ENIRGY - be informed

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Electricity prices need to be viewed not just in a local context but against charges in other countries and of course how they change over time. Charts and graphs like pictures are often worth a thousand words. At a glance they can reveal whether trends are either positive or negative. While the figures here will be updated, there is often a long lag between adjustment of prices and their appearance in official international statistics.
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Energy issues facing us in 2020

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A new decade doesn’t necessarily usher in a new era but as far as energy is concerned 2020 is set to be the start of a revolution in how we heat our homes, travel to work and transport our goods. Driving the change is a UK Government commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, an objective we w...

A new opportunity to cut electricity bills

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The domestic electricity market has been getting more competitive

A new keenly priced tariff has been launched by Budget Energy called Bill Pay Budget Advantage.
At first glance though it doesn’t look much of a draw. The headline rate is not...

Central heating costs update

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If you’ve switched from oil to natural gas recently, you should be feeling pleased with yourself. 
Since I last looked at the annual cost of centrally heating a house, the gap between the price of the two fuels has widened from £75 to £155. This is largely due to an incr...

Help shape new NI energy strategy urge Stormont officials

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The process of replacing Northern Ireland’s out of date energy strategy has taken another step forward.
An appeal to energy professionals, academics and consumer representatives for ideas to help inform and shape a new energy framework has been launched by the Departmen...

Protecting against price rise risks with a fixed rate tariff

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Should you take the opportunity to fix the price of your electricity tariff? The option is there thanks to Budget Energy. Their Keypad Budget Advantage deal allows customers who pre pay their power bills the chance to lock down the unit rate for a year.  For households u...

Rise in sales of electric and hybrid cars

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We’ve been in the slow lane as far as the take up of electric and hybrid cars is concerned but are now beginning to pick up speed. The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) released to enirgy.info show that combined sales of battery electric vehicles, plug-in...

Cheapest way to heat your home

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What is the cheapest way to heat your home? I’ve been comparing four fuels which over the years have been commonly used for central heating. The current league leader by a small margin is coal in the form of anthracite grains or beans which can been loaded into a gravity fed boiler. T...

Searching for the cheapest electricity supply

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Looking for the cheapest electricity supply should be simple. You check what each company is charging keypad and credit customers for a unit of electricity and, depending on what service you want, you make your choice accordingly. 
But the selection of the best value deals h...

Need for more transparency on costs

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Should we be concerned about the price increases in the domestic electricity market which have just taken place? Most were quite modest varying from around six to eight per cent. In cash terms from £32 to £44 a year. That’s less than a pound a week, a figure which many households could ...

Searching for the best value electricity deals

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What should you be looking out for with the new tariffs?Obviously the unit rate is very important and the more electricity you use the more important it becomes. But many rates are banded within a narrow range from 17.5 pence to 18.5 pence. So a key thing to look out for is wha...

How green is my supplier

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Click Energy emerges as the greenest domestic supplier in Northern Ireland. Each megawatt hour of power it supplies has 115 kg of carbon content. Second is SSE Airtricity with a carbon content of 295kg 
Suppliers have been able to offer less environmentally damaging power beca...

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Can you really save money from switching your electricity supplier? The answer is yes but it may take a bit of effort.
The reason that choosing the best deal has become more challenging is that most of the effective unit rates currently on offer are in a narrow band bet...

Power Shock

The cost of electricity is rising again. Power NI has just announced a six per cent increase in its tariff. The hike, when it comes into effect at the beginning of October, will add around £35 a year to the average customer's bill.

It follows two previous increases by Power NI:...

Price jolt

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Hopes of a cut in electricity prices this autumn are crumbling away. In fact it’s distinctly possible that when the current review of costs is complete, the regulated tariff which is offered by Power NI may go up instead of down. 
This is surprising ...

The incredible shrinking domestic energy usage

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This article could be subtitled; why your energy bills have been falling even when there was no movement in the cost of gas and electricity. 
Ten years ago, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) , the average home here, not...

Cutting your power bill

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New electricity tariffs came into force on Monday. One supplier hiked its prices by over 18%. So which companies are now offering the best deals. 
It’s not an easy calculation given the introduction of standing charges last summer by Budget Energy. ...

Marketing lesson for energy suppliers

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The quarterly reports on gas and electricity customer numbers from the Utility Regulator are normally low on surprises. This supplier has attracted a few more consumers. That one has lost some. It’s not quite a snores fest but hardly riveting reading.

Faster drying with plain sawn wood

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A fortnight ago I asked if we have been chopping up logs the wrong way if we accept that the right method would leave the wood in a state where it will dry more efficiently.
The most common technique, which I have used myself, is the the quarter sawn method which as the name ...

Solar shines brightly

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Until relatively recently talk of large scale renewable generation in Northern Ireland meant wind farms. Turbines not only dominated the landscape, they made up the vast bulk of green power capacity.
Wind still predominates but solar power is beginning to assert itself. In re...

Is NIE likely to appeal its price control?

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Will NIE Networks reject the price control announced by the Energy Regulator just before the weekend and appeal the matter to the Competition and Markets Authority?
The Regulator cut the amount of Capex and Opex that the company, a subsidiary of ESB, had wanted to spend over ...

Mild winter helps to lower wholesale energy prices

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Wholesale energy prices here fell by nearly 18% in February as increased imports into the UK of LNG combined with mild weather continued to push prices downwards. However, the Vayu Energy Report shows that despite this substantial drop wholesale prices are still well up on a year ago.&n...

Gas price hike could have been greater

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The announcement of a 7.6% increase in the cost of gas for homes and small businesses in Belfast comes after a surge in the wholesale cost of fossil fuels on world markets.
The new tariff which has been approved by the Energy Regulator takes effect on the first of April...

Gas price hike prediction

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Gas prices are being reviewed by the Energy Regulator and the new tariffs when they're announced will kick in at the beginning of April

We’ll know soon enough what the new costs will be but for what it’s worth here’s my prediction. It’s a very rough and ready calculation.

An energy firm to watch

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The company which spotted that the wholesale cost of power went negative one morning last month is probably the most interesting Irish energy firm you’ve never heard of. Electroroute reported that for three half hour periods on December 9, suppliers were being paid to take electricity off the g...

World breakthrough for Ireland's grid operators

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It’s one thing for wind farms to be able to generate large amounts of  electricity but it’s another being able to manage those volumes of intermittent energy on the network.That is the huge challenge the two grid operators on the island, including SONI here in Belfast, have been...

Power at 5 pence a unit but not here

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Households across the water are to be offered the chance to buy electricity at just 5 pence a unit. Admittedly the rock bottom price from Green Energy is only available between the hours of 11pm and 6 am.
For most of the time, customers will pay 12 pence which is stil...

Market loses supplier after wholesale price rise

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When Open Electric went into administration last Thursday it was the end of the road for the small Belfast based company.
Their supply licence was revoked which meant they could not continue to sell electricity. Their 1,100 customers have been transferred to Power NI.

Regulator plays down role of exports in power price surge

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 The Energy Regulator has rejected a claim that exports of electricity to Great Britain have been a major cause in driving up the wholesale cost of power here.
In a note to enirgy.info detailing the background to the recent rise in prices, the Regulator says sales to GB have ...

Enquiry needed into rising cost of power

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Since it first became clear that the wholesale price of electricity had markedly shifted upwards, explanations have been offered to explain the change.
Just to recap: the wholesale cost of power has been around £30 a MWh or 3 pence a kWh for many months. But in recent weeks i...

Need to redo numbers for N/S Interconnector

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There’s one clear message coming through about the North South Interconnector. If the power link isn’t built, the lights may very well go out. Both the Energy Regulator and the company which operates the electricity system have issued statements to that effect. Anyone who reads or listens to th...

Electric shock

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For those who keep an eye on the cost of energy, recent developments in the wholesale markets have raised a few eyebrows. Oil, gas and now electricity have been rising sharply in price.
For much of this year the wholesale price* of a unit of electricity remained around three ...

Confused and contradictory energy policy

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On those days when the sun is shining but the wind isn’t blowing, our wind turbines sit idle.At ten thirty this morning wind farms were meeting just two per cent of our electricity demand. Filling the gap have been generators burning gas but also coal. Kilroot Power Station which use...

How big is the heating oil industry

How big is Northern Ireland’s heating oil market? As far as I know there are no official figures but on the basis of some national energy statistics, it’s possible to make a reasonable guess.
Across the UK on average 1,970,000 tonnes of so called burning oil is consumed...

Smart thinking about power

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Now that Stormont has put smart metering on the long finger, is there another way for consumers to catch up with the rest of the UK, help manage demand for electricity more efficiently and most importantly get rewarded for their co-operation?
The solution may well lie i...

No plan to compensate N/S Interconnector homes equally

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It’s emerged there is no plan to offer homes along the Northern Ireland section of the proposed North South Interconnector the same compensation as their counterparts in the Republic. The General Manager of SONI, the body which operates the electricity system here, told members of the Wes...

No plan to compensate N/S Interconnector homes equally

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It’s emerged there is no plan to offer homes along the Northern Ireland section of the proposed North South Interconnector the same compensation as their counterparts in the Republic.
The General Manager of SONI, the body which operates the electricity system here, told membe...

UK tops diesel price league

UK drivers suffer the highest diesel prices in the European Union. The average cost of a litre in July was 112. 7 pence. The lowest price was in Luxembourg at 77.7 pence per litre.
The high UK diesel prices are mainly due to taxes. These made up nearly 70 per cent of th...

New Belfast power station to reduce blackout risk?

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Evermore Energy, the company behind the proposed 400 MW gas fired power plant in the Belfast Harbour Estate, has told an influential House of Commons committee that it intends to be operating commercially by 2019 subject to planning and financing.
In a statement to the ...

Phew! what a scorcher

For those who believe that climate change is now under control, there was a timely warning last week from Copernicus, the EU’s earth monitoring service.
Copernicus revealed that July was the hottest month the world has seen since records began in the nineteenth century....

NIE's electric bill

NIE has announced it wants to invest around half a billion pounds in its network. The proposed expenditure, if approved by the Energy Regulator, would take place from 2017 onwards. 
Over half the money is earmarked for a renewal of assets. NIE makes the c...

Plan to abolish price control for small business electricity market

The Energy Regulator is proposing to remove the price control which covers the supply of electricity to small businesses. Currently Power NI’s tariff for companies using up to 50 MWh a year has to be approved by the Regulator. The supplier has argued that switching is now frequent enough in thi...

Want some electricity? The bill is on me.

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Not just free electricity. It’s even better than that. Across the water on Sunday May 8, according to energy data company @enappsys, generators paid more than £30 a MWh to be relieved of unwanted power. It’s not the first time this has happened and the phenomenon is set to become more common.

Energy market generating new stories

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Perhaps it was the sunny weather but whatever the reason, there was quite a lot of energy news this week. And most of it was positive.
Topping the list was the revelation that the same brothers who have created a biomass power plant at Lisahally in Derry are p...

Renewables expansion fails to stop greenhouse gas growth in Ireland

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Despite an expanding renewables energy sector, total energy related emissions of carbon dioxide in the Irish Republic rose last year by almost four per cent compared with the previous year. In the UK emissions fell by just under three per cent. There is no separate figure for Northern Ireland.

Energy installer creates over 30 jobs

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Heating and renewable energy installer, CTS Projects, has announced the creation of 32 new jobs in the last 18 months, almost doubling employee numbers to a total of 70. The company, which is headquartered in Warrenpoint, has generated the employment as a result of wi...

Wholesale gas prices to fall even further says Vayu

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Wholesale gas prices have fallen by 40 per cent over the course of the last twelve months according to the latest Wholesale Energy Market Report published by Vayu Energy. The company which recently announced an expansion into Northern Ireland put the collapse in prices down to abundant supplies...

Power to the people

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High demand for low cost electricity has prompted an energy co-operative to launch another round of its programme to install solar panels free of charge for charities and community organisations.
Almost 40 bodies have already expressed an interest in the solar energy pr...

Green energy accolade for Housing Executive manager

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Longstanding Housing Executive manager Noel Rice has picked up the top prize at the Annual Action Renewables Association Awards 2016. He beat off tough competition to win the Outstanding Award for Work in the Renewable Energy Sector.

Here's the assessment of Noel's role presented to gues...

Why regulation is good for you (in a falling market)

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New figures just out add weight to the belief that a combination of price regulation and competition in the electricity market can work better for consumers than competition on its own. 
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has released...

Should all power suppliers publish their pricing for small businesses?

The investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority into the energy supply market in Great Britain unsurprisingly attracted virtually no attention here. That’s understandable. Most of what was said only applies to a market we don’t participate in and which is run on different principles. A...

Can the cost of power fall much further?

While electricity prices these days never present a static picture thanks to the entry of new suppliers, the landscape should be clearer when Power NI’s price cut comes into effect on Thursday, April 1.
The company, which still retains the loyalty of three in four of th...

Record renewable power production

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Last year just over 25% of electricity consumption in Northern Ireland was generated from renewable sources based. That’s an increase of 6.4% on the previous12 months and is the highest rolling 12 month proportion on record. The vast bulk of green electricity produced in 2015 - just over 90% - ...

Funding for Fair Head?

Fair Head Tidal say their planned 100 MW turbine installation off the North Antrim coast will produce enough power to satisfy the demands of 70,000 homes.
What this implies is that the turbines will have about a 25% efficiency which is comparable to the output of w...

Lower prices for gas and electricity

The cost of gas and electricity is set to fall as regulated suppliers review their costs.

Power NI started to examine its tariff before Christmas. It's understood that the company which has over half a million domestic customers will announce its new prices in February. They will come into ef...

Savings for oil buyers

Many of our least well off households have been able to buy energy supplies this winter at discount prices thanks to the rapid expansion of oil buying clubs.
There are now 27 such clubs in Northern Ireland with over 1,700 members. 
Since la...

Turbines, toasters and televisions

The newly approved Cam Burn wind farm near Aghadowey will produce enough electricity to light up and power all the devices in 7,900 homes. That’s the claim by developer TCI Renewables. How do they work that out?
They start off with the installed capacity of the win...

Pulling the plug on renewables

When I first started to compose my thoughts for this article on renewable energy, there was still a hope that the Department of Energy and Climate Change in London would cut us some slack on support for new onshore wind farms. It wasn’t a big ask. Letting the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme r...

Pricing power

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A question I’m often asked is: why does electricity here cost so much? My response is that it could be worse. If we paid similar rates of VAT on energy as other countries, prices would be substantially higher. As it is, the cost of power for consumers is a bit over the average for EU countries ...

Lawyer proposes all island renewable energy policy

A leading energy lawyer here has called for an island regime to support renewable energy. 

Richard Murphy of Pinsent Masons made the recommendation at the Northern Ireland Energy Forum held in Belfast on Sept 10. He said mirroring legislation from England & Wales had led to a sc...

Wholesale cost of energy drops to new low

The firmus Energy Index touched a new low in July as world markets continue to be swamped by a surplus of oil. The Index, which tracks wholesale fuel prices in Northern Ireland, dropped to 74. That’s the lowest figure recorded since the benchmark was launched over five years ago. 

£8 million a year to keep NIRO going?

The Department of Energy and Climate Change is planning to close one year early the Renewable Obligations (RO) support scheme for onshore wind turbines. DETI has said it will keep the scheme open here until 2017 but hasn’t revealed the bill that we will incur if we have to meet the cost from ou...

Wholesale energy prices near six year low

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Continuing weakness last month in the global oil market has moved the firmus Energy Index close to a six year low. The widely regarded measure of Northern Ireland wholesale fuel costs fell by four per cent to stand at 84 in June. 
Oil prices had been recovering rec...

New energy suppliers to break the mould?

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Three new energy suppliers are set to make their presence felt over the next few months.
Belfast based Open Electric has already declared its hand. It is building its appeal partly on a willingness to share its profits with consumers
Managing Di...

Energy efficiency programme given an extension

The Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme (NISEP) is to be extended for another year. It will continue until March 2017, the Energy Regulator has decided   NISEP is focused on improving energy efficiency with most of the effort directed towards vulnerable hou...

Launch of new electricity supplier

New energy supplier Open Electric has launched itself into Northern Ireland's competitive domestic electricity market with an offer which it claims differentiates itself from its rivals.   The Belfast-based company, which ...

Electricity suppliers suspect tampering of 5000 meters

The scale of electricity meter tampering has been disclosed in a consultation document issued by the Energy Regulator. It appears that energy suppliers suspect around 5,000 meters are being interfered with. The extent of the losses from the theft involved has not been revealed. However it's ...

Oil price hike pushes up wholesale energy costs

An increase in the price of oil during April lifted the firmus energy Index to 91. Month on month the cost of a barrel rose 17 per cent. Oil is more expensive now than at any time since the start of January. However, the overall cost of energy remains well below the average level of the past ...

Wholesale energy prices dropping again

Rises in wholesale fuel prices in February have almost entirely reversed during March. The firmus energy Index dropped ten per cent last month to finish at 82, just above the mark it reached in January 2015.   The strengthening of the world’s main currency paradoxical...

Curb on Green Power

A new discussion paper issued by DETI reveals the profound impact that reform of the electricity market across the UK will have on the renewable energy industry in Northern Ireland. Don’t be misled by its bland title: CFD Implementation in NI–Strategic issues. This document contains lots t...

New tariffs compared

Now that the electricity suppliers have announced their new tariffs, who is offering the cheapest deals? I have used the new estimate of average consumption which is 3200 kWh a year.  Standard default tariff which is the most expensive option Budget Energy     ...

Price puzzle

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The cost of gas, which is the main fuel used by power stations, has dropped year on year by about 20%. So why is the price of electricity coming down by just 5% as evidenced by the Budget Energy announcement? Put plainly, wholesale fuel costs are a significant component of the bills ...

SSE Airtricity changes its tariff

In about a month’s time the Energy Regulator will announce a new electricity tariff for Power NI. Before that happens SSE Airtricity has moved to adjust some of its key rates.  Two year contract deals are being revised. They now offer up to ten cent off the standard unit rate...

Local energy firms rated by Which

Budget Energy has emerged on top in a customer satisfaction survey conducted by consumer organisation Which. The North West based electricity supplier scored 61 points, significantly ahead of its rivals.  Gas supplier Firmus came second with 53 followed by SSE Airtricity on 5...

Price comparison websites facing reforms

 The Energy Regulator across the water has brought in reforms to ensure that customers checking tariffs on price comparison sites get the full picture. Among the key reforms introduced by Ofgem: Banning a default partial view. Sites must show all tariffs available in t...

Virtual power station

You probably haven’t heard of what is effectively Northern Ireland’s fourth biggest power station and you’ve certainly never seen it. And yet it’s been going for four years and and it exists all around you. With the capacity to deliver 74 MW iPower plays a key role in the ele...

Cutting energy prices

Why not now? If wholesale gas, oil and coal prices have already fallen, shouldn’t we be seeing lower domestic bills in January rather than having to wait until April when the winter will be over?
It looks like a good point but the fact is that one of the biggest reasons why t...

Cut your electricity bill

It is possible to make substantial savings on your power bill but you must be ready to switch, and switch again if your deal comes to an end and you move onto a much less attractive tariff, - all the time of course watching out for penalties for leaving early. The reductions are listed below and ...

Plugging the gap

The Energy Regulator has revealed more details about plans to make sure the lights don’t go out next January when US owned AES is forced to switch off 510 megawatts of capacity at its Ballylumford station in order to comply with EU rules on emissions.
The cost to homes of con...

Wholesale energy prices fall

The wholesale cost of energy here plunged ten per cent last month, as oil prices continued to slither downwards. The firmus energy index dropped to 98 - a new low in its five year history. 
Oil may not be the only fuel consumed in Northern Ireland but it is by far the mo...

Wholesale energy price index at four year low

After moving sideways for a couple of months, the wholesale cost of energy lurched downwards by six per cent in October. The firmus energy Index which monitors a basket of key prices in Northern Ireland dropped to 108, its lowest point in just over four years.


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is independently managed and funded. It receives no ‘click through’ fees or advertising revenue from the suppliers whose prices it compares. Research and analysis is provided by business journalist Jamie Delargy. more info