Yorkshire Energy is latest domestic supplier to run out of spark | Business News


Another of Britain’s retail energy groups is in emergency talks to avert its collapse, underlining the growing crisis in a sector facing a wave of bad debts because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sky News has learnt that Yorkshire Energy, which is understood to have roughly 75,000 gas and electricity customers, has been working with advisers to raise additional funding.

Sources said that while there remained an outside chance of the company securing new financial backing, Yorkshire Energy could be the latest supplier to have its customer base transferred to a larger rival.

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A price cap introduced by Ofgem has curbed bill hikes

Its board was understood to be meeting on Tuesday to discuss its options.

Yorkshire Energy launched just two-and-a-half years ago, one of dozens of start-ups in a market in which the biggest players were under fire for their pricing and poor customer service.

A price cap introduced by the regulator, Ofgem, has curbed the scale of price increases, but has also squeezed operators’ margins, with dozens disappearing from the market.

This year, local authority-owned suppliers including Bristol Energy and Nottingham’s Robin Hood Energy have seen their customer books absorbed by larger players in the UK market.

Last week, Ofgem said it was likely to lift the price cap, triggering an increase in average users’ bills by £21 next year, in order to protect companies against payment defaults.

Yorkshire Energy, which also supplies about 130,000 meter points, has been working with KPMG in recent weeks to find new investors.

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COVID-19: The economic virus

One insider said the company, which is privately owned and employs about 50 members of staff, could throw in the towel within days.

Yorkshire Energy declined to comment.



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Currency wars have been missing during this crisis, but it only takes a spark


Article content continued

“New governors often get themselves into trouble talking about the Canadian dollar,” Macklem told reporters on Sept. 10. “It’s appreciated a little bit less than some others,” he continued, responding to a question about what he thought about currency’s appreciation. “That is certainly something that we will take into account as we assess the amount of monetary stimulus required in the economy going forward.”

Exchange rates haven’t been an issue so far during the COVID-19 recession, because every major central bank has dropped interest rates to zero, eliminating easy opportunities for arbitrage. But, as time goes on and some economies begin to show more promise than others, exchange rates will probably re-emerge as a point of contention.

Gita Gopinath, chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, warned earlier this month that current conditions make “currency wars” a greater risk going forward. “When interest rates are near zero, monetary policy works to an important extent by weakening currencies to favour domestic producers,” she wrote in the Financial Times.

The Canadian dollar appears to have caught a tailwind lately, touching 77 US cents earlier this month, its highest level in a couple of years. Most Bay Street forecasters think that’s the ceiling for now, but National Bank’s chief economist, Stéfane Marion, broke from the pack this week with a prediction that a relatively generous fiscal stimulus and an improving economy would push the dollar to 80 US cents by this time in 2021.



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Storm activity, high pollen levels spark fears of thunderstorm asthma in Victoria


The Bureau of Meteorology says there is a “high risk” of thunderstorm asthma across parts of Victoria today, where a combination of high pollen levels, gusty winds, rain and thunderstorms are forecast.

The areas most at risk are in western Victoria. They include the Mallee, Wimmera, Northern Country and South West forecast districts.

The risk is moderate in the Central area, which includes Melbourne, and in the North Central, West and South Gippsland weather districts.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Richard Russell said anyone with hay fever could attest pollen levels were currently very high.

They usually peak for a six-week period beginning in November.

Mr Russell said the current high pollen levels, combined with potential thunderstorm activity in the west of the state, later moving east into central areas, could create a “low-end” severe weather event.

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The worst thunderstorm asthma event occurred in Melbourne in 2016, when more than 3,500 people presented at hospital emergency departments with symptoms of asthma.

Ten people died and the majority of those affected were young people.

In another event earlier this month, emergency departments in southern New South Wales saw a surge in cases, with more than a dozen people seen at emergency departments in the Riverina.

Not every storm triggers asthma

A severe thunderstorm warning is in place for north-western parts of Victoria as a slow-moving pressure trough crosses the state.

With that there could be damaging winds and heavy rainfall, the BOM warns.

A severe weather warning for damaging winds is also in place for elevated parts of the Central district into Gippsland and the North East forecast districts.

“The trough that is driving this is slowly moving eastwards and will reach central parts of the state in the late afternoon, including Melbourne in the early evening,” Mr Russell said.

“The biggest risk in Melbourne will be early this evening, but it’s an outside chance from afternoon through to early hours of the morning.”

Mr Russell said not every storm on a high-pollen day triggered thunderstorm asthma because every storm was different.

“The behaviour and interaction between an area of high pollen, the way it reacts with the gustiness of thunderstorms, you need to concentrate that pollen into the outflow from the thunderstorm,” he said.

“The concern with thunderstorm asthma is you really need the right combination of high or extreme pollen levels across a broad area of the state and also gusty thunderstorms — or any really good mechanism to concentrate that pollen into a small area at any one time — so that you really are exposed to a really high dose of the pollens, as thunderstorms typically do.”



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IPL 2020, RCB vs CSK: “Spark” Trends On Twitter After Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Maiden Fifty Helps CSK Beat RCB





Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) young batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad scored his maiden IPL half-century as MS Dhoni’s side registered a convincing eight-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Dubai on Sunday. Ruturaj Gaikwad, who had managed only five runs in previous three outings, batted positively and remained unbeaten on 65 to help CSK break their three-match losing streak, thus keeping mathematically alive in the competition. After CSK’s win, fans took to Twitter to praise Gaikwad’s march-winning knock. Apart from that another thing which started trending on Twitter was the word “spark”, which became a big talking point after CSK skipper after one of their losses had said that he didn’t see the “spark” in the youngsters to push them into playing XI.

“You don’t want to chop and change. Insecurity is something you don’t want to prevail in the dressing room. Also the youngsters, we didn’t see the spark to push the guys,” Dhoni had after their seven-wicket lose to Rajasthan Royals.

Here’s how Twitter reacted:

Speaking at the post-match presentation, Ruturaj Gaikwad said that it was tough for him as he had to spend more time under quarantine  than other players but he was confident with the way he was practicing in the nets and knew that one “good knock was around the corner”.

“It feels good, and to win the game for the team and stay not-out till the end more importantly feels better than the personal milestone. It was tough for me, quarantining for a lot more days compared to the other guys. Everyone was with me – my friends, family. I was practicing well and I knew one good knock was just around the corner,” Gaikwad said after their win over RCB.

Gaikwad also added that despite him getting out cheaply on three occasions, the team management and skipper MS Dhoni kept their faith in him. Talking about the pitch, the 23-year-old batsman said that it was on a slower side and he had to be proactive and take calculated risks against specific bowlers which paid off nicely.

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“Unfortunately just got out in three matches, but the management supported me including Mahi bhai. The wicket was slow. I was proactive out there, calculating which bowler to target and whom to not, and it worked out well for me,” he added.

With this win, CSK managed to pull themselves up from the bottom to the seventh spot. They now have eight points from 12 matches and their two remaining games are against Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab.

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New Zealand travellers spark concern for Victoria and WA


State officials are reportedly scrambling to gain access to airline passenger lists to identify travellers who have arrived in the country from New Zealand under the trans-Tasman bubble arrangement.

It comes after flights from New Zealand touched down at Sydney Airport on Friday carrying international passengers who, for the first time in seven months, did not need to quarantine upon arrival.

However, while the arrangements were meant to permit New Zealanders to travel freely into NSW and the Northern Territory, 23 have slipped into WA, and 55 to Victoria without the state government’s knowledge.

Five travellers have also entered Tasmania and are currently in hotel quarantine.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus coverage

Victorian officials have reportedly asked the Australian Border Force to speed up the release of passenger lists to prevent a repeat of the surprise arrival when more flights land from New Zealand.

It comes after Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement on Sunday night revealing it had made contact with all 55 travellers to Victoria.

The statement said: “The travellers, some in family groups and most staying in private homes, were provided with information about COVID-19 and the current Victorian health directions.

“Three of the travellers did not cross the border into Victoria and remain in NSW, and one who was in Victoria returned to NSW today.

“Twenty-one of the 55 travellers arrived at Melbourne Airport on Friday and Saturday.

“The remainder arrived using other modes of transport.

“DHHS Authorised Officers continue to meet incoming flights at Melbourne Airport and provide information to arriving passengers.”

RELATED: NZ travellers entered WA through trans-Tasman bubble

Meanwhile, the twenty-three people who “jumped borders” from NSW to WA are in mandatory quarantine.

Premier Mark McGowan first announced on Sunday morning that 25 people had arrived in the state, before the number was officially revised to 23 later in the day.

He called for “better management” after the New Zealanders slipped in without exemptions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is leaving it to state officials to contact airlines themselves under a decision made by national cabinet on September 18.

“On arrival into Australia from New Zealand, passengers are advised to check the entry requirements for other states, which includes needing to undertake hotel quarantine if they travel to WA,” said a federal government spokesman this weekend.

More flights are due to arrive from New Zealand in the coming days.

DAN ANDREWS ANGRY OVER BUBBLE

On Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews called on the federal government to “work” with Victoria, saying the state never agreed to be part of the travel bubble.

It comes after Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge claimed the Victorian government “authorised” a group of 17 people who arrived from New Zealand to enter the state.

Under the deal between the two nations, New Zealanders are permitted to travel quarantine-free into both NSW and the Northern Territory, under the proviso they’ve not been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the 14 days leading up to their travel.

Mr Tudge savaged the Victoria government, saying: “The fact that people cannot recall being in meetings, people cannot recall emails being sent, people cannot recall making decisions, it is just deja vu in relation to the Victorian government. That just seems to be a pattern now of not being able to recall what is going on, not being able to recall being at meetings, not being able to recall sending emails to authorise such activities”.

However, Mr Andrews has hit back at suggestions Victoria agreed to be part of the travel bubble saying “we can’t just have people wandering into the place from another country”.

He said they had now been informed 55 travellers from New Zealand had arrived.

“We are having to find these people,” he said.

“We are ringing them, one of them was in Byron Bay. And yet we were told they had landed and travelled to Melbourne.”

He said his “advice to Minister Tudge is, instead of stubbornly defending this, work with us and let’s make sure Victoria is not part of a bubble that we never agreed to be in.

“Now, if that isn’t possible, let’s talk about what else can happen. I don’t want to shut our border, but he should have a conversation with his boss.

“He should have a conversation with the Prime Minister, who, I have lost count of the number of times he has said to me, ‘thank you for not closing your border’.

“It is New Zealand today, but who knows what the other that what the next bubble is, who that is with? We have got authorised officers at the airport now, because this has happened. We didn’t think it would happen, but it has happened.

“We are going to follow up as much as we can. But I don’t control the borders and I don’t control what happens at Sydney Airport and I don’t think anyone can reasonably expect me to. I am not looking for a quarrel on this, I just wanted fixed.”

However, Mr Andrews said he couldn’t stop people from coming into the state.

“I have got no power to stop them coming here,” he said.

He said hopefully authorities would have “greater visibility” about the fact that they were coming so that they could they could chat to each of the travellers and make sure they knew what the coronavirus rules were.

‘OUTSIDE OF OUR CONTROL’: ANOTHER STATE STUNG

As Mr Andrews and Mr Tudge exchanged a war of words, Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan revealed 23 travellers from New Zealand had flown into Perth overnight, despite his state also not being a part of the arrangement.

All bar one of the arrivals – a child traveller now in a “quarantine arrangement” with a family member – have been put into hotel quarantine.

Mr McGowan told reporters this afternoon the situation is “fluid”, adding his Government was “doing our best to manage it”.

RELATED: ‘I’m done with this’: Andrews erupts

“We would prefer better management of these arrangements, but this is something that happened that was outside of our control,” he said.

“If New South Wales and the NT want to open up to other countries, there is now an issue as to how to manage those people coming from other countries border-hopping.

“Our system has worked, we’ve managed to pick these people up and put them into quarantine.

“It would just be great if (the Federal Government) were to better assist us in managing these things with appropriate information being provided to the State Government about people who might be catching flights across state borders.”

TUDGE SLAMS VICTORIA

Mr Tudge earlier hit back at the Victorian Government, saying it knew about arrangements that saw 17 New Zealanders try to enter Melbourne on Friday.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton “represented” the state at meeting to discuss what should happen if New Zealanders flew from Sydney or Darwin to another Australian state, Mr Tudge said.

“We further understand from The Age newspaper today that the Premier’s own department had in fact given authorisation to individuals who had arrived from New Zealand to Sydney to then travel on to Victoria,” Mr Tudge told reporters.

“So the Victorian Government was present when it was discussed, they were made aware that this was going to occur, they raised no objections in the meetings, and furthermore, expressly authorised individuals who were arriving into Sydney from New Zealand to be able to travel on into Victoria.”

Mr Tudge asked Mr Andrews to “reveal” the emails that “show, clearly and demonstrably, that they authorised the people to come into Victoria”, which would “completely clear this up”.

RELATED: What Victorians can and can’t do

Yesterday, Mr Andrews said he was “very disappointed” that the travellers had been able to enter his state.”

“We’re disappointed this has happened given that I had written to the Prime Minister on this very issue the previous day, saying at some point we will join that New Zealand/Australia travel bubble, but it is not appropriate now,” he said.

“We don’t want anything at all to undermine the amazing job that Victorians have done and are doing. Some things have gone wrong here. We are very much at the end of that, not necessarily part of it. We made it clear that we didn’t want to be part – could not be part of the bubble arrangements at this point.”

Mr Andrews said it was “not fair” when Victorians can’t freely move around their own state to have people arriving from another country, “without us knowing”.



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Missing Perth couple Patricia Taylor and Coree Stewart with 16-week-old baby Isaac spark welfare concerns



West Australian police are urgently seeking the public’s assistance for information about a missing Perth couple and their 16-week-old baby who have not been seen for two weeks.

Coree Stewart, 26, his 28-year-old partner Patricia Taylor, and 16-week-old baby Isaac, were last seen about two weeks ago in Balcatta in Perth’s north.

It is not known what they were last seen wearing.

Mr Stewart is described as being 179 centimetres tall with a slim to medium build, short brown hair and hazel eyes.

Ms Taylor is approximately 165 centimetres tall with a slim to medium build and long brown hair.

There are concerns for the family’s welfare.

Police have urged anyone with information, or who sees Mr Stewart, Ms Taylor or their child Isaac, to contact police immediately on 131 444.



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Derby District High School ‘forgotten’, as wobbling asbestos walls and ‘scary’ toilets spark outrage


As 63 schools across Western Australia welcome millions of dollars of capital works funding, one school in the Kimberley has again been left feeling “forgotten”, with facilities described as “unacceptable by any standard”.

Asbestos walls wobbling out of their frames, licks of paint that no longer stick, and female students “holding on” because the toilet facilities are so poor — these are some of the conditions at Derby District High School.

The conditions have parents and the wider community angry and desperately calling on the State Government to provide new high school buildings.

Built between 1957 and 1985, the school runs from kindergarten to Year 12 and has 634 students.

Of those students enrolled, 85 per cent are Indigenous — the highest proportion in the state.

In recent years, there have been upgrades to the kindergarten and primary school, including new classrooms and a performing arts centre for all years, which were welcomed by parents.

But Sarah Hardman, the chairperson of the school council, said the core facilities of the high school, like classrooms and bathrooms, had been addressed with only “band-aid” fixes for decades.

Sarah Hardman, the chair of the Derby school council, described the school as falling into a state of disrepair.(ABC: Andrew Seabourne)

Some areas of the high school haven’t had major works since they were built over 50 years ago.

“It looks dirty, it looks grimy, there are holes in walls, there are old ventilation and air-conditioning units, rust cancer throughout the building, and the maintenance is very difficult because of the level of asbestos,” she said.

This month the State Government announced over $300 million of funding to “modernise” 63 schools across the state.

Despite lobbying, Derby got none.

“In the region, our facilities are probably the lowest standard within the Kimberley region, and to hear that again Derby has been forgotten about it was incredibly disappointing,” she said.

Ms Hardman said the toilets and shower blocks, in both the high school and primary school areas, were particularly bad.

“All the cubicles have had a cage put over the top of them, it’s graffitied, it’s really old building materials, it’s dark and it’s gloomy and it just needs to be replaced.

“And then the shower block in the middle school area is appalling, with real privacy issues — no proper shower screens or cubicles.”

The three showers, which service all 624 mainstream students in the school, are cold water only.

In the high school, there are only two toilets — one male and one female — for use by 200 students.

A white toilet cubicle with cage over top, graffiti on wall and sink in corner.
The only female toilet available for girls in Years 8 to 12(ABC: Tyne Logan)

Impacts on attendance, staff retention

Shire president Geoff Haerewa said for a town with so many social issues, the state of the high school was not good enough.

“We’ve got a large proportion of our district where children come from dysfunctional families,” he said.

There is also a view that the school facilities are one of the leading causes of falling high school attendance and staff retention, as well-intentioned teachers struggle in to engage students in the “out of date” classroom and parents send their children to Broome or Perth for upper school.

The school had 22 principles in 14 years up to last year.

Politicians aware

A head and shoulders shot of WA Education Minister Sue Ellery talking during a media conference.
Sue Ellery says the Government has begun a feasibility study on upgrades to the showers, toilets and laundry facilities at Derby District High School(ABC News)

The school is well and truly on politicians’ radars.

In July last year, following a tour of the school from young students and parents, Senator Dean Smith wrote to Education Minister Sue Ellery describing the toilet facilities for senior high school students as “unacceptable by any standard”.

“Anyone that has taken the time to go behind the fence at Derby would be outraged to see the poor quality of building infrastructure and students, parents and teachers have to endure in 2020,” he said.

He said it needed to be remedied immediately.

The halls at Derby District High School
There are calls for the high school classrooms to be replaced, and new toilets and showers built.(ABC: Tyne Logan)

The Derby/West Kimberley Shire also gave up their time with treasurer Ben Wyatt to show him the school on a visit to Derby in June.

Education Minister Sue Ellery said they “recognised” they needed to upgrade the bathroom facilities and were already acting on it.

“An architect has already had a look at what is needed in terms of parents legitimate concerns about toilets, laundry and shower facilities,” she said.

“A feasibility study is being done now.

“While they were there they also took the opportunity to look elsewhere.”

But Ms Ellery would not give a timeframe or guarantee the facilities would be replaced.

Asked why Derby did not receive funding in the latest announcement, Ms Ellery said it was a “mixed process”.

“There are over 800 schools, over 50 per cent of those schools are over 50 years of age, so we certainly couldn’t fit them all in that one announcement,” she said.

She said it did not reflect the Derby school not being a priority.

“We are taking their concerns seriously,” she said.



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California: Almost 12,000 lightning strikes spark some of biggest ever wildfires in US state | US News


Wildfires in northern California – sparked by almost 12,000 lightning strikes – have grown into some of the largest in the state’s history.

One of them is within a mile of the University of California Santa Cruz, with residents in the city being told to have evacuation “go bags” already packed.

Bulldozers have dug fire lines on the northern edge of the university’s campus.

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Firefighter Anthony Quiroz during an operation to defend a home in Boulder Creek

Most of the fires are in the San Francisco Bay Area. The biggest, known as the SCU Complex, east of Palo Alto, is covering an area approaching the size of New York City.

Across the state, at least six people have died, 43 firefighters and civilians have been injured, and more than 500 homes and other structures have been destroyed.

About 175,000 people have had to leave their homes.

Around 560 fires have been fought, and an area larger than the US state of Rhode Island has been burned.

More from California Wildfires

The dry-lightning storms are California‘s worst in almost two decades, and have been driven by record temperatures, which have parched the land.

Last weekend, the temperature at Death Valley in the Mojave Desert reached 54.4C (130F) – one of the hottest air temperatures recorded anywhere on the planet for at least a century.

Dave Broome, who's part of a group of friends who call themselves Rescue One
Image:
Dave Broome, who’s part of a group of friends who call themselves Rescue One, helps douse the flames

Almost 12,000 firefighters are on duty, and crews from Oregon, Idaho and Arizona have arrived to assist.

Governor Gavin Newsom said the fierce heat was caused by climate change and that more lightning storms were expected on Sunday.

“If you are in denial about climate change, come to California,” he told the Democratic National Convention.



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Red benches aim to spark an important discussion



TWO benches at the front of the Kyogle hospital have been painted bright red as a stark reminder that domestic violence dwells in our community.

The red benches also serve as a beacon of hope to domestic violence victims that help is available.

The council painted the benches red at the request of the Kyogle Family and Domestic Violence Working Group which has joined a campaign to have 100 red benches installed across Australia.

The campaign is being driven by the not-for-profit Red Rose Foundation which is working to end domestic violence in Australia.

Kyogle Mayor and patron of the Kyogle Family and Domestic Violence Working Group, Danielle Mulholland, said the red benches movement first came to light during the 16 days of activism last December.

“The CWA organised the 16 days of activism in Kyogle and that included a play on domestic violence and a short presentation on the red benches movement,” Cr Mulholland said.

“The whole thing grew from there, with the idea being that the red benches will get people talking about domestic violence.

“And having them at the front of the hospital reminds people that victims of domestic violence often end up at the hospital, or worse, the morgue.”

Cr Mulholland said raising community awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence and that help is available was crucial in reducing the harm it causes.

“As Mayor, I feel it’s important that the victims of domestic violence, women and men, know that Council cares and that help and support is available.”

Cr Mulholland stressed that domestic violence was not limited to physical violence.

“It can be emotional, psychological, financial and even spiritual abuse whereby a person is prevented from pursuing their own spiritual beliefs because of a family member,” she said.

“If we put a spotlight on domestic violence, then perhaps the victims and perpetrators will get the help they need.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available:

•Kyogle Family Support Service phone 6632 1044

•Help to stay safe or leave phone 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732

•The Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service phone 1300 720 606 or 6621 1044

•The Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre – Family Law and Domestic Violence legal advice phone 6621 1000 or 1800 689 889

•Call out family and domestic violence in the community phone 000 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000





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