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17 January 2013
News highlights from around the Centrica Group in January
Centrica Energy - Nuclear output hits seven year high
EDF Energy’s eight UK nuclear power stations, in which Centrica Energy has a 20% stake, have recorded their highest output for seven years.
Sixty terawatt hours of electricity were generated in 2012, which is enough to power half of the UK’s households and is almost 50% higher than their combined output three years ago.
Last year two of the plants, Hinkley Point B in Somerset and Hunterston B in North Ayrshire, had their operating lives extended to 2023 following a series of technical and safety reviews.
Richard Ingham, Centrica Energy's Head of Engineering – Nuclear, said: “This is positive news for the business as a 20% shareholder and offtaker in EDF Energy’s existing nuclear power stations.
“It’s great to see the highest output for seven years with safety as a real basis for this excellent performance.”
British Gas publishes results from CO safety survey.
Research commissioned by British Gas highlights a gap in carbon monoxide awareness. It found that only 16% of households in Cardiff have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm fitted.
The findings, from interviews with 200 people in the Welsh capital, also revealed that just 22% of respondents were able to identify the symptoms of CO poisoning and only 11% rated having a CO alarm as a top three safety priority.
Around 30 people die each year from CO poisoning after experiencing symptoms that can include headaches, nausea and dizziness.
Dave Bendle, National Incident Manager for British Gas, said: “Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. That’s why it’s so important that householders should fit a carbon monoxide alarm and ensure they complete an annual gas safety check. It’s a small investment which is easy to fit and could save lives.”
British Gas engineer Ian Pearce recently spoke to BBC Radio Wales about the results and the perception people have about carbon monoxide safety.
“The worst cases I’ve seen are when a broken seal or faulty flue diverts fumes into people’s homes,” he said. “When I’ve explained how dangerous this is, customers are very concerned, but many people who don’t have regular checks or a CO alarm still don’t understand the danger.”
British Gas helping customers with personalised tariff comparison and energy efficiency improvements
British Gas customers will now be able to see the differences between their tariff and the others available from the business based on the actual amount of energy they use.
A new table appears under the ‘Can I save some money?’ section of their bill and comes after a launch last year that showed comparisons based on average consumption.
The update will be sent to credit customers twice a year, while ‘pay as you go’ customers will receive it annually. It forms part of a larger move by the business to give customers a personalised tariff check to help them find the best deal for them.
This is one way British Gas is helping its customers, others include offering free insulation (depending on eligibility criteria) and providing an electricity monitor and access to online tools when switching to an online tariff.
British Gas has been recognised for the energy efficiency improvements it’s made to homes in Knowsley in the North West of England as part of its involvement in the Community Energy Saving Programme, which was created by the Government to help deliver energy-saving measures to homes in areas of low-income in the UK.
The business won the ‘Judge’s Choice Award for Regeneration’ at the recent Knowsley Business and Regeneration Awards after carrying out changes to more than 1,000 households in the area.
These included installing wall and loft insulation, replacing inefficient g-rated boilers and swapping out old radiators.
Direct Energy buys gas processing plant
Direct Energy has agreed a deal to own and operate a plant it’s been using since 2009 to process oil and gas from its wells around Alberta in Canada.
The purchase of the Watelet gas plant, near Leduc, from Atco Energy Solutions grows the business’ infrastructure in the region, which currently includes 22 producing wells.
Direct Energy will continue to process other producers’ third-party production through the plant, covering the Watelet, Thorsby, Leduc-Woodbend and Wizard Lake fields.
Direct Energy announces plans to open a new call centre.
Direct Energy has announced that it will create a new Arizona-based call centre in a move that will create up to 300 new jobs.
The Tempe-based office will be responsible for handling calls from the business’ Services and Residential customers.
Eddy Collier, President of Direct Energy Services, said: “Our existing Phoenix call centre has been successful for Direct Energy and is bursting at the seams.
“Our new call centre is being expanded to cover call taking for our very large Residential Energy business, allowing us to offer a wide range of products and services in one location for the benefit of our customers.”
It’s thought that the new site, once it’s fully operational by the end of March, will generate around $7 million of investment for the region.
We are innovating to help our customers to understand and control their energy use, helping them to save money and cut carbon emissions.
Centrica is deeply conscious of the cost-of-living challenge facing many of our customers, and we are fully committed to tackling climate change. This is why we have been working to explore pathways for future UK energy policy to 2030 and beyond that are both sustainable and affordable.
Securing long-term affordable energy supplies for our customers is a driving force for how we do business.
British Gas provides gas and power supplies to almost half of Britain's homes. The UK energy sector is facing significant challenges and we are committed to providing greater transparency in order to build trust with our stakeholders.
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Opinion piece in The Times by Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of Centrica
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Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive, Centrica
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