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Bulb Energy has gone pop

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Phil Pascoe

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From The Telegraph -


As the UK’s seventh-largest energy supplier, Bulb is too large for its customers to be passed on to a rival, leading the Government to effectively nationalise the firm through special administration.

This unprecedented intervention in the market will leave administrators running the business until a buyer is found, or another solution such as breaking its customer base into batches and parcelling them off to other suppliers. According to reports, asset manager Lazard has been drafted in to run an auction of Bulb.

But the gas wholesale market is still running hot and experts remain sceptical about whether anyone will come forward to take on what is left of the company - and its debts.
 

Richard_C

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The regulator has, this morning, applied to the Courts for a special administration order. Its a parallel process to appointing a receiver but in this case there is no winding up order.

The regulator says that current customers will have their supply and current contract prices honoured, so coming back to the original post, staying put seems to be a good choice especially if you are on a fixed price tariff.

I guess the regulator will have to find some ££, perhaps in the short term from the Treasury but in the longer term perhaps by an industry levy. Who knows. Whichever way, we all end up paying.
 

Richard_C

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Yep, just read that the Treasury has set aside 1.7 billion to cover costs to keep it going over winter.

I read it twice, billion. They must have run up some very big debts.
 

Jake

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I read it twice, billion. They must have run up some very big debts.
More that they operated on a super low cost (underhedged) basis and sold deals that they could not afford when the price spiked, and the Govt is now going to honour the deeply lossmaking contracts they struck with customers. Redistribution of a sort I guess.
 

Jonm

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Carbon capture is a pipe dream and is unlikely ever to be practicalSurely you should read a few of these articles first before dismissing them!Read a few of the articlesAgree.
I have looked at some articles but am unconvinced.

Here is what the Canadian pellet industry says

Here is an extract
Canada’s forest sector harvests less than one per cent of Canada’s commercial forests each year. The wood pellet sector uses only a tiny fraction of the harvest, totally less than 0.04 per cent of Canada’s annual forest harvest. However, pellet producers are using the portion of the forest – sawdust, shavings, harvest residues and low-quality logs – that has been rejected by the other traditional forest sectors – sawmills, pulp mills, and panel-board plants.

So the pellets are made from wood sawdust and shavings plus other wood not suitable for lumber, paper or boards. When the wood grew it took carbon out of the atmosphere, burning puts it back.

What would you do with this material. Compost it and produce methane which apparently is a worse greenhouse gas than co2. Stop cutting down the trees and do without wood, paper or boards. Replace all wood products and paper with plastic! That question needs to be answered by the critics of biomass.
 

Phil Pascoe

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There are huge plantations in the U.S. purpose grown for turning into pellets. They have stripped the places of natural undergrowth and native trees to do this, creating areas with next to no undergrowth so next to no birds and other wildlife. Drax apparently creates more pollution burning its twenty five million trees per annum than it did burning coal - I should have kept those articles but didn't.
 

Oakay

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Privatised utilities is a nonsense in my opinion. This may seem a socialist view but it should be possible for state-run utilities to be well run and overall done for less. Just think how much money would be saved by absense of marketing and duplicated administrative systems...but there is no ideal answer when governments are not fit to be trusted to run anything with integrity. Great Britain not any more.
 

Phil Pascoe

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it should be possible for state-run utilities to be well run ...

They never, ever were - that's why why they were privatised in the first place. They were run for the benefit of the people working in them not their customers.
 

Tris

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But is that any different from being run for the benefit of shareholders and foreign private equity firms?
 

Phil Pascoe

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Shareholders and equity firms need the companies to something like efficient or they don't make money. Nationalised industries - like British Leyland, for one - could be absolutely hopeless and lose money indefinitely knowing the government will always bail them out. Rail I suspect will lose money no matter what - it's a 19thC answer to a 20thC problem.
 

Oakay

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I have looked at some articles but am unconvinced.

Here is what the Canadian pellet industry says

Here is an extract
Canada’s forest sector harvests less than one per cent of Canada’s commercial forests each year. The wood pellet sector uses only a tiny fraction of the harvest, totally less than 0.04 per cent of Canada’s annual forest harvest. However, pellet producers are using the portion of the forest – sawdust, shavings, harvest residues and low-quality logs – that has been rejected by the other traditional forest sectors – sawmills, pulp mills, and panel-board plants.

So the pellets are made from wood sawdust and shavings plus other wood not suitable for lumber, paper or boards. When the wood grew it took carbon out of the atmosphere, burning puts it back.

What would you do with this material. Compost it and produce methane which apparently is a worse greenhouse gas than co2. Stop cutting down the trees and do without wood, paper or boards. Replace all wood products and paper with plastic! That question needs to be answered by the critics of biomass.
Basically the earth needs more trees and fewer people, but that is hard to achieve
it should be possible for state-run utilities to be well run ...

They never, ever were - that's why why they were privatised in the first place. They were run for the benefit of the people working in them not their customers.
So we should give up trying? No, I still think the ideal is well regulated government run systems, we simply need to try harder.
 

sploo

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Yep, just read that the Treasury has set aside 1.7 billion to cover costs to keep it going over winter.

I read it twice, billion. They must have run up some very big debts.
They've got ~1.7 million customers; so 1.7 billion is only a "cover" of £1000 per customer. Given the rise in the gas wholesale price that does seem like a realistic figure to cover the shortfall for a few months.
 

julianf

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People, I generally feel deliberately, get so confused with the concept of suppliers offering renewables only policies and the national grid.

Again, I feel this is generally deliberate rather than lack of understanding.

You're not paying for electrons. You're paying someone to push them.

The national grid is a "pipe" filled with identical indistinguishable electrons. They are pushed, ultimatly, by money, and the mechanics of that pushing is governed by where you push your money.

For someone to make the old comment about "green electron" filters on the householders electricity meter is basically a statement as to their (probably deliberate) inability to grasp larger concepts.

Again, ultimately the motive force is money, and where you direct that money controls the method by which that motive force is supplied.

It's really not a hard concept to grasp, if you're not trying to push your own agenda.
 

Jonm

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There are huge plantations in the U.S. purpose grown for turning into pellets. They have stripped the places of natural undergrowth and native trees to do this, creating areas with next to no undergrowth so next to no birds and other wildlife. Drax apparently creates more pollution burning its twenty five million trees per annum than it did burning coal - I should have kept those articles but didn't.
That may well be the case and I am not condoning it, but that is implementation. I cannot see anything wrong with the scenario claimed by the Canadians, namely that “the pellets are made from wood sawdust and shavings plus other wood not suitable for lumber, paper or boards. When the wood grew it took carbon out of the atmosphere, burning puts it back”.
 

Phil Pascoe

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For someone to make the old comment about "green electron" filters on the householders electricity meter is basically a statement as to their (probably deliberate) inability to grasp larger concepts.
They probably grasp larger concepts perfectly well. It was just an observation to make illustrate the idiocy of believing all your electricity comes from a renewable source. If you add up all the electricity used on a cold, windless night sold by companies promising 100% renewable it would easily outweigh all renewable electricity produced. What they would like to do and hope to do in the future has little to do with it.
 

Richard_C

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For someone to make the old comment about "green electron" filters on the householders electricity meter is basically a statement as to their (probably deliberate) inability to grasp larger concepts.
Yes, I'm really struggling with the concepts here. I really did think my meter had a green electron filter.

Can you please explain nice and simply for someone clearly as dim as me how it all works

Especially when you get to the bit about when total peak demand exceeds the total peak delivery from green sources. I'm not talking about the overall annual balance which I'm sure the green suppliers do their best to ensure is all green (or green-ish as the jury is out on biomass) . I'm pretty certain that at some times my supply won't be 100% green.

Anyway, over to you.....all a bit too complicated.

Also sticking with the semantics of your post, what's a "deliberate inability"? Surely inability is a state rather than a conscious choice. I'm fascinated.
 

Phil Pascoe

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Could we see your workings, please, so as we can look into this in more detail?
Several quite large companies advertise(d) 100% renewable, and on a windless night the amount of renewable electricity drops to a few percent. Where else does the electricity come from?
 

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