Thursday, 8 June 2023

Business News

Ofgem wants your energy supplier to make more money (update)

Ofgem wants your energy supplier to make more money (update)

“Customers to pay less for energy bills from summer,” trumpets UK energy regulator Ofgem this morning.

From 1 July, the energy price cap will be set at an annual level of £2,074 for a dual fuel household paying by direct debit based on typical consumption, which reflects recent falls in wholesale energy prices.

The new price cap represents both a reduction in last quarter’s cap, and also a reduction in how much customers will pay on their bills. Since October 2022, consumers have been supported by the Government’s Energy Price Guarantee, which caps the typical bill at £2,500.

Hooray! Wait, what’s this bit?

These changes mean that energy suppliers will need to be able to raise more capital and, to be able to do that while still being able to make a reasonable profit within the price cap, Ofgem is proposing that the element of the price cap that covers profit margin – known as Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) – will see a small increase.

Under these plans, the EBIT allowance will allow an efficient energy supplier to make a reasonable profit that reflects its business model and ensure it can be investable in the long term, while keeping a lid on excess profits.

For the October price cap, the EBIT allowance is indicatively expected to be £37 for the typical bill. Under the proposed changes, the EBIT allowance in the typical annual bill would be around £10 higher, with the new EBIT allowance being set at around 2.4% of the full price cap level in that period. By contrast, supplier failures during the gas crisis cost each household an average of £83 and Ofgem is determined not to see a repeat of this situation.

The energy EBIT allowance is controversial, so might have merited more attention than it’ll get tagged onto the price cap announcement.

At the moment, UK energy retailers have a pre-tax profit margin limited to 1.9 per cent. Suppliers have been moaning that a fixed rate made hedging for volatile markets uneconomic so contributed to last year’s wave of supplier failures. British Gas owner Centrica said in January, in a spiky letter to the regulator, that the shakeout of its smaller rivals had . . . 

… exposed fundamental flaws in domestic energy retail market design and regulation, at huge cost to consumers. On the regulation side, suppliers have been permitted – even encouraged – to offer below cost unhedged tariffs and use customers’ money to run their businesses. With consumers being encouraged to…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at UK homepage…