Coronavirus Impact: The Energy Industry

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The International Energy Agency (IEA) have advised that the effect of Coronavirus on manufacturing and travel has resulted in the global oil demand having had it’s first drop in a decade. On 9th March oil prices lost almost one third of their value – the biggest hit since the Gulf War in 1991.

This has had a positive effect on petrol and diesel prices for consumers. In the last 24 hours Morrisons supermarket have announced reductions in Petrol of £0.12p per litre and Diesel £0.08p per litre. For a 50 litre fill up at the pumps this represents a saving of £6.00 for petrol and £4.00 for diesel vehicles. Will others follow suit?

Professor Phil Hart Director of Energy and Power at Cranfield University has claimed that the Coronavirus poses no threat to the UK’s power grid. This is welcome news at a very uncertain time.

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With self-isolation, loss of work and many now working from home and undertaking home schooling, this will ultimately result in an increase in household bills, especially the use of energy. The TV will remain on constant, mobile phones will require extra battery, homeworkers will have all their devices connected, kettles and coffee machines will be on constant speed click and the thermostat may suffer dramatically.

The new year resolution to save money and avoid unnecessarily large bills is well and truly out the window.

However, energy firms such as British Gas and EDF have offered to step in and alleviate some of the added pressure to their customers. British Gas for example has said they may be willing to push back bill dates for customers having to take time off work or to remove any late payment charges.

EDF have also committed to reviewing individual customers and helping with delayed payments during the outbreak.

Check out the smaller energy suppliers, some are cheaper than the traditional big six suppliers and have excellent customer service provisions.

All energy companies will have a helpline or live chat option available. Please contact your supplier if you find yourself in financial hardship. Do not wait until red letters start coming through the door looking for payment or the direct debit fails to go through and you incur more charges including from your bank.

Contact your energy suppliers directly or visit their website where you can find vital information or consider looking at switching tools such as Uswitch for the best deals.

Ofgem has set out useful information if you have any concerns about your energy supply. Access the link below.

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-and-your-energy-supply

Although those asked to work from home may save on costs such as travel and eating out and the frequent daily café stop for your latte or flat white, the increase in household bills may diminish the saving.

Rik Smith (Uswitch), said: 'Assuming a household with medium annual usage is at home for an extra 50 hours per week, between 8am to 6pm, we've estimated that they will probably use around 15 % more electricity each day and 20% more gas - especially at the moment when we're only just coming into spring.’

There will also be a dramatic increase in the use of broadband in the home from both home offices and home schooling. One of the largest broadband providers BT have said increased pressure on home broadband is to be expected however, they insist there are plans in place to deal with this. Sky and TalkTalk also maintain customers can rely on their service during this very uncertain time.

Our main piece of advice during the COVID-19 outbreak is to stay safe and stay at home. Only go out when absolutely necessary and in line with Government guidelines.

Back to Coronavirus - A Health and Economic Emergency

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