Uk Energy Firm Stokes Growing Political Row With Price Hike

UK’s Osborne Says Encouraged on U.S. Budget Talks

At midday, gas for same day delivery was heard changing hands at 65.90 p/th down 0.40 p/th and the day-ahead was broadly unchanged at 66.20 p/th after Thursday’s 66.15 p/th close. The day-ahead contract was seen in a bid/offer range of 66.05 p/th and 66.25 p/th at midday. Despite a cold start Friday, the UK’s weather forecaster the Met Office said in its five-day outlook that it would start to feel “quite pleasant with light winds” on Friday. Meanwhile, the outlook for October 15-October 24 is that temperatures will be near or above average but with some chilly nights. Article continues below… Request a free trial of: European Gas Daily European Gas Daily is a flagship Platts publication that delivers crucial competitive intelligence across the entire European gas marketplace. It keeps you ahead of critical price changes and their effects on the industry — to help you make informed market decisions. Milder temperatures drove down residential demand by 8 million cu m on the day to 121 million cu m, according to Platts unit Bentek energy. The system, however, switched from being long in the morning to short by midday as demand increased from National Grid’s 09.00 am UK time estimates of 196 million cu m to 202 million cu m. Gas into the UK via the Langeled pipe increased to 71 million cu m from Friday morning’s 59 million cu m. Dutch BBL flows, meantime, remained at 16 million cu m. “Flows through the Langeled pipeline remain high… BBL imports remain solid at 16 million cu m and UK production is close to full capacity,” an analyst said.

Microsoft Takes Its ‘Bing It On’ Campaign To The UK, Where Google Has Royal Grip On Search

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The impact on the utility firms of Miliband’s promise was dramatic. RISING COSTS Labour said on Thursday that hard-pressed consumers were paying the price for Cameron’s failure to stand up to the energy companies. “We need an energy market which works for ordinary families and businesses,” Miliband said on Twitter, as he pushed his argument that Labour had the policies to rein in the rising cost of living. Energy minister Michael Fallon told Sky News he was disappointed with SSE’s price hike and urged customers to examine whether they could switch to a cheaper tariff. SSE was also the first to raise prices last year, although it was followed within days by the market-leading gas supplier British Gas, part of Centrica and RWE npower, owned by Germany’s RWE AD. Rival Eon said on Thursday it had no current plans to raise its prices. Iberdrola’s Scottish Power and EDF Energy make up the remaining members of the big six firms. SSE, formerly known as Scottish and Southern Energy, said raising prices for its 2.9 million gas and 4.4 million electricity customers not on fixed tariffs was “the last thing the company wanted to do”, and it pledged not to raise prices again before Autumn 2014 at the earliest. “We’re sorry we have to do this,” said Will Morris, group managing director retail. “We’ve done as much as we could to keep prices down, but the reality is that buying wholesale energy in global markets, delivering it to customers’ homes, and government-imposed levies collected through bills – endorsed by all the major parties – all cost more than they did last year.” The company, which said it had a profit margin of 4.2 percent in its energy supply business in 2012/13, shifted the blame for the price rises onto the costs of environmental and social policies pursued by both the Conservatives and their Liberal Democrat coalition partners. It said politicians could help consumers by transferring the costs from the energy bill payer to the taxpayer, which would immediately take 4 billion pounds off UK energy bills. “We know we will come in for a great deal of criticism for this decision and politicians will no doubt be lining up to condemn us,” Morris said. “But over many years policymakers themselves have failed to highlight adequately the cost to consumers of the policies they have pursued in government,” he said, in reference to upgraded networks and power stations.

But Microsoft seems to be undaunted by that. In launching Bing It On this week, the company pointed to a recent study of 1,000 British adults which skewed in Bings favor: Despite having used Googles own top queries, after carrying out 10 searches, 53% of people surveyed picked Bing search results more often, 34% of people picked Google results more often, and 13% of people chose Bing and Google results an equal number of times. For the stats geeks, the margin of error is +/- 3% at a 95% confidence level. Even when you compare it by query, Bing was preferred more often. Out of 10,000 searches carried out, Bing search results were chosen 39% of the time, whilst Google results were chosen 32% of the time and 29% of searches were draws. In addition to that study, there are reports dating back to late 2012 that Googles UK dominance is slipping. Experian Hitwise UK shared data showing that Googles UK search share had dropped below 90 percent for the first time in five years. StatCounter currently reports Google with 88.8 percent of the UK search engine market in September down from 91.4 percent a year ago. It shows Bing rising from 4.3 percent to 6.7 percent in the same period. Bing & Google Spar Over Bing It On Googles Matt Cutts shared the study with his Twitter followers , and in extended comments on Google+ , said that Bing It Ons flaws were pretty obvious. Bing behavioral scientist Matt Wallaert responded via blog comments and eventually wrote an article for the Bing search blog defending the Bing It On challenge . Ultimately, searchers get to decide every day which search engine they prefer and whether Bings results are comparable to Googles. But it seems to me that Google, by spreading the word about that study, is giving the Bing It On challenge even more publicity and legitimacy. Related Entries Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Microsoft: Bing | Top News About The Author: Matt McGee is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism.

Budget Talks Text By Jason Douglas WASHINGTON–Britain’s finance minister said Friday he has been encouraged in meetings with U.S. officials and lawmakers that Congress can resolve an ongoing budget impasse that threatens to push the U.S. into default. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne told reporters at the autumn meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank that he held meetings Thursday with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) to discuss the stalemate in Congress, which has already shut down swaths of the federal government. “They are all aware, from my conversations, of the seriousness of the situation and the seriousness of the impact on the global economy should there not be a deal. They were well aware of that and were trying to achieve a deal that avoided that outcome,” Mr. Osborne said. “I was encouraged by all of them being pretty clear they needed some kind of deal.” A draft communique from the Group of 20 largest economies asks the U.S. to take “urgent” action to resolve the political gridlock and avoid sending financial shockwaves around the global economy, according to a person familiar with talks. In the second week of a government shutdown, White House and Congressional leaders are locked in a rancorous fight over the country’s budget, with lawmakers refusing to raise the country’s borrowing limit.