Smart meter roll-out moved back

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?

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.

 

Boris Johnson: Iran to blame for oil price surge

Energy Management’s Hannah Robinson takes a look at the latest geopolitical incident to cause oil prices to soar.

Background – what happened

On the 14th September 2019, Saudi Arabia was hit by missile attacks on two oil facilities. The attacks were carried out by 18 drones and seven cruise missiles travelling 500km undetected, which proceeded to hit the oil field and processing facility.

The attack caused large fires at the refineries, which according to the Saudi Arabian interior ministry were put out several hours later. The attacks wiped out 5 per cent of the world’s oil supply.

Billions of dollars had been spent on protecting Saudi Arabia against such attacks, including buying in defence systems from the United States, but to no avail on this occasion.

Boris Johnson’s opinion

Prime Minister Johnson agreed with Saudi Arabia in stating that he thought there was a ‘high degree of probability’ that Iran was behind the attacks on the two oil facilities. Johnson also refused to rule out military intervention and stated sanctions may also be a possibility.

“I can tell you that the UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks,” he commented. Mr Johnson said he will work with the US and European countries to give a response in an attempt to minimise building tensions.

Mr Johnson is due to meet with presidents from France, Germany and the US to discuss the attacks as well as Brexit, with himself and Trump agreeing there is a need for a united, diplomatic response in regard to Saudi Arabia.

Effect on oil prices

Oil prices spiked initially to almost 20 per cent due to the 5.7 million barrels of oil being taken from the supply chain. This is the largest spike since 1988. The price is still below that of last October ($85 dollars a barrel), but by the end of the day of the attack, prices had increased by 14.7%.

Saudi Arabia believes they can get oil production up and running again in a matter of weeks, however, if this doesn’t happen, we could be looking prices hitting the levels of 12 months ago – or higher.

Oil market analysts claim prices could surge towards $100 a barrel in the next few weeks if tensions in the Middle East continue due to renewed disruption in the Strait of Hormuz, a key transit route for the world’s oil tankers.

Source: BBC News, 2019

 

5 Things we learnt at Optimus Education’s Effective Financial Management in Schools Conference

Energy Management recently exhibited at Optimus Education’s Effective Financial Management in Schools Conference in London and a number of different energy-related themes were consistently brought up by visitors to our stand.

1. A holistic approach is key
Schools struggle to monitor their consumption across the board – water, electricity and gas – when dealing with multiple suppliers. As lots of schools are located across different sites, this can be problematic and confusing to anyone other than a skilled energy consultant.

2. Time poverty
Schools do not have time to procure energy effectively meaning they often get bad deals. We talked to representatives from schools who spent two days every three years procuring energy contracts; we do it 24/7, 365 days a year and pride ourselves in our ability to get the best price and best terms. Outsourcing procurement frees up time for schools to concentrate on their day-to-day core business activities.

3. Legislation minefield
We came across a few schools that were wrapped up in a minefield of red tape around compliance. Applying for VAT Decs was one specific problem identified by conference attendees. We have the skilled staff to sort out these headaches for you.

4. Energy efficiency issues
Becoming more energy efficient is a constant struggle for schools, especially older ones with Victorian-style heating systems and the lack of double-glazing. Opportunities to reduce consumption still exist though and a free energy efficiency health check workshop could help identify areas that work for you.

5. Positioning is everything!
We found schools were not constantly monitoring the energy market. Positioning yourself to be able to procure your energy at the correct time in the year is vital to cutting costs, whilst also enabling effective long-term budget management. Did you know you can secure your next renewal up to two years in advance?

Recognise any of the above issues? Working with Energy Management will not help your organisation become more energy efficient without any detriment to your output or the wellbeing of staff, but could also save you thousands of ££s.

To find out more about Optimus Education conferences, click here.

Energy prices leaving you hot under the collar?

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 2018 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.

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 LLP 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.

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 LLP 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 R’s”

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

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.

To continue making energy savings, businesses need to have a 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.

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 Billy Pryke at bp@energymanagementltd.com or visit https://www.energymanagementltd.com/contact-us/ to see how we can help your business.

Simple and effective ways to be more energy efficient

Free Business Energy Health Check

With Decarbonisation and other governmental social policies accounting for over half of energy bills, 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 LLP 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.

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.

Here are a few tips as to how you can make your organisation more energy efficient without breaking the bank or disrupting normal business practices.

Heating

Heating costs rise by 8% for every degree of overheating but there are a number of low-cost, low-disruption steps that can be taken to safeguard against this.

  • Maintain a good service and maintenance programme to ensure boilers and heaters are functioning as they should
  • Check thermostats are correctly set so your building is only being heated at the correct time
  • Close doors on leaving a room

Lighting

There are likely to be many actions you can take to improve lighting and achieve energy savings in your organisation.

  • Installation of LED lighting can make a significant difference to overall energy costs
  • Educate staff to turn off lights when they’re not needed
  • Fit timer devices or use occupancy sensors
  • Make the most of natural light coming into the building

Refrigeration

Refrigeration costs can make for chilling reading and, in some cases, account for over half the overall spend on electricity.

  • Ensure doors to refrigerated areas are kept closed
  • Check seals to refrigeration units are in good condition
  • Don’t overfill units as blocked air flow reduces efficiency
  • Upgrade old units

It is also worth supporting these measures by carrying out an energy audit, conducted by a fully certified energy assessor such as the ones provided by Energy Management.