managing stress

April marks the start of Stress Awareness Month 2022 and it’s a great opportunity to take a moment to think about our wellbeing and managing stress, both at home and in the workplace.

At UGP we want to help our people and other stakeholders manage their worries, stresses and pressures so we’ve developed a few top tips that we think will help:

If you want to learn more about different ways to manage your stress both in the work place or at home, check out https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/stress/managing-stress-and-building-resilience/ who have great top tips on how to do so!

Having recently started a new role in HR at United Gas & Power, I understand that I play a vital role in terms of our employees’ health and wellbeing. We acknowledge different workplace stressors; we recognise the signs and we understand that as a business, we need to put measures in place for our people so that as an organisation, we do all we can to reduce the damaging effects of stress. At UGP these measures come in the form of;

This month’s Stress Awareness theme is Community where Stress.org.uk have chosen the theme because “the pandemic has had a hugely detrimental effect on the nation’s mental health and sense of community.” After the turbulent couple of years our industry has felt, community support and spirit has never been so important, so we wanted to offer some messages to our energy community.

To all the suppliers, shippers, and brokers who have felt the same pressures over the past couple of years, who are uncertain on what advice to offer or who are in need of a little break we’re here to support you, and together we can make sure we help one another through another year.

To our customers, we know how challenging a time it may be right now. The news you see about the energy industry can be unsettling and all the changes to prices can be confusing but we’re here to help and we want to offer guidance and advice. Just give our 5-star customer service team and Account Managers a call, who want to put your needs first and give you the knowledge you need during this time. See how we can support you and what we have to offer!

To our employees, for UGP the rest of Stress Awareness Month is for reflecting, improving on what we already have and continuing to put you at the front of everything we do. Stepping into the HR role marks the perfect opportunity for me to review how we currently approach stress in the workplace, and I look forward to researching what we can offer and listening to what you want.

In listening to our community, adapting to people’s needs, and continuing to change for the better we can ensure we have a positive impact on our people, customers, and community.

5 customer services values to make you stand our from the crows

Ensuring that your customers have a great experience is important to any business, as it’s the key to attracting and retaining customers. In the energy sector, it’s never been more critical. Here at UGP our Customer Service Team put customers at the heart of what we do to ensure that we not only leave our customers satisfied, we also ensure that we make the right decisions, for the long term.

As Customer Service Manager, the success of my team is built according to these top 5 customer services values:

When talking to customers in a B2B environment, it’s our customers business, income and livelihoods they are talking to us about. Challenges will be faced and our aim is to make contacting UGP the easiest and most pleasurable experience that it can be. Feedback on how we are doing is welcomed, whether good or bad. The personal touch makes a huge difference in customer service ratings, and I pride myself and my team on this. Our team has superb success rates; over 98% of queries resolved satisfactorily and on time. Our complaint resolution times are industry leading and I take great pride in how low our repeat complaints are.

Working for a company that embraces my own personal values makes my job enjoyable and rewarding on a daily basis.

 

2021 saw the unfortunate continuation of the covid pandemic which meant supplies were still interrupted and workforces struggled to operate as normal. However, many have also started to ‘learn to live’ with covid with a mass vaccination roll-out, so there is hope that 2022 may offer a gentle return to stability and the chance to focus on the future.

So what does 2022 have in store for a more environmentally sustainable future?

Plant Based Products Continue to Grow

Veganuary often brings about a surge in publicity for plant-based alternatives, new recipes and shifts in attitude towards food. However, 2022 is particularly significant and many fast-food franchises have made huge efforts to go plant based. Burger King has introduced the UK’s first plant-based alternative to chicken nuggets, McDonald’s has gone green with a plant-based burger and KFC have also launched a vegan version of their classic chicken burger. Energy Live News reported that by switching 10% of the world’s meat to plant-based food the ‘could be a saving of 176m tonnes of CO2 by 2030’ because Global consumption of meat reached 385 million tonnes in 2018, which translates to at least 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The Energy Crisis

The story that dominated the latter half of 2021 and continues to remain current is the energy crisis and drastic calls for the Government to start stepping in and providing solutions for people and businesses. Many in the industry are urging the Government to start making changes. Octopus boss Greg Jackson has urged the government to ‘spread the cost of the energy crisis’, and that urgent action is required to halt “very high increases” on energy bills. Speaking on the Times Radio, Jackson said: “Unless action is taken, we will start to see those very, very high increases come through to the consumer market.” As global gas prices continue to rise leaving markets in trading turmoil, nearly one-third of Britons are afraid they will not be able to pay their bills this year. That’s according to a YouGov survey published in The Times which suggests 33% of people expected their fuel bills to become “unaffordable”.

A Drive in EV Cars

A new report from Zap-Map has unveiled less than 1% of electric vehicle (EV) drivers would go back to petrol or diesel cars. Driver satisfaction for EVs and plug-in hybrids was much higher than petrol or diesel cars, with the charged-up vehicles scoring 91/100, compared with just 74/100 for combustion vehicles. Transport Minister Trudy Harrison commented on the study: “These survey results show that drivers are becoming increasingly confident in making the switch to EVs and I hope this data encourages others to consider going electric as we work towards the UK’s ambitious net zero targets. “We’ve committed £2.5 billion to accelerate the rollout of zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure across the country, ensuring the transition is as simple as possible for motorists, as we take steps towards a greener transport future.” We are hoping this means that EV vehicles will become more available and accessible to the wider public so that more can make the switch.

A Rise in Solar Installations

Developing distributed solar capacity will be an objective for policy makers in many important markets around the world. China will continue its ongoing effort to increase dramatically the utilisation of distributed solar in its rural areas. Germany’s new coalition government has a target of installing 200 gigawatts of solar by 2030, which will rely heavily on residential solar resources. And distributed solar will remain the dominant model in Japan, Australia, Belgium, and Poland. In the coming year, policymakers and energy service providers around the world will also increasingly leverage the growing distributed solar fleet to support grid stability and provide flexibility. This means the US, for example, will continue to see distributed solar combined with storage and / or electric vehicle charging infrastructure. More Australian households will add storage to their rooftop solar systems to hedge against the rising cost of interconnection and lower solar electricity export tariffs and more countries will use distributed solar and energy storage to bring electricity services to disadvantaged communities.

Recycle or Re-use

Some of the bigger names in retail are making waves by implementing recycle schemes that reward. Boots are trialling a recycle scheme were you bring back empty bottles of products and you’re rewarded with points. Similarly H+M are allowing customers to drop off unwanted clothes or textiles from any brand and any condition in return for a store voucher. Don’t want to recycle? eBay have launched a campaign encouraging everyone to sell on any unwanted items instead of throwing them away or dumping them.

Renewable Energy Expands

Renewable energy was one of the big winners from COP26, including a ‘Breakthrough Agenda’ commitment to make clean power “the most affordable and reliable option” for all countries and to phase out coal. The IEA forecasts that the global renewable energy generation capacity will increase by 60% over the next 5 years. The UK is leading the way with its commitment to generate 100% of its power from renewable sources by 2035, including plans to ban coal by 2024. In its latest Contracts for Difference (CfD) round, the government has increased funding to £285 million.

 

Make The Switch Today!

Why not make 2022 the year you make your business more renewable? Speak to one of our team today on 0800 669 6697 or complete our Get A Quote form, it only takes a minute!

Carrot or stick? How do we get businesses behind the UK's future net zero target?

Which works best: the carrot or the stick? Is punishment more effective than positive reinforcement and more importantly, which method will make the biggest impact when it comes to reaching the UK’s net zero objectives?

Net zero means achieving a balance between the greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere and those taken out. For this to become a reality many government bodies and eco organisations are suggesting that more direct action needs to be taken, suggesting that the road to compliance lies in punishing businesses that do not get behind the charge to become more sustainable.

Last month the Government announced new funding plans following COP26. Officials said about £26bn of funding towards green planning would come from the public sector over the next spending review period, from 2021 to 2025, with more than £60bn expected from the private sector. They pointed to nearly £6bn in overseas investment in green projects in the UK since Johnson set out his 10-point green plan last year, and said the investment was essential for the UK to remain competitive in the global race to a green economy. However, a parallel document – the Net Zero Review – published by the Treasury showed that the government was likely to lose tens of billions in revenues from fossil fuel taxes and highlighted other risks from green policies such as businesses moving abroad and the potential need for new taxes.

Kevin Anderson, a professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester, said: “The UK’s net zero strategy falls far short of both its Paris and G7 temperature and equity commitments. Scour the associated spreadsheets and the numbers reveal a story of subterfuge, delusion, offsetting and piecemeal policies – all dressed up as a shiny new strategy for Cop26”.

Does this mean it’s now time to get tough?

Business leaders are focusing more on delivering their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. This places climate response and the road to net zero at the core of business strategy, many of whom recognise the need for change – not solely for compliance purposes, but in order to remain competitive in a consumer world becoming increasingly concerned with the environmental credentials of the businesses they choose to engage with.

Currently there are many tax policies, levies and subsidies have been put in place to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Well-intentioned as these policies may be, the patchwork approach of successive governments has resulted in wildly inconsistent incentives to reduce emissions. Overall tax rates on emissions vary dramatically, including by the source of the emissions and the type of end user. Setting highly uneven incentives is an inefficient way to reduce emissions and is making the transition to net zero more costly than it needs to be. Therefore then, this isn’t the one optimum solution.

Ultimately, it seems that a combination of the carrot and stick is needed in this approach. Unless properly thought-out, grants and incentives are at risk of failing to make a meaningful difference. For example, the failure of the green homes grant that happened earlier this year – this was the result of long delays in issuing vouchers and paying installers, leaving many installers owed significant amounts of money. Many have pulled out of the scheme and some householders have waited more than five months for the grants to install heat pumps and solar thermals to replace fossil fuel heating systems.

It’s clear that more needs to be done and that new tax policies are unlikely to work unless there’s a balance with incentives and grants. Businesses and domestic consumers both have a part to play but are limited unless the Government provides some help.

One thing that all businesses can do today however is switch to a renewable energy supplier. UGP is rated 5 stars on Trust Pilot and is here and ready to help you make the switch to a more renewable future. Get a quote today.

 

I was never much of an “eco ambassador” – to me the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability lay firmly at the foot of our world leaders and government bodies. Sure, I did my bit, half-heartedly recycling when it was convenient for me, but I never really thought it was something I could do anything about. Saving the planet was someone else’s problem not mine – let’s leave it to the green party and “eco campaigners” was my distorted attitude – they know more than me. How wrong I was and how little I understood.

In 2011 I had my first child and my perspective changed entirely. Suddenly, the future of our planet wasn’t just about me – it became about my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and I began to think about the issues a little deeper. I became acutely aware of the result that the actions I take today will directly and unequivocally impact the future for my family.

The news this week is awash with COP26 pledges and commitments; and of course it should be. Part way through the summit, I’m delighted to see that some progress seems to be afoot.

More than 100 world leaders have promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. The countries who have signed the pledge – including Canada, Brazil, Russia, China, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the US and the UK (the full list is here) – cover around 85% of the world’s forests.

The US and the EU have announced a global partnership to cut emissions of the greenhouse gas methane by 2030. The Global Methane Pledge aims to limit methane emissions by 30% compared with 2020 levels. It is one of the most potent greenhouse gases and responsible for a third of current warming from human activities.

South Africa is set to receive $8.5bn (£6.2bn) to help end its reliance on coal in a deal announced at the COP26 climate summit. The country is currently a major emitter of greenhouse gases as a result of its addiction to coal, which it uses to generate electricity.

This deal, funded by wealthier nations, could have both global and local implications.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has said his Bezos Earth Fund will spend $2bn (£1.5bn) restoring landscapes and transforming food systems. Entrepreneurs including Mr Bezos have been criticised for spending money on trips into space instead of solving problems on Earth. The Bezos Earth Fund plans to spend $10bn fighting climate change overall.

But in witnessing the COP26 highlights so far, what’s painfully clear to me is that, despite what eventually results at the end of this week, without the effort of every person and business inhabiting the earth, right now, we won’t be able to make a meaningful impact to the very real threat that faces our existence for future generations.

I joined United Gas & Power, a UK commercial energy supplier in 2019, in a marketing role – not to save the planet, but to support and provide for my family as a single mum. Little did I know that in that same year I’d be a part of a scheme that resulted in the business making a full commitment to renewable power for all its customers. I’ve had many highlights in my 25-year career, but this was undoubtedly one of the most memorable.

As the Head of Marketing for UGP I wanted to write something meaningful this week about how we can all affect change in the light of COP26 – but my words will always fall short because without tangible action, I’m just another voice in a sea of voices that know far more than I. So, Instead I thought I’d highlight the efforts of a new, up and coming UK business that has taken it upon themselves to lead the way.

Dukeries Retreat is a business that was born in the chaos of the covid lock down. A hospitality business offering luxury UK glamping, that decided to challenge convention in one of the worst market conditions the industry has ever faced. Their commitment to sustainability is exemplary and at UGP we’re proud to be a part of their story.

Check out their case study here – I hope it will inspire other businesses to follow suit and seek out a sustainable way of working, so that our future generations can continue to enjoy our beautiful planet.

And if you want to check out a fabulous staycation site, a number of UGP employees have been and loved it – check it out! https://www.dukeriesretreat.co.uk

Joanna Czternastek

Head of Marketing, United Gas & Power

 

 

 

The cost of energy is never far from the headlines and with prices set to soar this winter, it may surprise you to learn which sectors will be hit the hardest. In this blog, we’ve tallied up the kWh (kilowatt hour measure of power usage) across a variety of common UK businesses.

Whilst consumption can vary vastly from sector to sector it won’t come as much of a shock that the transport and the manufacturing industry such as textile production use a lot of power, but how do some of our most common businesses fare?

1) Supermarkets –

Unsurprisingly, large supermarkets use on average 1130000 kwh a year, this is down to the large amount of power needed to keep refrigerators cold, freezers frozen, large lighting units and with amenities usually in store like a bakers.

2) Hotels –

Especially large hotels that have facilities like restaurants on site or even pools or saunas will find themselves raking up about 250,000 kwh a year.

3) 24 Hour Gyms/Leisure Centres –

Gym equipment, lighting, showers, computers, pools and air conditioning quickly add up but even more so if they are running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All this equates to an average of 125,000 kwh a year.

4) Restaurants –

Hard working chefs in busy kitchens plus the need for ample fridge and freezer space usually in the form of a walk-in freezer mean restaurants come out at an average of 85,000 kwh a year.

5) Small Gyms (with set opening/closing times) –

As previously mentioned gym’s consume a lot of energy however by implementing set opening hours the average goes down to 60,000 kwh a year.

6) Small Offices –

Since covid there has been a decline in large office blocks with many businesses seeing the savings of working remotely. However, there are still several small offices and even hybrid and hot desking solutions. Due to numerous computers and laptops, printers, scanners, copiers, kettles or boiling water taps, lighting and air con whilst even still being a small office set-up this average comes out at 50,000 kwh a year.

7)Hairdressers –

Standing hair dryers, curlers, straighteners, hand-held hair dryers and hot water all use power and even our small high street local hairdressers use an average of 40,000 kwh a year.

8) Clothes Stores –

Even just small high street stores can find lighting, air con/heating, tills and computers can equate to 25,000 kwh a year.

9) Coffee Shops –

When making a coffee the coffee machine will use around 300 to 600 watts of power for 2 cups of coffee and 1000 to 1500 watts for 8-10 cups of coffee. We estimate that an average coffee maker will use 800 watts to produce 4 cups of coffee in 10 minutes. Whilst this may make you think twice about how often you use that fancy machine at home, spare a thought for coffee shops that use an average of 19,008 kwh a year.

Many of these sectors have been put under strain throughout covid, and as energy prices soar in the run up to winter the need to keep energy costs down is on many a business owners mind.

Speak to one of our team today and find out how switching to UGP can save you money. Call our dedicated account managers on 0844 318 0044.

United Gas Power Creating the New Normal: Environmental Lessons to Remember

Covid lock-down restrictions are beginning to lift, and we are welcoming more daylight into our days perhaps finally signalling the end of the pandemic. Schools have returned and we all seem to be bracing ourselves for the next stage of the Government’s roadmap. Whilst the last year has undoubtedly been difficult for people and businesses across the UK, there are some key lessons that we should be mindful of if we are to build a greener, more sustainable future.

During the first lock-down of March 2020 we witnessed a dramatic reduction in emissions, pollution and a significantly positive effect on the environment. The aftermath of the first major lockdown proved that we as humans can make a difference. Maps using data collected from NASA and European Space Agency satellites show how nitrogen dioxide, a dangerous gas released by burning fuel, has dissipated since the outbreak. “This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, said in a statement. Similarly, in Venice again thanks to initial lockdown measures the canals became the cleanest they have been in 60 years, and dolphins were spotted swimming in clearer water.

It’s unrealistic to expect that such low levels of emissions will remain as the world opens up again. Demands on certain industries are unlikely to fall and if anything, be on a larger scale in the effort to jumpstart economies globally. But if we can take one positive impact from recent events, it is that small changes to the way we live and behave can make a marked impact to the global fight on climate change.

Joe Biden has already shown the world that he is serious about environmental issues, one of his very first acts as president was to reinstate the US in the Paris Climate Agreement. Additionally, he has laid out in detail plans to make America an influential force in fighting climate change. There has, however, been speculation as to how he will be able to create jobs in the renewable sector when currently most of the worlds solar panels and wind turbines are manufactured in China. Therefore, we can only assume at this stage that plans are underway to bring manufacturing to America.

Closer to home, the recent budget announcement from Rishi Sunak has given some hope that the previously announced ‘build back green’ plan from Boris Johnson is coming to fruition. The budget has a huge focus on the renewable sector, with budget being allocated to energy projects in Scotland and Wales such as the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub and the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone. Sunak also recapped on a previous pledge regarding offshore wind, saying “Offshore wind is an innovative industry, where the UK already has a global competitive advantage. So, we’re funding new port infrastructure to build the next generation of wind projects in Teesside and Humberside.” The scheme would see the government invest £160m in developing ports and infrastructure for offshore wind manufacturing and deployment.

With all of these factors considered we think there are a number of key learnings that we’d like to see remembered as we return to normality:

Switch to a Green Energy Provider

The single most impactful thing a business can do is switch to a green energy provider. We help our customers to reduce their carbon footprint and enhance their sustainability agendas by ONLY supplying great value 100% green power generated from wind, solar, hydro at no additional cost. Our rates are highly competitive, against renewable and non-renewable suppliers, and we’re confident we’ll save you money as well as help you do your part for the planet.

Drive less, walk more

Being forced to stay put saw many of us get back to nature and explore the many parks, forests and nature reserves the UK has to offer, even exploring the nearest ‘bit of green’ in walking distance has major health benefits. Walking regularly burns calories, strengthens the heart, lowers blood sugar, improves mood and can improve creative thinking.

Staycation

It’s fair to say not everyone will want to swap all of their holidays abroad for staycations but having had to for the past year (when allowed) many have seen that the UK does have a great deal to offer for breaks and holidays. Just swapping one flight for one staycation will have a dramatic effect on your own personal carbon footprint!

Print Less

As many of us have worked from home for the best part of an entire year access to something like printing has probably proved a little difficult for most. Consequently, many of us have had to think twice or even completely stop what we print, saving paper and the planet.

Buy Local

With covid restricting some imports and exports, many of us have been switching to local suppliers for our everyday essentials. Not only does this result in a greatly reduced carbon footprint, it also means you’re supporting local businesses and the economy as a whole.

With the combination of government’s proposals, green project budget allocations and everyone working together, we may just see a greener future after all. If you would like more information on how you and your business can build back greener then contact one of our advisors today on 0844 318 0044 or fill in this quick form.

What Does Rishi’s New Budget Mean for the UK’s Green Agenda?

Rishi Sunak recently delivered his second budget under the cloud of the coronavirus pandemic; his last ahead of the country hosting the COP26 UN climate talks. The UK Government’s Budget announcement has legislated for the creation of an infrastructure bank and green finance schemes that could benefit the power industry in the country. But what else does this mean for the UK’s renewable agenda and net zero target?

As part of wider “accelerated growth deals”, the chancellor said that energy projects in Scotland and Wales would benefit from the budget. These included the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub, the Aberdeen Energy Transition Zone, and the Global Underwater Hub, also in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen will also benefit from the North Sea Transition Deal, a government plan to incentivise the decarbonisation of its offshore industry. Trade body Oil and Gas UK said that the deal, expected to be implemented in the first half of 2021, would be “essential” to decarbonisation.

Directly following this, Sunak moved on to offshore wind development, recapping a previously announced pledge to develop the UK’s offshore wind sector. He said: “Offshore wind is an innovative industry, where the UK already has a global competitive advantage. So we’re funding new port infrastructure to build the next generation of wind projects in Teesside and Humberside.”

In what is being seen as one of the most significant parts of this years’ budget for climate action, Sunak announced that the UK’s net-zero goal will be added to the remit of the Bank of England, having become part of the government’s overall “economic policy objective”. The budget promises that the government will issue its first “sovereign green bond – or green gilt” in summer 2021, a move it had already announced last November. At least £15bn in government debt will be specifically earmarked for supporting “green objectives”, with further details of how it can be spent expected in June.

In another move trailed before the budget, Sunak also announced a “green retail savings product” commencing in summer 2021, which will “give all UK savers the opportunity to take part in the collective effort to tackle climate change”. The money raised will be spent according to the same rules as the government’s new green gilts.

A centrepiece for climate-focused government spending over the past year has been the “green homes grant”, which allows people to apply for vouchers to cover the cost of home insulation or installing low-carbon heating. The chancellor first announced the £2bn in grants for home-efficiency upgrades, as well as £1bn for improvements in public buildings, as part of his “green recovery” plans in July 2020, although his party’s election manifesto had previously promised £9.2bn for energy efficiency.

This was then given a boost in the prime minister’s 10-point plan published last November, when a further £1bn and an extra year was added to the existing scheme for home improvements. However, at the same time, stories emerged of a scheme beset by difficulties, with suppliers going unpaid and customers waiting months to take advantage of the grants.

After much speculation, reports surfaced in February that the government did not intend to roll over most of the unspent grants to the next financial year, effectively withdrawing £1bn in funding and leaving just £320m for 2021 to 2022.

On the announcement of an infrastructure bank, legal and business services firm DWF partner Darren Walsh said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement to create the first ever UK Infrastructure Bank. We note that the first projects will cover port infrastructure, but we are hopeful that green energy projects will be prioritised to facilitate the enhancement of the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for net-zero carbon and a drive towards our green revolution.

“We hope that nascent green technologies such as tidal and hydrogen are supported as well as seeing further development of onshore wind and solar PV. This is further great news for sponsors, developers, and investors and the entire low-carbon supply chain.”

The UK has legislated to make all new cars at least partly electric by 2030. Car leasing comparison website LeaseLoco CEO John Wilmot said: “The lack of any meaningful funding announcement by the Chancellor on the electric car switchover is disappointing.”

One action all businesses can take to further the UK’s progress towards a greener future is to switch to a renewable energy provider such as United Gas & Power. Speak to one of our account managers today; either call us on 0844 318 0044 or complete this quick form.

International Women's Day 2021: Celebrating Women in Energy

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality. This year we are marking the day by profiling some of the wonderful women who work for UGP.

The energy sector is widely regarded as one of the least gender diverse areas of the economy. A recent report by the professional initiative POWERful Women and consulting giant PwC studied the board member composition of 80 companies in the UK energy space.  It found that 38% of the UK’s top energy companies had no women members on their boards. Also, more than two-thirds of the firms lacked a single woman-occupied executive seat.

United Gas and Power are determined to lead the way and ensure we have stronger representation of women in the workforce. Additionally, however, UGP is not merely employing more women to tip this numerical target but rather creating a workplace that empowers and encourages the employment, development and progression of everyone irrespective of gender.

Sally Rusbatch United Gas and Power

Sally Rusbatch, Account Manager

“The energy industry used to be very male dominated, but that has really changed now. When I started at UGP I was the only woman in the sales team, our team is now almost a 50/50 split. The results of the team are evenly split as well, showing your gender has literally no affect on your performance to do well in energy.

We have a number of strong women working in every side of our business from the bottom to the top, so much so, gender is never even a topic of conversation – equality goes without saying here.

As a woman, I have worked in a number of male dominated sectors and found success. When hiring other females, many would find that daunting though and re-consider taking a job in that bullish environment. I have found though, all it takes is a few bold ladies and there is no barrier to others joining and becoming a truly versatile and comfortable environment.

I love working in energy. So many of our competitors are heavily male dominated. I think what sets us apart is our customer service and rapport building, patient account management and solution focus. A real step away from the brash experiences many companies experience from brokers and supplies with macho sales teams.”

Kimberley Whitaker UGP

Kimberley Whitaker, Business Improvement Manager

“I am a mum to three boys ranging from the age of almost 2 to almost 17!  I live with my partner Ben in Baildon.  I hadn’t had experience of working in the energy industry until I started work for UGP in May 2015.

I have had various roles at UGP, ranging from Credit Controller to Billing Manager, Office Manager, Customer Service Manager, and now I am the Business Improvement Manager.  Pretty much all areas of the business (except Sales!)

I really enjoy working in this industry as no two days are the same! I have seen UGP’s growth over the years and I am very proud to say I have been here (almost) from the beginning 😊 “.

Chloe Hollins United Gas and Power

Chloe Hollins, Sales Support

“On International Women’s Day and as a female in a notoriously male dominated industry, it’s important for me to feel like I’ve been given the tools, skills and support I need to progress in my career. My time at UGP has shown just that and I have been able to develop in my role in Sales within the Major Accounts team. Going above and beyond for our customers is something we pride ourselves on and for me to feel confident to make decisions that will be supported, knowing my opinions are respected, listened to and used on key projects and to know my voice matters ensures I can do just that.

Whilst relatively new to UGP I have worked in the energy industry for 7 years and even in this short time I’ve seen a lot of changes to the industry as a whole. The energy sector has always been a male dominated industry, with board members, directors and managers not being a reflection of the company they work in. Whilst I believe there is still work to be done on the industry as a whole, I’m happy to work for a company that is continuously evolving, with an SLT made up of over 50% women, it shows that change is happening.

To continue to change, evolve and educate as individuals, businesses and communities we’ll make positive impacts on the people around us and the planet we live on. On that note Happy International Women’s day to all the wonderful women and people in my life that help me be better and do better every day!”

UGP has more people identifying as male than female, with 35% identifying as female. While we’ve a little way to go to reach the 45% national average for female representation, in a typically male dominated sector, we are steadily closing the gap (figures correct as at October 2020). Importantly, across UGP’s managerial team, women represent 43% of all employees.

Even more significantly, United Gas & Powers Senior Management team is a trail blazing 50/50 male/female split! You can see more on our diversity report in the below video –

The energy sector still has a long way to go but UGP is excited to be leading the way in a more diverse workforce and helping to shape this new landscape.

We’re hiring! Interested in joining the UGP family? Check out our current vacancies here.

Post Covid-19: Can We Build Back Greener?

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on businesses, jobs, health and society. But one impact that’s more difficult to quantify is the impact on the environment. Initially, lockdown coupled with the world’s industry grinding to a halt resulted in significant reductions in carbon emissions and pollution, especially in countries such as China and Iran.

Nevertheless, as soon as possible these industries were back to emitting emissions, with many experts voicing concerns they’d be at a higher rate than prior to lock down in order to make up for lost revenue during lockdown.

The Government in the UK has announced that businesses are set to benefit from £134 million investment, enabling ground-breaking clean growth projects, developing new technologies and securing new jobs. Could this recent announcement ensure that in the UK at least, we build back greener and make larger steps to a renewable future?

Among the businesses set to benefit are projects to service offshore wind turbines autonomously, using artificial intelligence to reduce beer waste in the brewing process and converting seaweed into compostable packaging to tackle plastic waste.

The aftermath of the first major lockdown proved that we as humans can make a difference. Maps using data collected from NASA and European Space Agency satellites show how nitrogen dioxide, a dangerous gas released by burning fuel, has dissipated since the outbreak. “This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, said in a statement. Similarly, in Venice again thanks to initial lockdown measures the canals became the cleanest they have been in 60 years, and dolphins were spotted swimming in clearer water. 

This drop-in air pollution and carbon emissions is likely to disappear as Chinese industry ramps up again in an attempt to offset its economic losses. A pattern that has already been witnessed before, after the global financial crisis of 2008 emissions saw rapid growth especially in global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion reaching a record high of 9.1GtC1 in 2010. Additionally, unfortunately, many of the world’s largest solar panel, battery and wind turbine manufacturers are located in China, and the country’s COVID-19-related lockdowns and travel restrictions are likely to have disrupted supply chains, delayed delivery of key components and potentially increased costs, discouraging many businesses from building back green. However, if industry across the world is in a rush to get back to maximum capacity this downturn should only be temporary and hopefully marginal.

The concept of ‘build back green’ is one that many companies and even individuals are happy to back. Since the announcement over 1,069 ground-breaking clean growth projects have requested funding. One such business is marine company Rovco in Bristol, which is developing unique technology allowing for autonomous underwater inspections of large offshore wind turbines. This will be crucial in assisting human operators carry out effective maintenance of one of the UK’s cleanest, renewable energy sources, which can often be dangerous, while ensuring it is carried out in accordance with social distancing measures.

However, with this new £134 million investment this represents the opportunity to move forward to a greener future. If the production of solar panels is to be affected it is important for each country to find new ways to support green innovation. It is only through governmental encouragement that we will succeed.

Back in April we speculated that this crisis also presented an opportunity to learn, examining the positive impacts that were being made throughout lockdown and ultimately the lessons that we could carry forward once the crisis is over. Perhaps we might now see a new wave of positive environmental initiatives that make a marked and sustainable impact in our quest for a greener future.