Meeting the challenges of energy procurement head on

COVID-19 has brought so much uncertainty to the world as people wonder what their future prospects may be, personally or professionally.

The energy market has certainly not been immune to this either, with plummeting oil prices amidst a major downturn in business energy consumption being reflected in historically low business energy costs.

And renewable energy projects and EV installations, which were set for a boom year in 2020, have been held back, especially in the initial stages of the pandemic, because of a disrupted supply chain.

With so many factors to consider – political posturing can also be thrown into the mix – understanding the market and the mechanisms that may trigger wild fluctuations in the price of electricity and gas is vital to successful energy procurement negotiations.

Even for the most trained eye, unprecedented times like these can be extremely challenging for brokers in advising clients on when to sign on the dotted line with energy suppliers, and the length of contract most preferable for their needs.

A good level of market intelligence – through experience and software such as EM-Powered, the energy management portal – is vital in procuring energy at the right price and at the right time.

Minimising those energy costs through smart energy procurement – and taking the hassle away from clients – is at the heart of what we do.

With over two decades’ worth of experience, Energy Management explores the range of options available to their clients, from a fixed-price, longer-term arrangement that allows for greater security, planning and budgeting to a more flexible approach, where advantages can be derived from fluctuations in energy pricing.

Our consultants are experts at knowing which way ‘the wind is blowing’, so why not give them a call, on 01225-867722 or email:sales@energymanagementltd.com

 

An energy framework designed to tackle the climate change emergency

The climate change emergency was at the front and centre of the news agenda before Covid-19, and even while we are still in the grip of the pandemic, it is an issue that has rightfully refused to go away.

We have found that in our discussions with clients and potential new customers that the drive towards a carbon-neutral position – by 2050, or even 2030 in some cases – is still a key focus.

Figures released by BloombergNEF showed how purchasing green energy contracts rose by 40% on the previous year in 2019, reaching almost 20 gigawatts (GW), and that appetite for change is still there if our experience is anything to go by.

Our Choice Energy Framework is proving to be a popular option for those public sector organisations looking to not only save money in their energy procurement but also be more ethical in the way they power their facilities.

There has been tremendous interest in securing green energy contracts – ones that use wind and solar energy, for example – as opposed to traditional brown energy that relies on fossil fuel power generation.

The Choice Energy Framework involves up to six energy suppliers who have been shortlisted on the basis of tariff competitiveness, billing accuracy, max/min volume threshold restrictions and terms and conditions.

Fixed and flexible contracts will be offered by the suppliers with the length of the contract varying from 12 months to as long as four years.

If you would like to find out more, please contact one of our team on 01225-867722

Championing energy efficiency

As more and more white-collar employees gradually switch back to working in an office environment, now is a good time for businesses to ensure any energy efficiency good practices picked up whilst working from home come with them.

Most money-conscious, employees wouldn’t leave lights on unnecessarily or not properly shutdown their electrical devices whilst working from at home, and these type of behaviours should be present in the office environment, too.

You could even employ an ‘energy champion’ from within the workforce to take on the responsibility of engaging their colleagues in energy-saving measures in a bid to reduce the company’s energy bill.

Some simple measures such as the installation of movement sensitive lighting and LED lightbulbs can help massively in reducing the energy bill, too, without too much initial financial outlay.

Alternatively, you could turn to an external energy agency to conduct an energy audit and determine how you can use less power without compromising business throughput, output or thermal comfort and wellbeing of staff. An Energy Management health check workshop will cost you nothing but could save you thousands of pounds.

A Senior Energy Management certified assessor will visit your organisation and present his/her ideas over the course of a morning or afternoon with the aim of highlighting energy efficiency projects that can be easily implemented with little or no capital expenditure.

If you would like to discuss any energy efficiency measures, please get in touch with a member of our team on 01225-867722.

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 sales@energymanagementltd.com

OPEC agreement sees oil prices rally

energy price

OPEC Plus has finalised a deal with the world’s major oil producers that will see a 10% cut in output – the largest-ever reduction in production.

Prices for global benchmark Brent crude rose by 3.9% to $32.71 a barrel and US grade West Texas Intermediate went up 6.1% to $24.15 a barrel as a result of the end of the damaging price between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Prior to the agreement, the market was flooded with oil even though demand was down due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus. Both factors combined had sent oil prices plummeting to their lowest levels for 18 years, at one stage to just $22.58 a barrel.

US President Donald Trump personally thanked the leaders of both countries, King Salman and Vladimir Putin, saying he believes will save “hundreds of thousands of energy jobs in the United States”.

A word of caution was struck by one analyst, however, who noted that the decline in oil demand is well ahead of the output cuts that have been agreed and that this will frustrate hopes of the price maintaining an upward momentum.

Further cuts may, therefore, be needed to bring supply and demand into equilibrium and make a lasting impression on the price.

OPEC consists of 13 nations, all of which have a significant chunk in the role of oil production in the world and influence on global oil prices.

According to a statement on OPEC’s website, its role is to “coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilisation of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry”.

 

 

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 sales@energymanagementltd.com.

Oil industry being pulled in both directions

With a situation where ‘demand is down and supply is up’, oil industry prices continue to suffer in what can only be described as ‘Mad March’.

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to tighten its grip on society leading to a cut in fuel consumption as the global economy slows down, disputes between Saudi Arabia and their rivals has seen the top oil-producing country raise output to full capacity.

Slashed prices

Saudi Arabia slashed export prices and said it would pump at a record of 12.3 million barrels per day, flooding the market with oil that it didn’t need. By contrast, producers in the USA’s top producing state, Texas, have asked for regulatory intervention to reduce production.

International crude oil prices LCOc1 CLc1 have dropped about 45% this month and don’t even cover the cost of much of the world’s production, causing energy companies worldwide to drastically rein in their spending. March 9th witnessed the biggest single-day drop of 24%.

The collapse in demand and a diplomatic impasse between Saudi Arabia, Russia and others have triggered unprecedented responses from governments and investors.

As Reuters reports, it is an industry in distress.

With business energy prices fluctuating wildly, knowing when to strike a deal with suppliers has become an art in itself.

Smart energy procurement is one of the main ways in which companies can save money and our expert knowledge and ability to keep track of the markets in these most volatile of times, makes us very well placed to take care of that side of your business.

If you would like to have a conversation with one of our team of consultants, please give us a call on 01225-867722 or visit our dedicated energy procurement page.

EM-Powered – the secret weapon in managing your energy costs

To reduce energy consumption and consequently your company’s energy bills, you first need to have a very good understanding of your energy profile.

Energy Management’s energy monitoring and reporting portal, EM-Powered, assists companies in compiling an instant overview of their organisation’s actual energy consumption, predicted energy consumption and peak loads in an easily downloadable report.

Especially useful for multi-site operators and energy-intensive industries, the portal can be adapted to suit an individual company’s needs.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the benefits:

  • Accurate financial reporting – incorporates budget management tools, cost and consumption break downs. Management reports can also be downloaded for an overview of all activities. Ideal for board-level reporting.
  • Market forward pricing – We provide live forward and historic market trading prices. These prices can then be compared between specific dates, or alternatively can be expanded to show a high-level overview. The portal provides the ability to set multiple price notification triggers and alerts. These alerts will then be either sent via SMS or email to the user. Invaluable for flex contract management.
  • Seasonal comparison tables – Market charges can then be compared in table form, giving the customer an accurate and concise method to measure market fluctuations. The system provides you with the current position, and with a comparison to the previous day, week, month, quarter, 6-month and 1-year prices. In addition, you have the ability to choose specific dates, forward or backward, to compare prices over any given time.
  • Market Intelligence Updates – Customers are provided with a daily market intelligence update. The portal will update 3 times a day providing them with the live day ahead, month ahead and 2-month ahead prices. There will be a short commentary of why prices have fallen/risen, along with prices on Brent Crude and EU ETS Carbon, as both have an impact on UK wholesale electricity cost.
  • Daily Updates – Daily news updates are provided within the portal which gives an understanding of current geopolitical factors which may influence the market.

More information about EM-Powered can be found here.

Food and Drink energy consumption … in a nutshell

Energy efficiency may not be your bread and butter if you’re in the food and drink industry, and why should it be?

But spiralling energy costs brought about by a range of geopolitical factors in 2019 make it a topic that is never far from the top of the agenda.

As the fourth highest industrial energy user in the UK, according to a report by the Carbon Trust, businesses in the food and drink industry are increasingly recognising the need to lower their energy bills, hedge against future volatility and adopt measures that help them comply with green energy legislation.

Non-energy costs

With analyst forecasts suggesting that Decarbonisation and other government social policies will account for the majority share of energy bills in the near future, compliance and energy efficiency will soon be of equal importance to procurement. The phrase ‘the cheapest unit of energy is the one you never use’ is well-liked at Energy Management, and for good reason.

For many organisations, time poverty means that managing the work required to reduce their energy consumption is an undesirable distraction from their core business activities.

To further compound this, there may also be a lack of energy expertise and distinct skills gap creating barriers to finding savings and implementing reduction initiatives. This is where an expert reputable energy management consultancy can step in to remove these barriers and ease the way forward to effective reductions.

No compromise needed

Energy efficiency may mean different things to many of us, for Energy Management LLP it means reducing energy consumption without compromising business throughput, output or thermal comfort and wellbeing of staff.

Energy drivers can be defined under one of the three core areas responsible for consumption: People, Process or Technology.

    • People– Human influences
    • Process– Policies, procedures, protocols and regimes
    • Technology– Energy consuming plant, machinery and equipment and their associated controls.

Energy Management has the expertise to identify, qualify and quantify the opportunities in all three core areas

Invoice validation is also an area which can help reduce costs; did you know that one in five utility bills are wrong?

Discrepancies can occur on energy invoices, as they can on any type of bill, and, more often than not, such errors go unnoticed or unchallenged. Just like a customer of a restaurant wouldn’t leave without checking the bill was correct the same applies to your energy bill, this is when professional invoice validation can prove helpful, with the potential of saving you hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.

Procurement of Energy is also an important factor to help you reduce your costs when choosing a supplier.

Simply by following “The five Rs”

    • Right price
    • Right time
    • Right contract type
    • Right terms and conditions
    • Right contract duration

Out-sourcing your energy management may seem like a big step but, with energy costs higher now than they have been for the past two years, we believe understanding and controlling these costs are vital to your business’s future success.

Visible consumption

To continue making energy savings, businesses need to have clear visibility of their energy consumption across the whole asset base thus leading to the ability to act. Bespoke energy management portals such as Energy Management’s EM-Powered allow this to happen, whether your business operates on one site or across multiple locations.

As the name suggests, the portal empowers energy managers to compile an instant overview of their organisation’s actual energy consumption, predicted energy consumption and peak loads in an easily downloadable report.

On gaining a complete understanding of your business’s energy performance, informed decisions can then be made on energy efficiency measures.

Worth the energy

So, whilst energy efficiency might not be your bread and butter there are many things as a business you can do towards following a path of becoming more in control of your energy usage and being more efficient. With such a wide array of benefits on offer, beginning even a small review of your business is anything but a waste of energy.

If you would like further information please contact a member of the team sales@energymanagementltd.com or visit https://www.energymanagementltd.com/contact-us/ to see how we can help your business.