How to control energy costs in the Covid-19 crisis

Controlling costs has always been good business, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more important than ever.

With turnover having taken a hit in so many different sectors, the ability to manage overheads could make all the difference to a business’s survival or demise.

Government initiatives like the furlough scheme have helped employers keep wage costs down but what can be done to protect against energy costs?

Spiralling energy costs can sap the life out of a company, so it is important to put a cost-control plan in place and get the power back in your hands, so to speak, wherever possible.

Controlling energy costs can be done through better energy procurement, by introducing a range of energy efficiency measures and by leveraging government help.


The price of gas and electricity nosedived during the first U.K lockdown as industry ground to a halt and demand plummeted. But once industry started to open up again and people realised the end of the world wasn’t nigh, prices rallied significantly.

Currently, market conditions are favourable to securing contracts early but, in a volatile energy market such as they one we are currently experiencing, a flexible approach shouldn’t be ruled out when formulating your energy procurement strategy.

Business energy deals offer a wide procurement window for tendering contracts and are more flexible than those available to domestic users in that they can be fixed for anything up to four years.

While it is not possible to forecast prices changes with a 100% degree of accuracy, the best business energy consultants are able to offer informed and impartial advice about the type of contract best aligned to your business’s needs.

Energy efficiency

COVID-19 has changed the way we conduct business, with home-working and Zoom conference calls now the norm.

Companies have reduced their carbon footprint as a result of less road and air miles being used to get to and from meetings, while energy consumption has dramatically fallen as premises remain empty or part-empty.

A greener way of living and working has been one of the few positive spin-offs of COVID-19 and there is an opportunity to build on this once the worst of the pandemic has passed. After all, the cheapest unit of energy is the one you never use.

European Regional Development Funding is still available to SMEs for energy efficiency measures, despite our withdrawal from the European Union.

We would advise businesses to check with their local Chamber of Commerce to see what level of support is being offered as these vary from region to region.

Government help

As experienced practitioners in the handling of Climate Change Agreement applications, we continue to help companies maximise the Climate Change Levy (CCL) discounts available to them.

Companies have been asked to monitor their energy performance against a 2018 baseline instead of the old 2008 baseline and the data is then used by the Environment Agency to set targets for TP5 (Target Period 5, 2021-22).

As well as providing this information in a timely fashion, contact details for the appointed authorised and admin CCA personnel need to be kept up to date, too.

Failure to do so could result in discount notification emails going unread because they’ve been directed to the wrong member of staff or to someone who has either retired or moved on.

The Metallurgical Exemption is another aspect of the CCA that can benefit certain industry sectors.

As a point of good housekeeping, multiple site operators who use different suppliers should ensure they resubmit the relevant forms if they ever change one of those suppliers. Otherwise, they could run the risk of missing out financially.

To coin a phrase, ‘if you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves.’

If you would like to speak to one of our business energy consultants about managing your nergy costs better, please get in touch by calling us on 01225-867722.

The effect of Lockdown 2 on energy procurement strategy

Whilst not as severe in its restrictions nor hopefully as long in duration as the first national lockdown in March, ‘Lockdown 2’ will inevitably lead to a nationwide reduction in energy use.

More businesses will either go to the wall or temporarily close their doors and encourage home-working wherever possible, leaving vast swathes of office floor space empty.

Meanwhile, non-essential retail outlets will put up the ‘Closed’ signs as of one minute past midnight on Thursday morning, and pubs, cafes and restaurants unable to provide takeaway food will also be left eerily quiet.

At the end of March, less than two weeks into the initial period of restrictions, electricity demand dropped by as much as a tenth as businesses were forced to close their doors as part of the measures introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus.

GB day-ahead electricity prices fell 10 per cent as a result compared to the previous week and the downward trend largely continued until lockdown restrictions slowly started to ease in mid-May when prices did a U-turn and increased again. Not all of these price wholesale price drops, however, were passed on to customers, at least not in the initial stages.

Whilst planning for the future is never easy at the best of times, let alone during the uncertainty of living through a global pandemic, an effective energy procurement strategy will help mitigate against some of the peaks and troughs.


Business energy deals offer a wide procurement window for tendering contracts and are more flexible than those available to domestic users in that they can be fixed from anything up to four years.

Business energy is also cheaper per unit of electricity and gas used, but it is important to be aware of associated non-energy costs, such as the Climate Change Levy (CCL), when considering which contract to sign.

Non-energy costs are those that are incurred around the purchase and supply of energy rather than the actual unit spend on gas and electricity and have risen incrementally in the last few years to form a larger percentage of the overall energy bill.

100 per cent accuracy in forecasting price changes is impossible given there are so many external factors involved, such as a change in government policy or unseasonable weather.

But, at Energy Management, we have the monitoring capability and in-house expertise to help clients make better-informed decisions about the type and length of the energy contract best suited to their needs.

If you’d like to use the latest lockdown period to do some energy ‘housekeeping’, please get in touch on 01225-867722.

Subscribe to our monthly Market Intelligence energy report

Understanding the vast array of factors that influence the energy price markets, whether they be geopolitical, climate or otherwise, helps massively when it comes to implementing a successful energy procurement strategy.

At Energy Management, our expert consultants are constantly analysing the ebbs and flows of electricity, gas and oil prices to help keep clients one step ahead of the game when negotiating a contract with an energy supplier.

Each month, we put together our Market Intelligence report in an easy-to-read PDF format to highlight the trends in the energy markets.

You can sign up for free by clicking here >>

Here are some of September’s ‘highlights’:

  • Year ahead power prices have risen to values not seen since last November
  • EDF and Hitachi deliver bad news for the nuclear industry
  • North Sea Gas field maintenance will also impact on the short-term market
  • Brent Crude Oil prices have been undergoing a rollercoaster ride, with $5 taken off the price of a barrel at one point
  • A 70% year-on-year drop in demand for oil has been forecast for 2020

Making better energy choices

Business and Commerce is in a very strange place at this time, some businesses have seen a sharp upturn in turnover as they fulfil the country’s requirements over this “lockdown” period, such as bicycle manufacturers, thanks to the sharp upturn in that particular form of exercise, while others simply had no choice but to heed the government’s advice and close their doors.

The downturn in the UK and world economy has lowered the demand for energy, and wholesale prices have followed suit. Short-term markets have taken the biggest hit, but markets further out have also reduced during this period, reflecting an uncertain future.

Energy Management is always on hand to assist clients old and new, either via a call, an email or through our bespoke portal reporting software ‘EM-Powered’.

Clients who benefit from EM-Powered find it helps them make better-informed decisions over their energy-related strategy.

It enables our clients to view and report on a range of information for your business including consumption, cost data and carbon production, plus provides up-to-date market information.

For more information about EM-Powered and an online demonstration of the portal, contact a member of the team now on 01225 867722 or email

Brent Oil has dropped to an 18-year low

Brent Crude Oil dropped to an 18-year low on 30th March, prompting a knock-on effect in the energy price market.

The commodity’s international benchmark fell by as much as 13% to a low of $21.65 a barrel. Meanwhile, the price of US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell below $20 a barrel and also closed to an 18-year low.

The global oil industry has faced a sharp drop in demand due to countries across the globe being on lockdown due to the coronavirus with prices falling by more than half in the past month.

Despite this, Saudi Arabia and Russia have agreed to flood the market with oil in April and a rise in the price of energy is expected on the back of this, certainly if you compare electricity prices and gas prices to those in March.

So, if you are looking to get a price for your gas or electricity (or both) while this window of opportunity within the market exists, then please get in touch with one of our sales team on 01225 867722 or email