Staff profile: Helena Clay (Technical Support Analyst)

We introduce the newest member of our team as the company continues to grow.

When did you join the company?

I joined Energy Management on the 1 December 2021 so I have now been working here for almost three months which has flown by!

Are you from the area?

I am very local to the office as I live in Bradford-on-Avon, just on the other side of the river, although I haven’t always lived here. I moved here in May 2021 from south Oxfordshire where I was born and brought up.

Do you have a background in the energy industry?

Before working at Energy Management, I worked for Pure Planet, a renewable energy supplier based in Bath. I had worked there for a year when, unfortunately, due to the current energy crisis, the company had to close its doors.

I joined Pure Planet after graduating from the University of Southampton with a 1st class BSc Geography degree. I had always been interested in renewable energy and sustainability, but it was after completing a module on energy generation and the geopolitics of energy that my interest in the sector increased.

Working for an energy supplier, prior to this role, was very insightful and taught me a lot about how the market works, tariff structures, pricing, billing and invoice queries as well as metering and site works. The energy industry is a bit of a minefield when you’re just starting out, with lots of complex terms, so my first few months were a big learning curve.  

During my time at Pure Planet, I was involved in various different projects and liaised with lots of different teams within the business, as well as external teams, which helped to broaden my knowledge. I was in regular contact with engineers at our metering partner to raise and check on the progress of meter removals, exchanges or upgrades. Discussions with different teams such as billing and finance within the business also helped me become well versed in all the various technical terms.

What does your role entail at EM and which aspects of the job do you enjoy the most?

My role as a Technical Support Analyst at Energy Management predominantly involves liaising with energy suppliers and customers daily, requesting offers from suppliers and managing and analysing those offers received.

Other responsibilities involve reviewing consumption data, completing and submitting documentation for new supplies and managing and maintaining customer records, spreadsheets and our database.

I have only been here for three months, but I am really enjoying it so far. I love the team-orientated approach to our working environment; we all work collaboratively with a common goal to deliver the highest level of customer service and solutions for our customers which is really motivating.

I am also involved in some of our customers’ big projects such as the rollout of EV chargers across the country. Being involved in such a progressive and forward-thinking clean tech project is really exciting.

The fast-paced, changing environment of the energy market and the need to be reactive to it also really plays to my strengths and makes every day different and exciting, as does the breadth of different things I am able to be involved in.

What energy-saving/carbon zero initiatives have you found yourself doing at work and at home?

At home, I am very conscious of energy-saving and being sustainable through various practices such as ensuring we don’t waste food, through meal planning and only buying what we need. recycling and avoiding single-use plastics, by using reusable water bottles and Tupperware rather than cling film. I also don’t eat meat which drastically reduces my own personal carbon footprint.

At work, I try to make sure I don’t print things unnecessarily and ensure that my laptop and monitors are fully switched off at the end of the day. I have also pledged to walk into work much more often once the weather warms up a bit!

Annie Robins wins customer service award

Annie Robins has been presented with the “Delight our Customer” award and a bunch of flowers by Zenergi Group COO, Polly Halliday for her outstanding customer service.

The Delight our Customer award was awarded to Account Administration Manager Annie “in recognition of delivering on our purpose and most important promise. Every team and every role within the group all strive to delight those we serve but you have been selected as the best.”

Annie has been with Energy Management, now part of the Zenergi Group, since October 2017 having graduated from the company’s successful apprenticeship scheme, which is run in connection with Wiltshire College.

Annie said: “Now being part of a bigger company, it is lovely to be recognised for my hard work in the team.”

If you would like to join a company that truly cares about its team and its customers, a couple of job vacancies are currently available in Account Administration management, based in our Bradford-on-Avon offices.

Details of both positions and how to apply can be found here: https://careers.zenergi.co.uk/careers/

Why are energy prices at an all-time high?

Our Market Intelligence bulletin for January breaks down the reasons why it is costing us so much to power our homes and businesses.

Gas

The tension between Russia and Ukraine is likely to have significant consequences for the UK and the rest of Europe in terms of gas supply, as severe market volatility and price spikes continued towards the end of January. 

UK annual gas demand currently stands at 74 billion cubic metres, with 47% of this demand met domestically, 22% from LNG imports and 31% from European imports (via Norway, Netherlands, and Belgium).  

A halt in gas flow from Ukraine would impact nations like Germany which sources over 40% of their gas from Russia. Sweden and Finland source an even higher percentage, while Norway is at its limit in terms of the amount of gas it can export.  

This means there would be less surplus supply in mainland Europe, ultimately resulting in reduced exports to the UK, therefore, the difference would have to be made up domestically, or by additional LNG deliveries. 

This possible supply crisis is expected to result in a surge in prices, with consumers already expecting a large increase from April when the energy price cap will be lifted by Ofgem. 

Electricity

Electricity prices are likely to mirror gas prices, with gas-fired power generation still vital to the energy mix, especially on days when renewable energy production is not sufficient.  

Both domestic and commercial consumers should prepare for prices to soar even further in the coming months, as the geopolitical situation involving Russia, the lifting of the UK energy price cap and economic uncertainty caused by the Omicron variant has all combined to create an extremely bullish outlook.  
Meanwhile, expectations of a prolonged winter is another factor that has added to the current situation.  

Oil

Oil prices have already increased by 10% in 2022, rising to around $85/b, with analysts predicting that prices could climb above the $100/b level for the first time in eight years. 

However, there is one country that could have a major say on whether prices reach triple digits… Iran.  

Iran has reopened negotiations in regard to its nuclear power programme which was blocked by sanctions imposed by the West. Talks are currently taking place in Vienna between Iranian officials and China, Russia, the EU, the UK, and other major economic nations, with direct negotiation with the US rumoured to be in the pipeline.  

The sanctions are in place to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons – in order to do this Uranium would need to be enriched to 90% to achieve ‘weapons-grade’ levels. 
Instead, Iran is requesting to increase Uranium levels to above 60%, if approved, the country may be able to increase Crude oil exports to help balance the global oil market. 

Market Info 

Economic confidence is at its lowest point since the winter lockdown imposed by the Government one year ago.  

This pessimism has been further fuelled by Ofgem’s decision to lift the energy price cap in April 2022 which is expected to result in a sharp rise in wholesale prices from the 1st of April.  

The likely consequence of this is that the annual energy bill for each household in the UK will rise by hundreds of pounds, at a time when inflation is already pushing up the costs of things like food, broadband and TV subscriptions, while Council Tax is also open to a 2% increase. 

The current price cap is set at £1,277, but this could rise to almost £2,000 in April.  

This extra financial strain on the general public and businesses will doubt be felt in almost every sector and organisations of all types are advised to budget accordingly.