Top stories

1) Labour wants superpowered Ofgem to cut bills

Ed Miliband this weekend announced he would push to grant fresh powers to Ofgem that would enable it to force providers to slash bills as wholesale energy prices plummet, writes The Independent.

This proposal comes after a) George Osborne said he’d investigate whether consumers were benefiting from low energy prices and b) Big 6 energy companies told the government pre-election price cutting is “illogical and impractical” (reported by Sky News).

As the price cut conversation continues into 2015, small supplier Ecotricity is seeing the benefit of the perennial unpopularity of Big 6 providers — it almost doubled in size last year, reports Business Green.

A few months back, Energydesk did data-driven profiles of suppliers like Ecotricity which are disrupting the UK energy oligopoly.

Labour’s renewed push for cheaper energy bills comes as oil (and gas) continues to crash, with Goldman Sachs revising its yearly forecast downwards and predicting a huge drop in US shale operations, reports Bloomberg.

Consumers up in Birmingham might already be seeing savings, as The Daily Mail reports petrol prices at independent gas station Harvest Energy offers less than a pound per litre.

2) Oil companies in danger following price crash

UK oil operations – especially those in the North Sea – look to be afforded big tax breaks by government as the oil price collapse places the industry in mortal danger,reports The Telegraph.

Australian oil and gas companies could face credit rating downgrading, as Standard & Poor’s gave up on a return to energy price normality in 2015 and slashed next year’s forecast, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

And EON’s bold new strategy (late last year it split the business in two) could have left it more vulnerable to recent, extraordinary market fluctuations, reports the German press.

The way things are, industry specialists increasingly expect a major oil company to turn its back on fossil fuels, reports The Guardian.

Also in The Guardian, Stanford professors are lobbying for fossil fuel divestment.

Other (renewable) news:

Australian clean energy sector is “uninvestable” so long as there’s uncertainly over its renewable energy obligations, reports ABC.

US solar developer SunEdison is investing $4b in India, says the FT.

Research from America says marine energy could be cheaper than more mainstream renewables wind and solar, reports Business Green.

Vietnam’s booming hydro-power business is damaging its ecosystem and impacting its poorest citizens, reports The Economist.

And Scotland’s air pollution may be a “public health crisis”, says FoE via the BBC.