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Energy firms overcharged one million switching customers

Energy firms overcharged one million switching customers

Business
Getty ImagesMore than one million people were overcharged by energy firms during the process of switching suppliers, the regulator Ofgem has said.When a customer decides to switch, the rules state they should be protected from price rises while moving - which could take up to three weeks.Eighteen suppliers made errors leading to overcharging of £7.2m.They are refunding the money and making extra payments in some cases, taking the compensation total to £10.4m.The biggest names in the sector - including British Gas, E.On, EDF, Npower, Scottish Power, SSE and Octopus - made the mistakes.They failed to protect customers who switched tariffs or suppliers after price rises were set between 2013 and 2020.Although the average amount overcharged was only £6.27, the sums would be higher for those wi...
How Bitcoin’s vast energy use could burst its bubble

How Bitcoin’s vast energy use could burst its bubble

Science
ReutersWe've all heard the stories of Bitcoin millionaires.Elon Musk is the latest. His electric car company Tesla made a paper profit of more than $ 900m (£646m) after buying $ 1.5bn (£1bn) -worth of the cryptocurrency in early February.Its high profile support helped pushed the price of a single Bitcoin to more than $ 58,000.But it isn't just the digital asset's price that has hit an all-time high. So has its energy footprint.And that's caused blowback for Mr Musk, as the scale of the currency's environmental impact becomes clearer.It also helped prompt a series of high profile critics to slate the digital currency this week, including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.President Biden's top economic adviser described Bitcoin as "an extremely inefficient way to conduct transactions," say...
Coral reef predators get 70% of their energy from the open ocean

Coral reef predators get 70% of their energy from the open ocean

Science
Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Food webs anchored by coral reefs extend much farther into open waters than scientists previously thought. According to a new study, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, more than 70% of the caloric energy consumed by reef predators is sourced from the open ocean. Advertisement Open surface waters in the tropics are low in nutrients and typically thought to be relatively unproductive, but the latest research these environments are more ecologically valuable than scientists previously estimated. For the study, scientists used isotopic analysis to examine the diets of four grouper species captured near coral reefs in the Maldives, an island chain a few hundred miles southwest of India. The analysis showed all four predatory fish rely on open ocean resources. S...
Energy bills to rise by up to £96 for millions as Ofgem hikes price cap

Energy bills to rise by up to £96 for millions as Ofgem hikes price cap

Business
Around 15 million families will see their energy bills rise by up to £96 after the regulator hiked the price cap.The return to pre-coronavirus levels is mainly as a result of increase in wholesale costs, according to Ofgem. For six months from 1 April the price cap will increase by £96 to £1,138 for 11 million default tariff customers, and by £87 to £1,156 for four million pre-payment meter customers.Live COVID updates from UK and around the world Image: Ofgem reviews and changes the price cap once every six months Ofgem points out when wholesale energy prices fell sharply last year in the wake of the first COVID-19 lockdown, the price cap dropped by £84 in October to its lowest level yet for the current winter period.   ...
Shell tumbles to $19.9bn loss as pandemic hits energy demand

Shell tumbles to $19.9bn loss as pandemic hits energy demand

Business
Shell has reported a $ 19.9bn (£14.4bn) loss for 2020 after an "extraordinary year" in which oil and gas prices have slumped amid the coronavirus pandemic.The energy giant tumbled into the red, compared with a profit of $ 15.3bn (£11.1bn) in 2019, as it took billions of dollars worth of accounting charges against the value of its business. Even stripping these out, profits were 71% lower at $ 4.8bn (£3.5bn).Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world Image: Chief executive Ben van Beurden said Shell had taken tough decisions Last September, the oil giant said it was planning to axe up to 9,000 jobs worldwide in a cost-cutting drive. ...