Posts Tagged ‘EDF’

EDF: Not making it any easier to like them.

April 10, 2021

Click for larger version. Extract from my electricity bill – almost every number is wrong, even though EDF have records of my electricity and gas usage at 30 minute intervals and can read the meter remotely in an instant. But for some reason they chose to use estimated readings on my bill resulting in a £283.71 error in their favour. Mmmm.

I wrote the other week about how I found it hard to like EDF, the company that supplies my electricity and gas.

That was because they raised the price of night-time electricity by 73%!

But having invested in insulation and solar panels and a battery, I had been looking forward to April 9th, the date of my semi-annual billing review. I was looking forward to receiving a pleasing refund of my annualised direct-debit payments.

But when the bill arrived I was shocked to find that almost every number on the bill was wrong!

Despite the fact that EDF have instant access to my ‘smart’ gas and electricity meters, and a half-hourly record of my gas and electricity usage across this period, they chose to bill me using estimated meter readings.

And surprisingly, this resulted in a £283.71 error in their favour.

I spoke with a helpful operative today who pulled the current readings live, and took readings from their historic data in seconds, and it looks like they will sort this out shortly. Good.

Is this fraud?

EDF do a noble thing. They are bringing electricity and gas to consumers and I am grateful. But this behaviour is appalling.

This bill is a demand for money ‘on spec’ when they have access to the correct readings.

At the age of 61, I am still reasonably savvy, but I felt physically shocked at this demand for money.

I can imagine that many people – perhaps less numerate than myself – might not appreciate that they were being deliberately over-charged.

This behaviour – coupled with their 73% rise in the cost of night-time electricity – is appalling.

EDF are not making it any easier to like them!

Hinkley C: Is it a good deal?

October 21, 2013
A schematic diagram of the European Pressurised Water Reactor to be built at Hinkley Point. What could possibly go wrong?

A schematic diagram of the European Pressurised Water Reactor to be built at Hinkley Point. What could possibly go wrong? Click for a larger view. Image from AREVA – see link at end of article

So the UK is finally ready to embark on building some new nuclear power stations. I – like most people – don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. But I do feel a sense of relief that we have finally made a decision.

My thoughts consist of three tangled strands concerning the price of electricity; the wider issue of energy costs; and the barely mentioned issue of carbon dioxide emissions. For this evening, let’s just look at the costs.

The power station, planned to begin operating in 10 years time in 2023, consists of two massive plants each generating 1.6 GW of electricity. The build cost is estimated to be £16 billion  which French and Chinese government-owned companies will invest. Yes, this really is an investment backed by foreign governments.

The ‘strike price’ is the guaranteed minimum selling price of electricity generated by the stations and the figure agreed with the government is £92.50 per MWh – with the possibility that the figure will drop slightly if further reactors are built. This is equivalent to 9.25 pence per kWh – the electricity units on our electricity bills.

If the plants operate for 90% of time generating 3.2 GW of electricity then the guaranteed minimum income for the plant is £2.3 billion per year. Subtracting the operational costs – typically relatively low for nuclear plant – then after 10 years of no income and substantial risk of construction problems and delays, the operators should generate around 10% per annum return on their investment for 35 years.

Is the ‘strike price’ right? Well I obviously don’t know, but it is interesting to compare it with the current wholesale price of electricity which is quoted to be around  £55 per MWh. This price is dominated by the price of coal  which (as I write) is generating 43% of the UK’s electricity. Coal is not in short supply worldwide but it does emit lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere: nearly 1 tonne for every MWh of electricity produced.

The guaranteed  price of offshore wind power is currently £155 per MWh, although this will fall to £135 by 2018. Onshore wind is currently guaranteed £100 per MWh, falling to £95 in 2018, with large solar farms getting £125 per MWh, due to fall to £110 per MWh by 2018.

I am not an economist, but in this context £92.50 per MWh doesn’t seem a crazy price for electricity which has very low associated carbon dioxide emissions. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best possible thing we could do. But it is probably not the worst either.


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