Ebico – a top energy company for customer satisfaction!

Thanks to your feedback, Ebico has been voted into third place in the latest Which? Energy Company Satisfaction Survey 2015, up from fourth last year. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers who took part and who recognised our efforts in 2014.

At Ebico, we pride ourselves in treating customers as individuals and continuously work to improve our customer experience. We were only a whisker away from becoming one of Which’s? first Recommended Providers, awarded for the first time this year. We will work hard throughout 2015 to reach that coveted status come next year.

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We’re reducing our gas price!

At Ebico we are constantly looking for ways we can save you money.

When we last cut prices in March last year, we promised that we’d keep monitoring all our costs and reduce prices again if we could.

So today we are pleased to announce that we will be reducing our gas prices, saving customers 3.9% or £28 per year on a typical gas bill*. This will apply to any customer on our innovative EquiGas tariff, which offers one competitive rate, no tie-ins or exit fees and zero standing charge. It will take effect from 30 April 2015.

We’re passing on savings resulting from lower wholesale energy costs. Like all suppliers, our energy supply partner SSE buys energy at varying times and prices up to two years ahead of time in order to keep prices stable and protect customers from volatility in global markets. This means short-term movements don’t have an immediate impact on prices, but long-term trends will eventually be reflected in customers’ bills.

Now that we are in a position to pass on the savings, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

At Ebico, we’re committed to offering fair, simple and stable prices over the long term, backed up by industry leading customer service. And don’t just take our word for it; with an overall score of 81%, we were recently recognised in the Which? Customer satisfaction survey as one of the top three energy suppliers in Great Britain^.

*Based on Ofgem standard gas consumption of 13,500kWh per year; weighted average across all payment types and regions.
^Source: Which? Energy Company Satisfaction Survey 2015. Further information available here.

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We remain the fastest energy provider to answer customer calls!

The Which? ‘mystery shopper’ research into energy provider call handling times takes place every 6 months and we’re delighted that we retain our top spot, a position we’ve held since the surveys started. We believe this demonstrates that our continuous efforts to provide our new and existing customers with a great customer service are paying-off.

Which? conducted their research in October 2014 by making 384 calls to 16 different energy suppliers’ customer service and sales numbers at set times, and each time they recorded the time it took them to get through to a human.

It took Ebico on average 30 seconds to answer a customer service and 40 seconds to answer our sales calls. This is way ahead of any other energy provider. Some energy providers keep their existing customers waiting for a lot longer than potential new customers. At Ebico we believe that we should treat everyone equally so we provide one number for both sales and existing customers and aim to answer all calls as soon as possible.

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Ebico customers to receive £12 electricity rebate

We are pleased to announce that on, or shortly after, the 12th of October 2014, all Ebico’s EquiPower customers will have their electricity accounts credited with the government electricity rebate of £12. The payments will reduce the cost of social and environmental programmes on customer energy bills.

At Ebico we have always taken the view that UK Government policy spending should be funded by general taxation, not through levies on consumer bills (for why, click here), so we are delighted that this has started to happen.

Customers who pay using Direct Debit and those who pay on receipt of a bill, will see the rebate displayed as a £12.00 credit on their subsequent statement or bill. Pay As You Go (prepayment) customers will receive a letter containing a voucher which they can redeem at any PayPoint outlet.

In addition, we are very pleased to announce that the rebate will also be paid next year. After that, we hope that the funding of government energy policy initiatives through general taxation will become the norm.

Posted in Low Cost Energy

Standing charge or zero standing charge?

In Britain there are currently around 20 home energy suppliers, including the ‘Big-6’. The prices they charge are not set by the Regulator (Ofgem) but rather competition between them for customers restrains the prices they can charge.

Despite this, last year Ofgem took the decision that all energy suppliers have to include a standing charge as part of the bill, although it can be zero. Many may ask themselves why Ofgem made the decision to introduce a mandatory standing charge. The theory is very simple, every energy company faces fixed costs in supplying its customers (the cost of using the pipes and wires, the rental fee to the company that owns the meters in homes) and variable costs (the cost of the energy) and it is up to the company how are they going to cover those costs. In the past this could be done by charging more for the first set of units a customer used and less thereafter. This was called tiered charging. Ofgem decided that tiered pricing was too complex and should be removed. Instead they have decided that energy companies must display their fixed costs as a separate charge (the ‘standing charge’) making pricing slightly simpler. So the energy companies put fixed costs for things such as meter readings, meter maintenance and the cost of keeping customers connected to the network into standing charge, then combined their variable costs such as purchasing the energy on the wholesale market, the cost of running the business, the Government schemes and profit margins into their unit price.

Our customers already know that Ebico has simple and fair pricing with one unit price, zero standing charges, no tie-ins and no exits fees, no matter how they pay. For those who didn’t know, since Ofgem’s new regulations, Ebico is also currently the only energy company serving customers throughout Britain that has both gas and electricity tariffs with zero standing charge available to new customers. We simply put all fixed and variable costs into one price ”“ our unit price. We believe that this is a simple way of charging our customers.

Price wise, for customers using relatively small quantities of energy, the standing charge is often burdensome as it makes up a large proportion of their bill. In addition, customers paying a standing charge who try to reduce the amount of energy they use, whether for cost or environmental reasons, are insufficiently rewarded as the standing charge is added to their bill every month irrespective of how well they’ve managed to economise. By contrast, customers using our EquiGas & EquiPower tariffs will see their bills reduce in almost exactly (the government takes a share through the 5% VAT rate) in proportion to their energy use reduction.

But it’s not all about price. At Ebico we try to make the difference in the market all the way, so we use what surpluses we make to fund projects that work with local communities to fight fuel poverty, helping those, sometimes in the most desperate situations, to manage their gas and electricity costs.
17 Responses to Standing charge or zero standing charge?
Terence Davies says:
10/02/2014 at 1:06 pm
Ebico is my choice for Gas and electricity , No standing charge . I will be highly unlikely to change supplier 🙂

Rob Townsend says:
14/02/2014 at 11:18 am
I received an email from Scottish Power today, informing me my deal was coming to an end. So, I shopped around and discovered that the “no standing charge” deals were disappearing”¦until I came across Ebico’s website via an online search. Perfect! This is how pricing should be. Simple, fair and cost-effective. What’s more, I like the idea of dealing with a non-profit organisation. Naturally, I signed up and look forward to dealing with Ebico. I truly believe that the other energy companies will see a lot people moving to Ebico in search of a no standing charge deal.

Sarah ruane says:
04/03/2014 at 3:58 pm
I have been with ebico since early 2007, and have always found them to be the best company around. I have never had any complaints with them, and if anything goes wrong, they are quick to rectify the situation.pricing is fair..im not going to change companies any time soon 🙂

Mike Dickeson says:
27/03/2014 at 8:29 pm
Zero standing charge is the fairest system ever for low fuel users and the main reason I have been a Ebico customer for many years including when I moved to a new address.
Okay I pay a bit more for my basic units but as a low user of electric I know that I gain from this option because I have created spreadsheets and input the other suppliers tariffs.
So if your a lower user by being very frugal with your fuel usage or perhaps out of the home a lot for what ever reasons, Ebico may well be your preferred choice.

Graham says:
04/10/2014 at 11:16 pm
I too did a spreadsheet, with all other tariffs, and after careful consideration chose ebico. You will not get much more frugal than me in terms of gas useage, with the daily standing charge being more than the actual gas I use, however see my comment 4th October 11.10pm!!

PRUDENCE ELLIS says:
06/11/2014 at 12:06 pm
Graham, when you did your spreadsheet did you factor in ebico prices,(higher)than BG, AND standing charges and get a result that was clear to you? As I am unable to do a spreadsheet I would appreciate your help. REGARDS PRU

oliver wells says:
13/07/2014 at 10:15 pm
do you have no standing charge deals for both gas and electricity. am with british gas at present, and am low user and no standing charge would likely suit better. thank you

oliver wells says:
13/07/2014 at 10:16 pm
do you have no standing charge deals for both gas and electricity. have prepay meter for both with british gas at moment.

Ebico says:
21/07/2014 at 8:15 am
Yes, Oliver. At Ebico both EquiGas and EquiPower have £0 standing charges

christine says:
23/07/2014 at 1:53 pm
Do you only do domestic as we are only a small business and our overheads are crippling us especially the electric and gas. Thanks Christine

Ebico says:
24/07/2014 at 8:06 am
Hi Christine,

Unfortunately, yes, we can supply only domestic properties.

Bazz says:
23/07/2014 at 3:10 pm
I live in a rented property, with both gas and electricity, though I do not use the gas at all. Please advise.

Ebico says:
24/07/2014 at 8:05 am
Hi Bazz,

If you wish, you can switch to EquiGas and/or EquiPower tariffs. They are both £0 standing charge tariffs so you pay only what you use. You can get a quote on our website and compare them to your current supplier’s rates.
Reply
Michael Jones says:
08/08/2014 at 1:07 pm
I have an Economy 7 meter. Can I join Ebico’s single rate system?

Ebico says:
06/10/2014 at 8:24 am
Hi Michael,

Yes, you can, however, your meter will have to be exchanged. You would firstly have to apply to Ebico, via our online application form, on Economy 7 meter. Once the switch is completed you can request your meter to be exchanged.

Graham says:
04/10/2014 at 11:10 pm
So I signed up for equigas as an ex-British Gas customer on the understanding that ebico was ‘genuinely’ zero standing charge, so imagine my surprise to find my daily standing charge has now increased from 26p per day with BG to 27.4p per day with Ebico!!! Don’t know if my card was not programmed correctly or if this is just another one of those bulls*** arguments that taking everything into consideration you are ‘effectively’ paying zero standing charge?? Because at this moment the way I see it, I am ‘effectively’ now worse off than I was with British Gas. I am seriously not impressed!! Before I switched, I rang ebico customer service and SPECIFICALLY asked, so the zero standing charge is really zero, as in my meter will say zero”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦YES they said”¦. Maybe OFGEM would be interested to hear about your false advertising practices?

Ebico says:
06/10/2014 at 8:27 am
Hi Graham, Ebico does have ZERO standing charge. It seems that there may be a problem with your card. If you call our supply partner’s prepayment team on 0800 980 0414 they should be able to sort that out for you.

Posted in Uncategorised

What is the payback period for solar panels now, given the Government’s reductions in Feed-in Tariffs? Is it still worth bothering?

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels generate electricity during daylight hours. The efficiency of these depends on several factors, but most importantly on the angle of the roof, the direction the roof faces, and the space available for installation of panels. A site survey would be needed to assess your individual situation, and accurately predict the expected output from the units. There are several websites which will allow you to input details and obtain an indication of expected outputs, and returns. The Energy Saving Trust website is a good resource to use, and explains the feed in tariffs and payments well.

In terms of savings and considerations, if your home is insulated to a reasonably good level, you will be paid 15.44p/kWh for the electricity generated by your panels (from April 2013), irrespective of whether you use this energy yourself, or export it to the electricity network.

In addition you will be paid 4.5p per KWh for any electricity you don’t use yourself and, therefore, export to the network. Remember that any electricity you use within your home which is in excess of that produced by the panels (which will be all the electricity you use after dark), will have to be purchased from your supply company at normal rates (around 15p). So, where practical, it is better to run appliances during the day so that you use the solar-generated electricity yourself.

At some stage smart meters will be installed to measure the amount of electricity that you export to the grid but, until then, the estimate of exported electricity which used to calculate your payments is 50% of the electricity you generate. At the moment only systems above 30kWp must have an export meter fitted, but a home PV system is unlikely to be that big.

So, do the numbers add up to a financially useful investment? Well, by way of a worked example, let’s take a semi-detached 3 bedroom house located in the English Midlands. The sunny side of the roof is facing South West at 220o, the roof is angled at 40o (most roofs are), there is no shading on the roof from trees or other buildings, the average electricity bill is £35 per month and 3kWh of PV panels can be fitted on the roof. The installation would cost around £6,430 (for more precise quite contact certified installers here) and it should produce around 2,553 kWh each year. Using current (mid-2013) rates, the annual income from the electricity generated would be £394 (Feed in Tariff) and £59 (export). There would also be a reduction in the annual electricity bill of about £81 as the house now uses less ‘bought-in’ electricity. So this typical installation would deliver to its owner a total of £534 per year of value. This means that the installation will ‘pay-back’ in about 12 years and, with the FiT and export payments guaranteed and inflation-protected for 20 years, the installation will turn a profit of about £4,250. In practice, of course, the proposition isn’t quite this simple as the inverter (the device that converts the DC generated by the panels into useable AC power) will need replacing during the 25 years of panel life and the panels themselves will lose efficiency throughout their life (although we’re probably only talking about 1% per year). On the plus side (sort of), if the cost of bought-in electricity rises, then the savings that an owner will see from generating their own electricity with increase too. (Note that these are only estimates and for more accurate quotes you should contact a registered PV panel installers).

To calculate your approximate costs and savings for your home you can use Energy Savings Trust’s Solar Energy Calculator here.

Do be aware that, if your house is below D energy efficiency rating, payments for electricity generated will reduced to 7.1p kWh. This is an important consideration and will affect the feasibility of installing a solar PV array. You should also consider whether you have the money available to purchase the system outright or whether you would need to raise some through a loan. Loan interest should be factored in to a decision and will lengthen payback periods and reduce profit considerably. Another factor to consider is how much sunshine (both hours and intensity) you home gets each year. It’s difficult to make hard and fast statements about where in the UK is, and isn’t, viable as a location for PV, so take a look at this map of irradiation and solar electricity potential produced under the auspices of the EU here.

So, is it worth bothering? Providing that you have money to invest into solar panels, that your home energy efficiency is EPC D and above and that you have a suitably orientated roof, then yes, probably. You’ll be investing in a greener electricity supply for your home and making a sound commercial decision too!

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