer to the market said it has written to each of the five companies asking them to remove the filter. It has also called on the Competition and Markets Authority to expand its ongoing investigation into the energy market to scrutinise the conduct of the websites.

“The price comparison sites are worth hundreds of millions of pounds, make huge profits and, with over five million people switching a year, are a major part of the energy market. Yet there is no transparency to how they make their money or how much they charge,” The Big Deal said.

In response, each of the five companies have insisted that their websites are transparent and comply with Ofgem’s code of practice, denying any wrongdoing. 

In a statement, uSwitch said, “Customers have the clear option to compare plans across the whole energy market on our site. We do not pre-select a default answer when giving them this choice, nor do we in any way influence what they should select. 

“Price comparison websites have played a crucial role in stimulating competition by enabling new, smaller providers to challenge the dominance of the big six energy companies, driving down prices and improving customer service.” 

Dan Plant, editor-in-chief of MoneySuperMarket, added, “Currently the cheapest 10 tariffs on the market are shown to all customers using our website – switching to one of these would save many households hundreds of pounds per year.” 

However, market regulator Ofgem has revealed it is considering a revision of its rules that would require comparison sites to show all the tariffs on offer. 

With energy bills rising, many politicians have urged customers to shop around for cheaper deals. In June, Ofgem announced reforms that will allow all customers to switch energy suppliers within three days by the end of the year.

However, campaigners say this is only a temporary fix and have called for more to be done to bring bills down and help households that are slipping into energy poverty. 

A survey published in September revealed that energy bills are consumers’ biggest spending worry this winter, far ahead of their weekly shop and Christmas presents. 

Significantly, the poll also found that 46% of households are more concerned about being able to afford their energy bills this winter than they were in 2013.

Photo: Tom Page via Flickr

Further reading:

200,000 more pensioners to receive winter energy bill discount

Energy bills consumers’ top winter budget worry

Just one in six consumers trust energy suppliers

Ofgem unveils plans for three-day energy switching

Energy regulator calls on ‘big six’ to justify prices as costs fall

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

Published

on

Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

Continue Reading

Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

Published

on

By

Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending