Manchester Trafford Centre firm Intu warns it could go bust

The owner of some of the UK’s biggest shopping centres, Intu, has said there are doubts that it can survive unless it raises extra funds.

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Its comments came as the firm – which owns Manchester’s Trafford Centre and the Lakeside complex in Essex – reported a £2bn loss in 2019.

The weakness in the retail sector meant Intu wrote down the value of its shopping centre sites by nearly £2bn.

Intu will try to raise extra cash after an earlier plan to raise £1bn failed.

The collapse and contraction of High Street retailers has left landlords such as Intu struggling to fill vacant space. At the same time, Intu has run up debts of nearly £5bn.

In January, the firm approached its shareholders to ask for more money amid the downturn in the retail sector.

But last week, Intu said it was at risk of breaching debt covenants after it was forced to abandon the fundraising attempt. It said “extreme market conditions” deterred investors from giving fresh cash.

To help it keep going, the firm said it would try to engage with investors, or it might have to sell more of its assets.

The company has already been selling shopping centres to raise cash.

Intu said it could also try to seek waivers on its debt commitments to lenders and spend less in the short term.

Source: BBC News

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UK new overdraft overhaul: All you need to know to make the best of it

Some overdraft borrowers will see charges double while others will make “astonishing” savings when new prices kick in, new analysis shows.

New rules for overdraft charging demanded by the City regulator take effect next month.

Financial information service Moneyfacts has tested how much someone borrowing £500 through an overdraft for a month would be charged.

Some will see costs roughly double to £14 but others will enjoy £60 savings.

Those facing more expensive overdrafts are almost entirely people who previously had an arranged overdraft facility. See the source image

Up until now fees have been complex, difficult to navigate and hard to compare, leaving some with large overdraft bills.

Single, simple overdraft interest rates are now being brought in ahead of an April deadline set by the regulator.

The big banks’ new overdraft rates

  • Nationwide has said it will bring in an interest rate of 39.9% in April, replacing a daily fee of 50p for arranged overdrafts
  • HSBC’s interest rate will double from 19.9% to 39.9%
  • Lloyds’ will be 39.9%
  • Santander’s will also be 39.9%
  • NatWest raised its to 39.45%
  • Barclays is not far behind with 35%.

To put those interest rates into context, the average quoted rate for credit card borrowing is just over 20%, according to the Bank of England.

The regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, said most High Street banks had set “very similar prices”, after it demanded changes to the system.

It has sent a letter to banks, asking them to explain what influenced their decision.

It also asked how the banks will deal with any customers who could be worse off following the changes.

It said some firms could reduce or waive interest for customers who are in financial difficulty because of their overdraft.

Overdrafts in numbers chart

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Finance Management: Knowledge is power

People are living in credibly hectic lifestyles and this lack of spare time means many put off reviewing their finances. Keeping on top of your money matters should be a priority and doesn’t necessarily have to be a labourious, time consuming task.

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The reality is that circumstances change – prices fluctuate, our personal situation change, such as jobs and family affairs. So being equipped with knowledge about the health of your finance is a necessity, so you can react should circumstances in your life change.

Top financial priority

  • Paying down debt – mortgage, credit, loans etc
  • Building savings – financial savings, energy savings, etc
  • Paying bills – rent, energy, utility, tax, etc
  • Essential living expenses – food, clothes, health care, etc
  • Lifestyle expenses – holiday, entertainment, hobby, etc
  • Investment – cash, securities (equities, bonds and derivatives), commodity, etc
  • Retirement – pension, personal plan, annuity, etc

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How to read your smart meter and get the best from it

The major benefits of smart meters is that you no longer have to take manual readings, as your meter data is recorded automatically. Your smart meter is in constant communication with your energy supplier, ensuring that your energy bills are accurate and based on the most up-to-date figures – no more meter readings and no more estimates! However, if you would like to keep taking smart meter readings to keep an eye on your energy use, here’s how to manually read a smart meter.

Reasons to take a manual smart meter reading

  • You’ve switched energy providers and your smart meter isn’t compatible with your new supplier’s systems.
  • Stay in control of your energy use by setting budgets and comparing your energy use across the day/week/month.

How to manually read a smart meterSee the source image

If you prefer to take electricity and gas readings for yourself, here’s how you can check how much energy you’re using by reading your smart meter. You can read your smart meter by taking a look at your in-house smart meter display unit. This display will show you your daily, weekly or monthly energy use in terms of money, kilowatt hours and carbon emissions.

How to read a smart meter

Remember that when you got your new smart meter installed, the readings began from 0, so you will have a new set of readings – they won’t carry over from your old meter. Not all smart meters look exactly the same, but we’ve put together this guide that applies to most smart meters.

Your smart meter will generally display:

  • A budget market
  • Battery status
  • Time
  • Text area
  • Touch buttons
  • Light indicators
  • Costs and consumption
  • Fuel view
  • Energy display dial
  • Wireless signal strength
    how to read a smart meter

How to read a smart electric meter

Your electricity consumption is measured in kilo-watt hours (kWh), so this is the number you’ll need to look for. You won’t need to record the numbers after the decimal place. Here’s how to read different types of smart electricity meters

How to read smart electricity meter with a keypad

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  • Press ‘9’ on the keypad
  • A series of letter will appear
  • You’ll then see eight digits on the screen followed by the letters ‘kWh’.
  • These digits are your meter reading; in this case,

How to read an Economy 7 smart meter

This type of meter takes records day and night usage.
How to read an Economy 7 smart meter

  • Press ‘6’ on the keypad until the letters ‘IMP R01’ followed by eight digits appear (usually your night/off-peak reading).
  • Keep pressing ‘6’ until you see ‘IMP R02’ followed by eight digits (usually your peak/normal reading).
  • Use the digits ahead of the decimal points as you readings.

    How to take a smart meter reading if you have two buttons

    How to take a smart meter reading if you have two buttons

  • Press the ‘Display Select’ or ‘Display’ button.
  • The meter display will then scroll through to the meter reading.
  • Look for the number followed by kWh – this is your meter reading.

How to take an electric smart meter reading if you have A and B buttons

  • Press the A button
  • Keep pressing until you reach ‘TOTAL ACT IMPORT’.
  • The number shown below this is your meter reading.

OR

  • Press and hold the A button for at least two seconds.
  • Keep pressing A  to cycle through the displays.
  • The numbers you see followed by kWh is your meter reading

How to take a smart meter reading if your meter has 3 buttons

  • Press the button in the middle.
  • Your meter reading is the number shown below IMP.
  • If you have a two-rate meter, R1= Rate 1; R2 = Rate 2; T = total.
  • You can see all readings by pressing the middle button again.

If you have a button on the left and two buttons on the right:

If you have an orange button on the left and blue buttons on the right:

  • Press the single button.
  • You’ll see a row of digits with kWh – this is your meter reading.

How to read a smart gas meter

Both gas and electricity smart meters have a numerical keypad. Here’s what to do if you want to take a traditional meter reading:

How to read a gas smart meter if you have a keypad

How to read a gas smart meter if you have a keypad

  • Press 9 on the keypad.
  • You’ll see VOLUME on the screen
  • You’ll then see a row of digits followed by M3 at the bottom right – this is your gas meter reading.

 

How to read a gas smart meter if you have A and B buttons

How to read a gas smart meter if you have A and B buttons

  • Press the A button.
  • Keep pressing until you get to METER INDEX.
  • The digits shown below this is your meter reading.

    How to read a gas smart meter if you have a left arrow, a circle and a right arrow

    How to read a gas smart meter if you have a left arrow, a circle and a right arrow

  • Press the circle button in the middle.
  • Your screen will show ‘current meter reading’ at the top.
  • The row of digits followed by M3 is your meter reading.

How to read your smart gas meter if you have 3 square buttons

How to read your smart gas meter if you have 3 square red buttons

How to read your smart gas meter if you have 3 square red buttons

Your buttons may or may be labelled or unlabelled.

  • Press the button on the left.
  • You’ll see a row of digits followed by M3 – this is your smart meter reading.

How to read your smart gas meter if you have arrows to the right of the screen

How to read a gas smart meter

  • Press the arrow at the top.
  • You’ll see a row of digits followed by M3 – this is your meter reading.

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We hope that this guide is useful in helping you to take a manual meter reading from your smart meter and help you with home energy management to reduce your energy usage to save on energy bills and the environment, Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any help!

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