The 5 Most Important Factors Large and Multi-Site Businesses Need to Consider When Choosing an Energy Supplier

Selecting a new energy supplier, particularly for large and multi-site businesses, is a key element in controlling a significant business spend category. Many factors including customer service, reputation, ease of switch, administration and additional added value services are all key considerations. In this blog we examine the five most important factors large and multi-site businesses should consider when choosing a new energy supplier.

1) Sustainability

In the years ahead, demonstrating your commitment to environmental sustainability across all areas of the business, from waste management to encouraging staff to cycle or walk to work, will be the one of the biggest areas of adjustment faced by UK organisations. Partnering with a 100% renewable energy supplier will form an essential part of demonstrating to your clients your green credentials. Alongside this the government’s future net zero targets will apply increasing pressure to organisations to take advantage of renewable energy suppliers, meaning they could be rewarded or penalised on their sustainable strategies.

2) Analysis

Understanding the past to inform the present and future. Nearly every business across the country has been through extreme changes in consumption over the past 2 years. From the severe consumption reductions of the first national lock-down to rapid increases following the post-pandemic boom analysing your daily and annual consumption pattern over this period will give business leaders real-life analysis of how and where consumption can be reduced in the future. In turn this will assist in lowering unit rates and overall spend alongside assisting your overall sustainable strategy.

 

Annual consumption graph Annual consumption graph, showing customers overall usage increase post Summer 2020 lockdown.

Average daily consumption graphs Average daily consumption graphs. Displaying variances between Summer and Winter usage, along with differences between weekday/ weekends.

 

3) Price/ Contract Structure

Understanding your aims as a business, growth plans, potential expansion, and attitudes to risk (and potential rewards) are all key factors in determining your optimum contract structure. Selecting the correct structure will give you control over your energy spend and through using a supplier who gives you direct market access ensure that you are able to mitigate cost increases in a rising market and take full advantage of falling bearish market conditions.

4) Administration

One hidden element when taking an energy contract is the cost of management and administration. This element should form a key component of the decision-making process, no more so than for multi-site operations. Addressing this has 2 main advantages. Aligning end dates with 1 single supplier will:

a) Give significant cost advantages when tendering. Business who are tendering significant volumes will see cost reductions compared to tendering multiple times throughout the year for smaller groups.

b) Reduce the time admin and finance departments spend processes invoices, dealing with multiple suppliers over different issues.

For example, Independent Vet Care, a key client of United Gas & Power has over 1000 sites and prior to becoming a client of UGP had different contract end dates, different bill dates and invoices being submitted randomly across the year so had become an administration nightmare. UGP submitted a full proposal that contained these key components;

You can read the full case study by clicking here. Therefore you should look for energy companies who are prepared to give you access to a portal that gives you all your information and dedicated account management.

5) Direct Supplier/ Live Market Access

This means that you have access to the organisations trading floor and expertise when it comes to energy trading. In this respect you’ll get advice and foresight on what the market is doing and can often lock in great energy deal for up to 5 years in advance.

Act Now

United Gas & Power work with many large and multi-site businesses and we have the experience and knowledge to handle even the most complex of requirements. If you want to discuss further please click here to request a quote or click here for more information.

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.

Saving Energy in The Workplace: On Site and at Home

Without a doubt the coronavirus outbreak has had a huge effect on businesses across the UK, with many having to downsize, furlough or even move remote working. However, given the UK’s net carbon emissions goal for 2050, it is still so important to exercise energy saving tips not only to save money but also help save our planet. It is important not to give up on energy saving initiatives as they also help to reduce costs.

In this blog, we explore the steps that businesses can take both on site and working from home – to reduce their carbon footprint through efficient energy strategies, as well as save money on energy costs.

As a business, we believe that fundamental change is needed at a legislative, business and individual level if we are to preserve the beautiful planet we inhibit for future generations. We also believe that as an energy supplier to businesses across the UK, we have a moral obligation to consider the impact that not only our business, but the businesses we supply, have on the world we live in.

1. SWITCH ELECTRICITY SUPPLY TO A RENEWABLE SUPPLIER

The single most impactful change you can make as a business is to switch your electricity provider to a company that purchases its’ supply from renewable energy sources. Contrary to popular belief, this does not necessarily translate to an increase in unit cost. It’s important to select a supplier that ONLY supplies renewable power. While many suppliers offer a renewable option, the reality is that you’ll end up paying more to “upgrade” to renewable.

At UGP for example, 100% of our electricity comes from renewable sources including wind, hydro and solar power and our rates are highly competitive in the market – against renewable and non-renewable competitors so we’re confident that we can save you money, as well as helping you do your bit for the planet.

2. UPGRADING EQUIPMENT

Upgrading to energy efficient office equipment such as machinery and IT equipment is one of the simplest ways that businesses can reduce energy usage as most organisations operate some kind of equipment upgrading cycle. To cut energy usage, make sure that the replacement equipment you choose has the best energy efficiency rating as possible. 

You might also want to consider installing smart systems and automation technology which can help to set temperatures across multiple zones of your premises as well as set timers for lighting and other building functions that can save unnecessary energy use.

Sensors can also be helpful, particularly with regards to lighting. When installed, lights in a room can be set to a default “off” position but switch on automatically when someone enters the room.

3. UPGRADE YOUR PREMISES

Whatever type of business you run, it’s possible to save energy and lower your bills in almost every building and room in your premises. While it may require some initial investment, the long-term benefits will far outweigh the short-term cost.

Consider replacing every lightbulb currently in use with a more energy efficient option – a simple, low-cost way to save money over time. Energy-efficient LED lights are more expensive to purchase than other alternatives but over time will make savings. You can also save money by replacing your boiler with a more energy-efficient model. The best energy rates available cannot make up for the fact that energy efficient boilers use up to 30% less energy than their less efficient counterparts.

By auditing all of the appliances in your building including air conditioning units, refrigeration equipment and tackling multiple areas of potential saving, the impact can be significant.

4. REDUCE HEAT LOSS

One of the most frustrating issues that can send costs sky rocketing is losing heat via your building. The benefits that securing great energy rates, as well as any benefits from investment in energy efficient equipment will be negated if much of your energy is wasted through inadequately insulated buildings.

Addressing this issue is fairly simple but it requires some initial investment. Effective insulation is a must, including cavity wall and loft insulation, insulation around pipes and hot water tanks and double-glazed windows if you don’t already have them, as well as draught proofing windows and doors. Automatic closing doors can also be incredibly helpful at avoiding heat loss if a door is accidentally or absentmindedly left open.

5. IMPROVE BUSINESS POLICIES & MOTIVATING EMPLOYEES

It’s important to involve your team in all your energy saving initiatives to get their buy in, and it might also be worth setting an internal energy saving policy to reinforce this message. Establishing policies is a great way to give structure to your efforts, as well as guidelines for your employees. You could also set incentives around energy saving initiatives as a way to boost motivation and compliance.

Here are some of the things your employees can do to make a difference to your energy consumption and environmental impact:

6.  ENERGY SAVING TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME

It can be very easy to loose track of how much energy you are using (and wasting) when working from home. Not only are you adjusting to a new working environment, a new work/life balance you may also be juggling home-schooling and childcare. Here are our favourite wfh energy saving tips –

If you own a small business and you are worried about energy saving costs or how the covid outbreak may affect energy usage, contact us today by either calling 0844 318 0044 or clicking here to complete a quick form.

UGP reports Discovery of biggest UK Gasfield in a decade raises industry hopes

Gas from Glengorm reservoir under North Sea could meet about 5% of annual demand.

A Chinese-led consortium has discovered the UK’s biggest gasfield in more than a decade, leading experts to say there is life yet in the country’s offshore sector.

Drilling found the equivalent of about 250m barrels of oil could be recovered from the Glengorm reservoir in the central North Sea, about 5% of the UK’s annual gas demand.

The find was hailed as significant by industry and the regulator of the region’s last oil and gas reserves, where production has been declining since the turn of the century.

But environmental groups said it was a disgrace that new oil and gas prospects were being found and developed, given their contribution to climate change.

The Chinese firm CNOOC owns 50% of the Glengorm project, with a subsidiary of the Italian company Edison holding another 25% and the French oil firm Total owning the other 25%. The size of the find is the biggest since the Culzean find in 2008, and 11th largest of any kind in the UK in the past 30 years.

Total, which made another large gas discovery last September in west Shetland, has been behind many of the basin’s big discoveries in recent years.

The company said it would use existing platforms and infrastructure nearby to extract the gas, and the Glengorm prospect demonstrated its “capacity to create value in a mature environment”. Total tried to find gas in the area twice before, in 2017, but without success.

Original Article: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/29/discovery-of-biggest-uk-gas-field-in-a-decade-glengorm-north-sea

UGP advises Eight things you need to know about the future of energy

The energy industry is changing. Artificial intelligence, blockchain and distributed networks are altering how we think about energy and the grid.

The energy industry of old just doesn’t cut it anymore, and time is running out to switch to cleaner and smarter ways of providing power before it’s too late. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in its report released in early October, based on current emissions levels the world will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius degrees of warming, compared to pre-industrial, temperatures, by 2030.

So what can be done? At WIRED Smarter some of the smartest minds in the energy world came together to explore what the future of the energy industry might look like. Here’s the best of what we learned from a packed speaker lineup that included Bulb CEO Hayden Wood, Verv COO Maria McKavanagh and DeepMind’s Sims Witherspoon.

Little pushes can add up to big changes in customer behaviour
“What we find is that by having a relationship with customers we can change their behaviour,” says Hayden Wood, CEO of clean energy supplier Bulb. His customers who received annual energy reports ended up reducing their energy usage by two per cent, compared to those who didn’t receive the reports.

That might not sound like much, but it is estimated that if everyone in the UK made the same change that’d save customers £560 million a year, and stop 36m tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere, Wood says.

Cutting down CO2 emissions isn’t enough – we have to remove them too
“We will need to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere,” if we’re to stop the most extreme impacts of climate change says Jan Wurzbacher, founder and director of Climeworks, a startup that builds infrastructure to capture carbon from the atmosphere and lock it deep underground.

Last year in Zurich, Climeworks plants removed 900 tonnes of CO2 that was used to supply greenhouses. But his goal is to eliminate eight billion tonnes from the atmosphere, and to do that he needs policymakers to wake up to the potential benefits of carbon capture. “Changes in policy are much easier if we show there are solutions and we’re not 100 years away,” Wurzbacher says.

AI isn’t a fix-all cure, but it is a powerful tool for energy efficiency
“Artificial intelligence is not magic sparkle dust,” says Sims Witherspoon, applied artificial intelligence program manager at DeepMind. But if you’re smart about how you use it, AI could have a huge impact on how we heat and cool our buildings.

“AI can show us creativity but it also has the ability to show us new knowledge,” she says. By using AI to analyse energy use in Google’s data centres, the firm was able to save 30 per cent on energy by switching to an AI system that optimised the cooling system in real-time. And there’s potentially no limit to the gains that these kinds of systems can squeeze out, Witherspoon says. “Rules and heuristics don’t get better – AI does.”

Original Article: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/future-of-energy-wired-smarter

UGP examines UK Government launches new Energy Data Taskforce

It will undertake a review of the data landscape, identifying gaps and making suggestions on how data can be used more effectively in the energy system

The UK Government and Ofgem have launched a new Energy Data Taskforce.

Run by Energy Systems Catapult and chaired by Laura Sandys from Challenging Ideas, it will undertake a review of the data landscape, identifying gaps and making suggestions on how data can be used more effectively in the energy system, focused on improving data flows “to optimise the operation of the energy system”.

It will deliver recommendations for how industry and the public sector can work together to reduce costs and facilitate competition, innovation and new business models in the energy sector through improving data availability and transparency.

BEIS says the efficient integration of solutions such as demand response, electric vehicles and storage may require better handling of real-time data, improved forecasting capabilities and better access to data for new players in the system.

The taskforce will produce a report that identifies how to move from the current data landscape to one where competition and innovation are enabled by “more open, richer data” and should consider how energy system data impacts and interchanges with other sectors and the wider society.

The government expects greater data availability and transparency to enable smart grids and technologies to work more efficiently in terms of predicting supply and demand more accurately, providing greater visibility of generation, storage and demand assets and preparing the network for upcoming challenges such as increased uptake of EVs and electric heat pumps.

It also hopes to create new revenue streams by improving price discovery and through combining existing and new data sets in novel ways, address engagement barriers and significantly enhance consumers’ ability to make informed choices while accessing the best energy deals.

Original Article: https://www.energylivenews.com/2018/10/17/uk-government-launches-new-energy-data-taskforce/

UGP interprets Ofgem will extend its prepayment meter safeguard tariff if the energy price cap is not in place by winter

Ofgem has given National Grid permission to recover £111.3 million through network charges to pay for the replacement of a major gas pipeline under the Humber estuary.

The regulator had previously turned down the company’s request for a larger sum of £139.9 million on the grounds it had failed to demonstrate the project would be in the best interests of consumers.

The Feeder 9 transmission pipeline carries gas from the Easington terminal on the east coast of England towards the south west of the country.

Surveys carried out by National Grid in 2009 found that sections of the buried pipeline had become exposed due to erosion of the river bed, leaving it vulnerable to damage. It carried out mitigating works the following year, surrounding the exposed sections with concrete mattresses and gravel bags.

However, the company believes these measures will only last for five to 10 years and in May began building a new tunnel for a replacement pipeline under the Humber.

Around the same time, National Grid applied to Ofgem as part of a reopener process for a £139.9 million increase to its RIIO T1 spending allowance to fund the project. By this point, the company had already committed £93 million to the scheme.

In its submission to the regulator, the firm said the erosion has created a safety hazard, with the potential for an explosion if the pipeline is struck by a vessel or its anchor.

It said the loss of Feeder 9 would lead to a supply shock on the wholesale market, driving up gas and power prices at the expense of consumers, and could jeopardise security of supply.

Ofgem initially refused the request in a consultation published in August, saying National Grid had failed to show that the risks justified an immediate replacement. Furthermore, it said a new pipeline should cost just £104.6 million.

Original Article: https://utilityweek.co.uk/ofgem-allows-national-grid-recoup-111m/

UGP examines Ofgem Blasts Big Energy Firms For Complaints Handling

‘Simply not good enough’ says Citizens Advice, while separate survey reveals a fifth of households fear not being able to afford gas and electricity bills this winter.

Energy regulator Ofgem has demanded all 11 of the UK’s biggest energy companies improve how they deal with customer complaints.

Less than a third of people Ofgem surveyed are happy with the outcome of complaints, with 57 per cent dissatisfied. Citizens Advice described the situation as “simply not good enough”.

Separate research revealed on Thursday a fifth of households are “seriously concerned” about being able to pay energy bills this winter, after recent price hikes that have seen the average “Big Six” variable tariff spike to £1,224 a year.

Customers told Ofgem suppliers do not keep them up to date with the complaints process or give enough indication of how long it will take.

The regulator has opened three new “compliance cases” – on First Utility, Ovo Energy and Utilita – and expanded its recent engagement with ScottishPower.

Seven other suppliers have been ordered to come up with plans laying out how they will improve their handling of complaints.

Ofgem said it will monitor energy suppliers and work with them to improve outcomes for customers until issues are resolved.

Original Article: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/energy-suppliers-ofgem-complaints-handling-improve-gas-electricity-a8557241.html

UGP reports Siemens wins Tritton Knoll wind turbine contract

The windfarm at sea 32km off the Lincolnshire coast will power 800,000 UK homes

Engineering giant Siemens is to design, supply and build the kit that will allow electricity to be sent from the Triton Knoll offshore windfarm to the National Grid via cables beneath the sea and the Lincolnshire countryside.

Siemens Energy Management is to create an onshore substation at Bicker Fen and offshore transformer equipment for Innogy’s 90 turbine windfarm, situated 32km off the Lincolnshire coast.

Once fully operational by 2022, Triton Knoll will be capable of providing clean and sustainable energy to at least 800,000 UK homes.

Electricity generated by offshore wind turbines in the North Sea will be collected by substation platforms at sea and transformed to a suitable voltage before it is sent along cables on the seabed to land north of Anderby Creek.

From there, power will be sent along 40 miles of underground cabling to the new four-acre substation at Bicker Fen.

Carl Ennis, managing director for Siemens Energy Management, said: “This is an important project to deliver clean, green energy to UK homes and businesses and we’re delighted to be a partner.

“We have a strong track record in delivering grid access projects and look forward to implementing our market-leading technology at Triton Knoll.”

Innogy’s Triton Knoll project director, Julian Garnsey, added: “I’m really pleased to have such an experienced company on board.

“Siemens share our goal to use our investments to the benefit of UK businesses and suppliers and their involvement represents a very real opportunity for competitive regional and UK companies to benefit from our project.

Original Article: https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/business/siemens-wins-contract-link-tritton-2014261

UGP reports on Aberdeen ‘turbocharges’ offshore

Vattenfall has officially opened its 93.2MW Aberdeen Bay wind farm off the coast of Scotland to help “turbocharge” growth in the industry.

The project, which is also known as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), comprises two MHI Vestas V164 8.8MW turbines and nine 8.4MW machines with tip heights of 191 metres.

As well as testing new technology, such as the suction bucket jacket foundations and 66kV cabling, the project’s impact on marine life will be studied.

Vattenfalll and the EU have invested €3m to study the effect of offshore wind farms on dolphins, salmon, sea trout and sea birds.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am proud that as part of this ground-breaking project, the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbines are now up and running in Scotland.

“The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre will maintain Scotland’s reputation for innovation in low carbon and renewable energy development and deployment.

“A single rotation of one of these 8.8MW turbines will generate enough energy to power a home for 24 hours which truly shows the potential of this technology to strengthen Scotland’s renewable energy generating capacity in the future.”

Vattenfall president and chief executive officer Magnus Hall said: “The innovation we have implemented at the EOWDC – and will continue to demonstrate – will turbocharge the growth of a global, low cost offshore wind industry.”

Vattenfall wind business head Gunnar Groebler said: “We have built this pioneering project in partnership and we especially salute the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), the Scottish government and Crown Estate Scotland, for their commitment to deploying what is arguably the world’s most innovative wind farm.

Original Article: http://renews.biz/112367/aberdeen-turbocharges-offshore/