Switching energy suppliers – what you need to know

Energy is often a business’ biggest running cost after wages. That is why it is crucial to ensure you are not paying over the odds for powering your office, factory or warehouse, particularly if you prefer the security of a fixed-term contract over a more flexible arrangement.

Many energy contracts simply rollover once the current term expires, and this can lead to a business paying more per unit for their gas and electricity than they need to.

With the market as volatile as it is right now, switching energy providers can be in your best interests. Normally, your energy supplier – whether it is one of the so-called ‘Big 6’ or one of the smaller operators – will contact you up to six months before your contract enters its renewal window.

Armed with the facts

At this time, it is important to have all the right information to hand and to understand how, when and where you are consuming the most energy, especially if you operate over multiple sites, as this could impact on how much you eventually pay.

Switching energy suppliers can take anything between four to six weeks but without any disruption to your current supply.

Many businesses, particularly at times of great stress, either don’t have the resources to handle this energy procurement process or do not have the expertise to shine a light on unfavourable terms and conditions which may hit the business financially in the long run.

If you consider yourself to be in such a situation, we’d be more than happy to assist you in getting the right deal at the right time and for the right duration.

Swing and you’re winning. Is now the best time to renew your energy contract?

All crises create winners and losers and the coronavirus pandemic is no different when it comes to how much businesses are paying for their energy.

Compare electricity and gas prices from the period before the pandemic took hold and adversely affected so many lives, to today’s market and there is no comparison.

With the global economic slowdown came a vast reduction in energy consumption – by as much as 38% in April – as factories and offices shut up shop, and prices plummeted as a result.

Summer 2021 electricity prices took a massive hit, falling by 32 per cent from the start of October until May 20, dropping from £55.01 to £37.50, while Summer 2022 swung by 24 per cent.

In terms of gas, there were equally big fluctuations over the near eight-month period. As of May 20th, Summer 2021 prices had gone from £53.34 to £30.23 – a 43 per cent reduction.

Our team of expert energy consultants constantly analyse the energy markets to help clients try and strike deals with suppliers at just the right time.

Whilst this is clearly not an exact science all the indications at present are that this is a good time to review your energy contract renewal options.

We are slowly starting to see the forward prices recover as the lockdown restrictions start to ease, but these costs are still low based on wholesale costs back in October/November 2019.

That lag won’t last forever though, and as more and more people go back to work, there will be an inevitable knock-on effect on prices as demand for energy increases.

If you would like to talk to us about your renewal options, please give us a call on 01225-867722.

Missed the ESOS deadline?

For qualifying companies, the deadline for phase 2 of ESOS passed on December 5, 2019.

Some companies have missed this cut-off point after finding the complexities of the compliance process more challenging than anticipated.

Faced with being hit with fines potentially running into tens of thousands of pounds, it is important for those companies to act now.

If you don’t have the time, money or dedicated resource to do this, our highly experienced team can take care of the paperwork on your behalf and help you mitigate those costs.

Here’s a reminder of which companies need to comply:

  • Those that employ at least 250 people; OR
  • has an annual turnover in excess of €50 million and a balance sheet in excess of €43 million.

ESOS assessments are carried out every four years and there are five separate UK regulators: Environment Agency, National Resources Wales, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Secretary of State for Business.

For more information please contact us on: 01225 867722 /sales@energymanagement.com

An energy framework that delivers for the public sector

Energy framework

Looking after the health, fitness, safety and education of the nation does not come cheap. In 2019, the figure for powering the public sector was estimated to be an eye-watering £3.4 billion.

Keeping offices, hospital wards, classrooms and leisure centres heated, lit, ventilated and air conditioned contributes towards a large percentage of a local authority’s total expenditure.

Controlling costs is a key focus for councils under financial pressure. Fundamental to this goal is smart energy procurement, even more so in times when the markets are volatile due to a host of geopolitical factors and health-related issues such as the coronavirus outbreak.

Buying energy is not always straightforward but the Choice Energy Framework (CEF), which involves a panel of six pre-selected suppliers, makes it as simple and as competitive as it can be.

With a range of supply parameters to consider (e.g. scope of services, technical capability, procurement mechanism), public sector clients need to have access to easy and ready to use Value for Money resources.

The aim of CEF is to make procuring these services more user-friendly. It minimises the cost of energy procurement while retaining accessibility and transparency.

Approved by The Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), the CEF enables signed-up organisations to avoid time-consuming form filling and could save them as much as £20,000 in admin fees.

The CEF has been developed by Shepton Mallet Town Council and is being managed by Energy Management LLP.

The result of this is a Framework Agreement designed and procured by the public sector, for the public sector, applicable throughout the United Kingdom.

For more details on CEF, click here.

Coronavirus and the energy price market

energy price

Subscribers to our Market Intelligence monthly bulletin will be only too aware that there are a multitude of factors driving the energy price market.

If you compare business electricity prices from one day to another, they can look very different depending on how bearish or bullish the market is.

On top of all the geopolitical and meteorological factors at play, the coronavirus is an extremely unwelcome addition to an already complex situation.

With the viral outbreak spreading to more countries, the price of oil has dropped markedly as global demand weakens even further due to production cuts in places like China, the source of the COVID-19 disease.

Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 14% for the week to its lowest levels since July 2017, closing Friday at a fraction over $50 a barrel. Cuts in oil production are now being called for by countries such as Saudi Arabia to stabilise demand.

For any energy consultant, such scenarios present challenges, especially around energy procurement, which is why experience is so important in good energy management.

Through years spent in the industry, Energy Management’s energy consultants know the markets inside and out and are across all the news that could impact on our clients’ energy deals.

And this knowledge is complemented by energy management portals such as EM-Powered and its wide-ranging benefits, including the ability to compare business energy consumption over specified periods of time.

That historical data can then be used to help our energy consultants make better-informed decisions on the type of energy procurement right for your business.

Why energy procurement is best left in the hands of the experts

For the first time in history, more UK power came from renewable sources than from fossil fuels in the calendar year ending December 2019.  National Grid described it as “a historic moment”.

Wind power provides the largest percentage of the UK’s overall renewable energy output, making up 20% of the UK’s electricity following a series of major windfarm openings in recent years.

And with energy derived from solar power around the 6% mark, roughly a quarter of the UK’s renewable energy output is dependent on the right weather conditions.

While the wind is blowing a gale at the moment, thanks to Storm Dennis, that’s not always the case and, as we all know in this country, the sun can never be trusted to shine as long as we’d like it to.

Market vulnerability

But the vagaries of the weather are not the only strong drivers when it comes to the price people pay for their electricity.

From faulty nuclear reactors to the US-China trade talks and even the assassination of Iranian warlord, Major General Qasem Soleimani, the last few months alone has illustrated how the market is vulnerable to a host of geopolitical issues.

Understanding the market and the mechanisms that may trigger wild fluctuations in price is an important facet of energy procurement.

Right price, right time

A good level of market intelligence – through a combination of experience and accessibility to 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.

Speaking literally, 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

 

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.

Introducing the Choice Energy Framework

Buying energy has become far from straightforward in recent years, due to the increased complexity and volatility of the energy markets.

However, the negotiating skills of our energy consultants and the outstanding relationships we enjoy with energy suppliers enable us to minimise costs on your behalf, through our energy procurement offering.

For public sector organisations with increasingly tight budgets, reducing energy spend is top priority. As such, we have signed a framework agreement that will allow public sector organisations to access the best energy solutions for their business, called the Choice Energy Framework (CEF).

Using our experience as a leading energy consultancy, Energy Management has put together a shortlist of four energy suppliers.

Each supplier will be invited to offer various contracts of 12, 24, 36 and 48 months.

The four suppliers have been shortlisted for the following reasons: tariff competitiveness, billing accuracy, max/min volume threshold restrictions and terms and conditions.

The right time, price and product

Crucial factors in the purchasing decision are the length, type and timing of energy contracts.

Our market intelligence reports and analysis allows us to look at both long and short-term trends in the energy market and produce a tailor-made solution for your organisation. This could be a full flex, mid-flex or fixed-price agreement which gives you either greater security or allows fluctuating energy prices to work to your advantage.

“Energy Management’s accurate forecasting and measured and sensible advice on buying in the wholesale market has eased supply changes and negotiated the most favourable tariffs possible for us.” – David English, Commercial Director at Restore Records Management.

What are the benefits of the Choice Energy Framework?

  • An increase in buying power equals reduced costs, due to the capped £1.5bn framework and supplier prices with margins reflecting the high volumes of energy used by the public sector.
  • OJEU tendering will be made simple for you. This is down to CEF being fully OJEU compliant, meaning your organisation by-passes the lengthy process, producing savings up to £20,000.
  • It offers a total approach to energy management, this is down to us taking care of your invoice validation, budget management, risk management as well as assisting with legislation and compliance after successful procurement of a contract.

For more information in regards to public procurement and the CEF, please contact us by email: sales@energymanagementltd.com or phone: 01225 867722 / www.energymanagementltd.com

We are also attending the Public Sector FM (Financial Management) event at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, on 12 November. Come and visit us on stand FM12!

Smart meter roll-out moved back

smart-meter-rolled-out-delayed-energy-management-news

Smart Meter roll-out deadline delayed by four years until 2024

Smart meter technology allows energy users to monitor and measure real-time energy consumption without the need for a physical meter reading, saving time and helping to improve efficiencies.

Recognising the important role they play in saving energy consumption, the government’s ‘smart grid’ plan was for all Gas and Electricity suppliers to take steps to roll out smart meters to all their 1, 2 (domestic), 3 and 4 (Small business) class customers by 2020; however, this target has now been extended to 2024.

Why has the smart meter been delayed?

With 35 million homes still without a smart meter, it was felt that levels of customer service would be compromised if the scheme was rushed through.

Also, as time is no longer in such short supply, energy companies will also be less inclined to adopt aggressive techniques to try and encourage people to have smart meters fitted.

By dropping the date back to 2024, this allows time for fixing any meters that are already in use but suffer from poor connectivity and any other issues.

Rising costs

The government are working hard to make sure the cost to customers isn’t too high. Already, the cost of the roll-out has gone from 11 billion in 2016 to 13.5 billion today and this has been passed on to the customer through higher energy bills.

The consumer group, Citizens Advice, welcomed the decision as they acknowledge it has been done in the best interests of the customer.