Posts Tagged ‘Big Six’

Hinkley Point C

July 28, 2016

Hinkley Point C will cost 18 billion euros.

Correction, Hinkley Point C  has an estimated cost of 18 billion euros. Large infrastructure projects have a nasty habit of being over time and over budget. This is true of EDF’s latest project in France.

18 billion euros is larger than the capital value of EDF. Major shareholder in EDF is the French government. If Hinkley Point C proves to be, as many suspect, a White Elephant, it will destroy the French government.

The French Unions are oposed to Hinkley Point C and are considering mounting a legal challenge.

The new UK government is having second thoughts.

The price of electricity from Hinkley Point C is guaranteed for the next thirty-five years at double the current price of electricity.

The price of electricity from renewables has been halving every 18 months.

The offshore wind farms Siemens plan to build in the North Sea will deliver electricity at much lower price than Hinkley Point C

Hinkley Point C is a disaster and must be stopped.

Proponents correctly say we need reliable sources of clean energy. That is why we must push ahead with renewables, the more we have, the more reliable, as not reliant upon the unreliability of a  few sources.  Also resilient.

We must follow a Soft Energy Path, one wheres sources are matched to usage.

Nuclear power is hard energy, it is also very brittle.

installation of rooftop solar panels

installation of rooftop solar panels

Last week, my neighbour installed 14 solar panels on his south facing roof. Speaking to the contractors, they said peak output (on a good day when the sun is shining) is 3 kW.

Imagine if every house had solar panels, if new build was mandatory to have solar panels.

Inshore wind farms have been a disaster. Wealthy landowners reap the subsidies. Or did

We need to create community owned local area grids. Into which feed renewables guaranteed a fair price. Consumers would pay a  fair price. Any surplus energy would be fed to other local are grids via a publicly owned National Grid.  Any monetary surplus would either be fed back into the local grid or used to finance community projects, watering of the collaborative commons.

EU pushed diesel, thanks to lobbying by VW (the same VW that rigged emission tests). Net result nearly ten thousand deaths a year in London due to air pollution from toxic diesel.

In US and Japan, a different route of hybrid and electric cars.

One of the problems with electricity supply from renewables, is matching supply to demand. Electricity from the sun  during the day when demand also peaks. Wind blows at night when demand is low

Surplus generation, could be, at cheaper rate via smart meters, used to charge electric cars. Electric cars when not in use, with fully charged batteries, could be used when peak demand exceeds supply. Smart meters can also use the electricity for low grade heat, for example water heating and space heating, where being cut off for a short while does not impact on the user (especially if have manual override).

A couple of weeks ago, a useless report on abuse by the Big Six, a useless report that cost millions to compile. A couple of their worthless recommendations was better use of price comparison sites (better called price fixing sites as paid by suppliers to set up deals) and if consumers had not recently change supplier, add them to a database to receive junk mail from suppliers.

One measure at a stroke would improve the situation, eliminate standing charges, a fixed rate per kW-H, or maybe two rates, one a special cheap rate when surplus exceeds supply (requiring smart meters).

There are no standing charges when paying for petrol, there should be no standing charges when buying electricity.

We do not need to nationalise the Big Six, introduce community owned and controlled local grids, and the Big Six would be driven out of business, as unable to compete.

Post-Brexit, we need investment in green infrastructure, investment in publicly owned railways, in locally owned and controlled electricity grids. What we do not need is bad infrastructure, HS2, Hinkley Point C, expansion of London City Airport or additional runways at Heathrow and Gatwick.

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Bring down the Big Six

November 26, 2013
We're all in this together

We’re all in this together

Looking after our profits

Looking after our profits

According to Office of National Statistics, winter deaths last year up by 29% to 31,000. Coincidently, Big Six profits have soared.

Today protests in London against the Big Six, calls for nationalisation.

Organised by UK Uncut, was trending on twitter in London.

Media blackout as usual by mainstream, media. BBC mentioned rising deaths, fuel poverty, but no mention of protests across the country against the Big Six.

Big Six say prices have to go up, blame green taxes, cost of distribution, cost on wholesale markets.

Energy prices should be high. We then value energy, are frugal in its use. We only have to look at what has happened in the Philippines to see why energy prices should remain high. And no way should energy be subsidised by the taxpayer. Having said that, it does not grant licence to print money by mostly foreign-owned energy companies.

The Big Six bleat about what they call green taxes. Strictly speaking, green and social taxes. This money raised goes to insulation, renewable energy, helping to offset energy costs of those in poverty. These charges account for roughly 10% of the average bill, thus are insignificant.

Those in poverty, pay a significantly higher proportion of their income on fuel. They are also hit proportionately harder when prices rise faster than inflation. The latest price rises are three times the rate of inflation.

Those on benefits, have seen a cut in their benefits, out of which they now have to pay Council tax and Bedroom Tax.

Distribution costs have gone up, allegedly to pay for infrastructure costs.

This leaves wholesale costs. These have remained fairly flat. But when we do see spikes, these are spot market prices. Are we to really believe the Big Six are buying on the spot market, not have long term deals in place?

The Big Six claim they are making little money, that they have massive investment plans to pay for.

At the very least, the Big Six are being economical with the truth. The distribution side of the business does have a relatively low profit margin. Where are the investment costs? There are none. The distribution side merely buys and sells.

And who do the Big Six buy from? The generators. And who owns the generators? The Big Six. And it is the generation side of the business where the Big Six are making a killing.

The Big Six have to be broken up, into generating and distribution companies. We have to have transparency in the market.

The government should not give in to bullying by the Big Six and remove the green and social taxes.

We also need to see a change in the way users are charged for fuel. There should be no standing charge (which proportionately penalises those who use less, especially those who are struggling to pay their bills), a flat rate per KW-hour, and end to confusion pricing.

There can be no excuse for either the standing charge or the confusion pricing. At a petrol station, you do not see a price per litre plus standing charge. At a supermarket checkout, you are not billed for your groceries, then a charge on top for the checkout.

One of the most obscene example of standing charges is levied by SSE. Those with pre-payment meters (usually those in poverty) are already being charged at the highest rate for their fuel. For SSE customers, each time they put £10 on a card, to put money on their prepayment meters, they ae ccharged £1-92 for the privilege of doing so, almost 20%.