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10 questions to ask your business energy provider

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About to renew with your energy supplier? Read this first…

Did your business pay too much for energy last year? Are you struggling to reduce consumption? We explain how to save your business time and money by asking these questions of your supplier, so you can boost your profits and competitiveness this year…

1 How can you help me reduce my energy consumption?

To truly drive down your energy bill you need to stop using so much. Is your supplier giving you the advice and help to do this?

2 Can you show me my daily energy use?

If you can see how much you are using day-by-day or hour-by-hour you can uncover ways to seriously lower your bills. One of the key questions is how much are you using when the business is closed.

3 How often will you be in touch?

You want a supplier that is going to be in regular contact and that you know will be available to answer any questions you have.

4 How many prices should I get?

The problem with going direct to an energy supplier for prices is that you now need to contact multiple suppliers to get a true spread of prices.

5 Can you tell me about the laws I have to comply with?

Is your supplier informing you about directives and laws that could hit your business in the pocket if you don’t comply? Ask them about the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), Display Energy Certificates (DEC), Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and ISO 50001.

6 Do you offer energy and water audits?

Audits can give your business insight into what you’re using, helping you to reduce consumption by 33% in terms of energy and 45% for water. Air conditioning inspections are also a legal requirement. Can your energy supplier deliver all of these?

7 Will you help me switch water supplier?

In Scotland you can already switch water suppliers – it’s helped businesses there save 20% on their bills. Now many firms can do the same in England. Has your energy supplier told you whether you’re one of them?

8 Can I have all my bills in the same time period?

It’s hard to budget when your utility bills arrive at different times. Can your energy supplier streamline them to suit your needs?

9 Our deal is restrictive – can you be more flexible?

Negotiating the right contract terms and package is a minefield. Are you confident you can secure the right one for your business from your current supplier? Is it offering multiple bespoke deals?

10 Is my electricity and gas bills correct?

Many businesses are paying too much for their energy, sometimes because they don’t understand their bills or they’re on the wrong tariff. Do you have time to check every bill down to the last penny?

How Utilitywise can help

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The easiest way to get the right answer to these questions is not by spending time chasing energy suppliers but by going to one place: Utilitywise.

For small firms, we can save you time analysing your power and water bills (to see what’s hidden) and take the hassle of trying to contact energy suppliers. Large businesses can benefit from our strategic approach to procurement and our expertise in areas where in-house they may not have a subject covered.

We can give any business total insight into power, gas and water consumption and put it in the palm of your hand with our utility insight app.

Whatever the size of your operation, we can help manage the entire portfolio energy procurement process, secure the right contract and manage the switch. By tracking your renewal dates, we can contact you with a new tariff at renewal so you don’t fall out of contract.

We found bingo hall operator Shipley Brothers the right contract and helped it save around £56,000 against budget for electricity, and it can now switch strategy to suit market conditions during it.

Our consultant team can inspect all your air conditioning systems – we contributed to the original TM44 Air Conditioning Inspections, so there’s little we don’t know about air con inspections and compliance. Our water audits and energy audits deliver impressive reductions in consumption.

The energy market is complex. No single energy manager can know everything. We have the expertise in-house at Utilitywise to understand energy, your position in the market and how to manage risk.

On top of this, we have a Utility Management Plan that can help you control your utilities once and for all, helping you reduce energy and water costs so you can concentrate on what you do best: running your business.

Krispy Kreme, the global doughnut experts, saved £84,000 thanks to a Strategic Utility Management Plan.

Let us answer all your questions and use our expertise to tailor a Utility Management Plan for you. Contact us today.

 

Energy

Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?

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The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?

The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.

Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.

The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.

Introducing New Technology

The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.

  • To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
  • Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
  • Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.

How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy

Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.

The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.

The Internet of Things

Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.

Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.

Blockchain Technology

It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)

The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.

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Energy

4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy

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Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.

However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?

A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.

1.     Boulder Nissan

When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:

  • Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
  • They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
  • Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.

This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.

2.     Valley Electric Association

In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.

“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”

The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.

This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.

3.     Las Vegas Casinos

A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.

“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”

There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.

4.     Boston College

Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.

Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.

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