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BP and Shell shares hit lowest level in 25 years 

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bp and shell shares hit lowest level in 25 years

Shares in BP and Shell crashed to 25-year lows as oil prices fell.

The two energy supermajors saw their shares sink as the price of Brent crude dropped back below $40 per barrel.

BP was down 3.1 per cent, or 7p, to 218.2p, and Shell fell 3.5 per cent, or 32.9p, to 907.3p – levels not seen since 1995.

Share slump: BP was down 3.1 per cent, or 7p, to 218.2p, and Shell fell 3.5 per cent, or 32.9p, to 907.3p ¿ levels not seen since 1995

Share slump: BP was down 3.1 per cent, or 7p, to 218.2p, and Shell fell 3.5 per cent, or 32.9p, to 907.3p – levels not seen since 1995

Fears are growing over a rising number of coronavirus cases globally and what that could mean for energy demand.

Oil prices have been hit badly during the crisis, as car usage, international travel and cruise holidays ground to a halt.

That has hammered demand and led to huge oversupply in the market, sending Brent tumbling from around $70 at the start of the year.

And traders have been spooked again in recent days as social distancing restrictions have been announced in European countries, including the UK.

Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at The Price Futures Group, said: ‘The oil market can’t shake its demand fear funk.’

On top of the pandemic’s impact, prices are also being dragged lower by oversupply from countries in the Opec cartel. 

Supply from those countries increased by 160,000 barrels per day from August to September, a Reuters survey found.

The difficult times – coupled with a growing shift towards greener energy sources – have prompted BP to slash 10,000 jobs this year while Shell is axing up to 9,000.

BP has also cut capital spending by 25 per cent to bolster its finances and Shell cut its dividend for the first time since the Second World War.

Shell earlier this year booked a £17bn writedown on the value of its assets because of the pandemic. 

It expects Brent crude prices of $50 a barrel by 2022 and $60 by 2023, underlying how long industry figures expect the recovery will take.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Just 1% of DfT vehicles are electric and seven in ten are DIESELS

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just 1 of dft vehicles are electric and seven in ten are diesels

Fingers are being pointed at the Government for not setting the right example when it comes to switching to cleaner vehicles after an investigation revealed that just one per cent of the Department for Transport’s fleet are electric.

Of the 1,525 vehicles it currently uses, only 22 are pure electric models.

Incredibly, 1,328 of the department’s motors – which represents 87 per cent of the fleet – are diesels, despite the Government trying to force drivers out of these cars due to their ‘dirty’ connotations.

DfT not leading the way for switch to EVs: Just 22 of the department's 1,525 fleet of vehicles are battery electric models, according to a new investigation

DfT not leading the way for switch to EVs: Just 22 of the department's 1,525 fleet of vehicles are battery electric models, according to a new investigation

DfT not leading the way for switch to EVs: Just 22 of the department’s 1,525 fleet of vehicles are battery electric models, according to a new investigation

The statistics have been divulged by Air Quality News, which submitted a Freedom of Information request to the DfT to discover how clean its fleet currently is. 

Of the remaining 1,525 motors registered to the department, only 43 are petrol and 134 are hybrids.

Of the five association bodies as part of the DfT, the Government Car Service has the most pure electric models, with 18 out of 92 motors (20 per cent).

That compares to the Maritime & Coast Guard Agency having zero, with 99 per cent of its fleet being diesels (the remainder are petrol powered).

BREAKDOWN OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT’S VEHICLE FLEET 
Name of association body Pure electric vehicles Hybrid vehicles Petrol vehicles Diesel vehicles
Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) 2 9 0 21
Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) 1 97 8 779
Government Car Service 18 26 28 20
Maritime & Coast Guard Agency (MCA) 0 0 7 503
Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) 1 2 0 3
Total 22 134 43 1,326
Source: Air Quality News FOI request to the Department of Transport

The breakdown of its fleet and obvious reliance of diesel is likely to spark anger among private vehicle owners and the motor sector in light of the Government’s five-year crackdown on oil burners since the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal.

With diesel being coined the ‘dirty’ fuel type, after it was revealed in 2015 that some VW Group models were producing almost 40 times the legal level of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, ministers have since increased taxation on cars with diesel engines.

This ‘demonisation’ of diesel has also seen tougher restrictions on their use in city centres, with only the latest models adhering to Euro6 emission standards eligible for the Ultra Low Emissions Zone in London and Clean Air Zones being proposed by other cities around the country from next year.

Some councils have also proposed introducing bans on the use of older – or all – diesel cars in their areas in a bid to reduce air pollution.

Free entry to the Ultra Low Emission Zone is only available to the latest diesel cars meeting Euro6 emission standards

Free entry to the Ultra Low Emission Zone is only available to the latest diesel cars meeting Euro6 emission standards

Free entry to the Ultra Low Emission Zone is only available to the latest diesel cars meeting Euro6 emission standards 

Numerous cities have proposed localised or central bans on diesel cars as part of efforts to reduce air pollution

Numerous cities have proposed localised or central bans on diesel cars as part of efforts to reduce air pollution

Numerous cities have proposed localised or central bans on diesel cars as part of efforts to reduce air pollution

As a result of these measures, demand for diesel cars has plummeted in recent years.

At the height of their popularity – when the government was promoting oil burners for their lower carbon emissions – diesel made up around half of all new cars bought in the UK.

Latest industry figures show that just 14 per cent of new cars bought in September 2020 were diesels.

This has also sent the value of diesel models crashing, especially for owners living in cities, as buyers of second-hand vehicles shun them in favour of used petrol, hybrid or electric cars.

Just 14% of new cars registered in September 2020 were diesels. Five years earlier, diesel cars made up around half of all new vehicles bought

Just 14% of new cars registered in September 2020 were diesels. Five years earlier, diesel cars made up around half of all new vehicles bought

Just 14% of new cars registered in September 2020 were diesels. Five years earlier, diesel cars made up around half of all new vehicles bought

Department for Transport’s fuel type share across its fleet

Diesel: 87%

Hybrid: 9%

Petrol: 3%

Electric: 1%

Source: Air Quality News 

The results of the investigation also show that the government has made little progress in leading from the front for a switch to low-emissions cars. 

In 2018, ministers pledged that a quarter of central government vehicles would be electric by 2022. 

That would require the Department for Transport to increase its electric car fleet from 22 to 381 in the next two years.

The Government said its entire fleet would be 100 per cent electric in 2030, which is just five years before the proposed ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars is widely expected to be enforced.

The Department for Transport listed its hybrid cars as ultra-low-emission vehicles, despite research suggesting they are two-and-a-half times more polluting than official figures suggest

The Department for Transport listed its hybrid cars as ultra-low-emission vehicles, despite research suggesting they are two-and-a-half times more polluting than official figures suggest

The Department for Transport listed its hybrid cars as ultra-low-emission vehicles, despite research suggesting they are two-and-a-half times more polluting than official figures suggest

Air Quality News said the incredibly lower number of electric cars in the DfT fleet is ‘particularly concerning’ given that road transport is – according to research –  responsible for 80 per cent of NOx emissions. 

It said the DfT had labelled its hybrid-powered cars as ‘ultra low emission vehicles’, as part of efforts to deceive onlookers about the eco credentials of its fleet.

However, studies by environmental campaign groups revealed earlier this year that hybrid cars aren’t as clean as they are being advertised.

Carbon dioxide emissions from plug-in hybrid vehicles – also known as PHEVs – are an average of two-and-a-half times higher than official tests indicate, joint analysis by Greenpeace and Transport & Environment found.

They claimed a typical PHEV emits 117g of CO2 per kilometre on the road, compared with the 44g suggested in official measurements conducted in laboratory conditions.  

The results of the investigation also show that the government has made little progress in leading from the front for a switch to low-emissions cars

The results of the investigation also show that the government has made little progress in leading from the front for a switch to low-emissions cars

The results of the investigation also show that the government has made little progress in leading from the front for a switch to low-emissions cars

Commenting on the DfT’s fleet, Transport & Environment UK director Greg Archer said it had ‘a mountain to climb’ to hit its 2022 targets and said it should be ‘leading the shift to clean vehicles, not hanging on to the past’. 

In response to the Air Quality News report, a DfT spokesman said: ‘We’re committed to transitioning to cleaner, greener vehicles across government, which is why almost half of the Department for Transport’s Government Car Service fleet are ultra-low emission vehicles and why we’re working to increase the number of green vehicles in the fleet as quickly as possible.

‘Central government is working at pace to transition a quarter of its fleet to electric by 2022 and all cars to electric by 2030 and are supporting the UK’s shift to electric vehicles.’

SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING

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Utilita to pay £500,000 in compensation after overcharging 40,000 customers

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utilita to pay 500000 in compensation after overcharging 40000 customers

Challenger energy provider Utilita has agreed to pay £500,000 in compensation after it overcharged almost 40,000 customers.

Ofgem, the industry watchdog, said prepayment customers were overcharged by a total of more than £125,000.

Pre-payment customers are some of the most vulnerable as they are often those who struggle to pay their energy bills.  

Ofgem said the affected customers have now been refunded by Utilita and will also receive at least £10 in a goodwill payment as part of the compensation package. 

Utilita has agreed to pay £500,000 in compensation to customers after it overcharged them

Utilita has agreed to pay £500,000 in compensation to customers after it overcharged them

Utilita has agreed to pay £500,000 in compensation to customers after it overcharged them

A further payment of £140 will also be made to around 900 Utilita customers who applied to the supplier for the Government’s Warm Home Discount scheme but were unsuccessful.

An additional £45,000 will be paid into Ofgem’s Voluntary Redress Fund as part of the £500,000 payout.

The regulator said its investigations found around 6,600 prepayment customers were overcharged by a total of £22,700 over the prepayment price cap.

Meanwhile, around 33,000 customers were overcharged by a total of £105,000 over what they should have paid under their advertised energy tariff.

Utilita reported itself to the regulator for mistakenly overcharging customers between May and September 2019.

Bill Bullen, Utilita’s CEO, said: ‘I would like to apologise unreservedly to all customers who were temporarily out of pocket. I am sorry that we did not issue prompt refunds during the period in question.

‘We know we can always improve and will always take on board criticism of any legitimate failings. 

‘Ofgem made it clear that the overcollection was caused by our failure to carry out an administrative process that corrected the temporary overcollection.

‘I can reassure customers that the issue was not with the tariff itself, which was confirmed to be in accordance with the cap.’

Suppliers cannot charge prepayment meter customers more than the level of the cap, which ensures they pay a fair price for their energy.

Ofgem sets the level of the cap and monitors suppliers’ compliance to make sure they do not charge customers more than the level of the cap.

Thousands of households found they were overcharged by Utilita, a challenger supplier

Thousands of households found they were overcharged by Utilita, a challenger supplier

Thousands of households found they were overcharged by Utilita, a challenger supplier

Cathryn Scott, director of enforcement and emerging issues at Ofgem, said: ‘Ofgem closely monitors suppliers’ compliance with the price cap, which ensures consumers pay a fair price for their energy.

‘This case sends a message to all suppliers that Ofgem will intervene if they charge customers above the level of the cap or above advertised tariffs.

‘It also shows that, where appropriate, Ofgem is prepared to work with suppliers who have failed to comply with their obligations but who have self-reported and are willing to put things right quickly.’

Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at Uswitch, added: ‘Utilita’s overcharging affected almost 40,000 prepayment customers, a group which includes vulnerable people.

‘While the amounts overcharged would likely have been relatively small for most, it’s really important that customers have confidence their supplier is charging them accurately.

‘It is positive to see that Utilita has agreed to pay £500,000 in redress, and will compensate all affected customers. In particular, focusing payments towards customers likely in the most vulnerable circumstances.

‘Utilita has now refunded affected customers. But any customer who believes they may have been affected but have not heard from Utilita should contact the supplier.’ 

The energy price cap, introduced by Ofgem, was launched in January 2019 as a way of keeping down the cost for households across the UK.

It is currently set at £1,042 for standard variable tariff customers whilst the savings are bigger for prepayment meter customers whose bills are capped at £1,069.

Suppliers are not allowed to charge above the cap but they can offer cheaper deals for savvy customers.

Recently it was revealed the cap has been extended will remain in place until the end of 2021 when the level will be reviewed.

However, customers stuck on pricey tariffs are encouraged to use price comparison services to see if they could save money by switching to a different supplier or move to a fixed tariff, which are typically much cheaper than default options.

Could you cut your energy bills… or help the planet and go green? 

Millions of people could be needlessly overpaying for their energy as they fail to switch to providers who offer cheaper deal.

They may also be missing out on the opportunity to help the planet and fight climate change, by switching to green deals that offer electricity from renewable sources and more environmentally-friendly gas.

With our partner, Compare the Market, you can compare energy tariffs and exclusive deals.

Why not find out if you could save hundreds of pounds a year on your energy or go green?

>> Check to see if you can start saving money now

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Starling and Monzo top the charts for current account switches

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starling and monzo top the charts for current account switches

The number of people swapping current accounts between July and September using the official switch service rose almost two-fifths on the previous three months, data shows.

136,575 switches took place during the latest three month period as banks brought back three-figure welcome bonuses which had vanished over the coronavirus lockdown.

With only 98,192 people switching during the first three months of lockdown, several high street banks have since begun re-offering cash incentives in a bid to entice new customers.

Lockdown winner: Starling Bank managed to bag the most amount of switching customers, while losing the least between April and June, data shows

Lockdown winner: Starling Bank managed to bag the most amount of switching customers, while losing the least between April and June, data shows

Lockdown winner: Starling Bank managed to bag the most amount of switching customers, while losing the least between April and June, data shows

NatWest and HSBC are currently incentivising new customers to switch with a £125 switch offer. 

RBS and Lloyds Bank meanwhile are similarly teasing new customers with a £100 incentive.

The switching service revealed that while the number of switchers grew in the summer, more people switched in January and March pre-pandemic, than the six month period afterwards. 

Andrew Hagger, from the personal finance site Moneycomms, said: ‘Between April and June the numbers of people switching dropped off a cliff but this data shows that it’s starting to pick up again.

‘When you think of the 113,000 people who switched in March alone this year, it’s clear we are a long way from normal.

‘People have a lot more to worry about at the moment so switching bank account is probably not that high on the list of priorities, but with more banks beginning to offer incentives that could change.’ 

The move for banks to reintroduce bribes comes after the digital smartphone banks won the switching battle between April and June, the most up-to-date figures its provides. 

That means we’ll have a clearer picture in the next set of figures as to just how important these incentives are to snag customers.  

Monzo and Starling winning switching customers is key for the challengers, as they battle to get people to use it as their main current account, rather than just a secondary one. 

Starling proved the most popular. It gained 12,786 customers and lost just 788.

Although more customers switched to Nationwide, Britain’s biggest building society also saw 6,270 switch away from it between April and June. 

Online and mobile banking offerings and better customer service were reported as the most common reasons why customers would switch bank accounts, rather than upfront welcome bonuses.

This is potentially one reason why Monzo and Starling continue to perform strongly and steal customers away from the established banks.

Which banks gained the most customers during lockdown?

Bank:                  Gains:                          Losses:                     Gains per loss:   

Starling             12,786                        788                            16.2

Monzo               12,788                        1,395                         9.17

Nationwide      16,353                       6,270                        2.61

Natwest            12,350                       8,216                         1.50

RBS                     1,601                          1,373                          1.17 

Jon Ostler, chief executive of the personal finance comparison site Finder, said: ‘The lack of switching incentives from the big banks over lockdown is a likely explanation as to why digital-only banks take the top two positions for net gains.’

Ostler added, that the parity between current account offerings during lockdown gives a more natural indication of consumer preference. 

He believes that although Monzo and Starling will be delighted with the top two spots, both now face a challenge from the main high street banks whose switching incentives have historically driven up their customer numbers at the expense of others.

With the news on Tuesday that HSBC could begin charging for current accounts people may be incentivised in future months to switch just to avoid losing money.

John Crossley, head of money at Compare the Market, said: ‘If the demise of free current accounts becomes a reality this may further increase the numbers switching.

‘Customers deserve easy access to their finances and value for money, and the increase in switching in the most recent quarter suggests that many people are dissatisfied with their current provider and voting with their feet.’  

The two banks which performed the worst were Santander and Halifax, two providers that until recently regularly topped the charts.

Santander lost a net 12,532 customers and Halifax 10,019. Santander and its 123 current have seen a number of perk cuts in recent years, including some this week which saw change in cashback terms.  

Who did best in 2019?

With switching data for individual banks now available for all 12 months of 2019, here are the banks which gained the most switchers last year:

– Nationwide Building Society – ‭105,157‬

– HSBC – ‭63,635‬

– Monzo – ‭63,164‬


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THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST CURRENT ACCOUNTS

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