The cost of energy for people and businesses across the UK has been rising steadily for some time. A variety of socio-economic and political events have sent prices soaring in recent months and the internet is awash with advice on how people and businesses can reduce energy consumption by implementing a variety of practical changes to lower consumption.
However, what most businesses on half hourly meters don’t realise is that by analysing their half hourly data, they can make practical business changes that can significantly reduce energy spend, without having to decrease consumption.
What is a half hourly meter and how do you know if you have one?
A half hourly meter (also known as HH or 00) is a business electricity meter that sends consumption data to the energy supplier every half hour. HH meters are subject to two different rates, a day rate and a night rate. It’s mandatory in the UK for businesses with a maximum (peak load) demand greater than 100 kW in any given half hour period.
To tell if your business has a HH meter, you can simply ask your business energy supplier. You can also check your electricity bills – HH metered accounts have an MPAN number starting with 00.
What are the benefits of a HH meter?
The benefits of having a HH meter are vast and include:
Not having to take meter readings yourself to get accurate bills
The ability to better monitor and manage your energy consumption
You will only have to pay what you owe
It’s easier to predict your business energy usage
The secret to lowering energy spend
Possibly the most important benefit to having a HH meter is the ability to manage your energy consumption. At United Gas & Power we are able to provide HH data to our customers, and this allows our customers to be able to analyse exactly what energy is being used at specific times of the day. This information can be highly valuable for developing energy-saving measures without reducing your consumption.
For example, one of our most recent customers is a large independent hotel that has a HH meter installed. When we first spoke to them about their new contract, we advised looking at their HH data to configure the most appropriate consumption profile for their contract.
After analysing HH data, we found that the hotel had a huge spike in energy usage between the hours of 2 and 5pm. On closer examination we discovered the reason for this spike. Guests at the hotel typically checked out at 11am. By 2pm, rooms had been cleaned and at that time, the laundry room got to work on the bedding and towels. This surge in energy usage was happening in peak times, and at a day rate that was more expensive than the meters contracted night rate. By moving its laundry time to 5am the following morning, we calculated that there would be a 10% reduction in overall energy spend and was able to agree a contract with a consumption profile that reflected this change in business process.
Whilst this is a very straight forward example, it is possible for businesses with a myriad of high energy activities to use their HH data to re-configure how and when they conduct their activities in order to save money, without reducing consumption. It is however important to discuss these proposed changes with your supplier before making any changes so that together, you can develop an effective energy management strategy.
If you’d like to speak to one of our experts about how we can help you effectively manage your energy costs, or to discuss your metering options with us, call us on 0800 669 6698.
Saving money on energy bills is on the mind of many a small business in the current climate. By following the tips below, businesses can make meaningful savings to their energy consumption and costs.
Upgrade equipment…Office equipment and machinery can use up a lot of energy, especially if the equipment is old and lacks the energy saving benefits that newer models provide. It’s worth conducting a review of your equipment – from computers to machinery and even kitchen appliances, upgrading to energy efficient models can make a substantial difference to your business energy bills.
Upgrade your boiler…Did you know that energy efficient boilers use up to 30% less energy than their less efficient counterparts! If your boiler is 10 years old or more, it’s worth considering an upgrade.
Insulate your premises and reduce heat loss…Fuel costs can skyrocket if you’re losing heat via your building. It might cost you in the short term, but in the long run installing effective insulation will pay for itself. Look at cavity wall and loft insulation, insulation around pipes and hot water tanks. Also consider installing double glazed windows if you don’t have them already, and draught proofing windows and doors throughout the premises.
Take a look at your lighting…Switching to energy saving lightbulbs will save up to 80% less energy than standard bulbs. It’s also worth considering motion sensor technology, that eliminates lighting when it isn’t needed as this will dramatically reduce your business energy costs.
Review your air conditioning and heating settings…It’s easy to forget to adjust your heating and cooling settings as you move through the seasons. In the UK especially, with unpredictable weather, it’s worth regularly monitoring when your heating/air conditioning comes on and off and at what levels. Often businesses will keep their heating systems on overnight, heating or cooling a space unnecessarily. It’s also worth looking at natural ways to preserve heat by closing windows and doors. Automatic closing doors are excellent for this. Similarly, when it’s warmer, take advantage of the milder weather and open windows and doors to help ventilation and cooling.
Improve business policies and processes…Do you have a process for shutting down equipment at the end of the night? A single computer monitor can save £35 a year on electricity bills, simply by being turned off at night and often, shared resources such as printers or hot water heaters are overlooked and left on standby during non-working time. By improving the processes around how these energy intensive facilities are used and giving ownership to individuals to follow best practice, businesses can make meaningful savings on their energy bills. Even small changes such as only heating as much water as is needed at any one time can make an impact.
Get your employees on board…It’s important to educate and involve your employees in all your energy saving initiatives. Having policies that employees can follow, perhaps with posters around the workspace reminding people of your initiatives, will ensure that your efforts are followed through. You may even want to consider making it fun by putting incentives in place for reaching sustainability targets.
Check you’re on a competitive energy deal…While it’s been a challenging time for the energy sector lately, tariffs still change regularly, so it’s worth checking that you are getting the best deal for you at regular intervals.
If you’d like to speak to one of our experts about saving money on your energy bills, please contact us on 0800 6696697.
Business Gas and Electricity Costs
The livelihood of your business relies on its supply of energy. That doesn’t mean you be paying over the odds for your business electricity. The easiest way a business can cut their costs is by a suitable tariff based on their usage.
It’s difficult to know what your business should be spending on electricity. Many companies overspend because they are on the wrong tariff or haven’t switched supplier in a long time. Comparing business electricity and gas prices will free up cash that could be spent in other areas of the business.
If you run a business, you need to keep costs in check. Especially if you are a business that has recently suffered with poor or bad credit. But do you know how much you’re paying for your energy supply? If it’s been a while since you checked your business gas and electricity contracts, you might be able to save money by switching. But remember, businesses are tied into energy contracts. This means they can’t cancel during the term of their contract, unless the business goes bankrupt or moves business address.
The biggest reason for switching is to get a better deal, but businesses often find themselves on ‘rollover’ or ‘evergreen’ contracts, which continuously renew without checking that this is still the best deal for the company. This is great for making life easy, but as your supplier isn’t obligated to renew at their best rates, you might find your bill sneaking up. If you haven’t switched your business energy supplier for a few years, or if you’ve never switched at all, you are likely to have been ‘rolled over’ to a more expensive tariff. This will often leave you significantly overpaying.
The gas and electricity that powers your home is the same gas and electricity that powers your business. It comes from the same source and travels through the same cables and pipes. Energy companies, however, treat the supply of gas and electricity differently if you’re a business.
You can switch your business gas and electricity supplier to get a better deal and save yourself some money. With energy costs one of the biggest outgoings for a business, it makes sense to know your options and keep comparing to check the latest business electricity deals.
Our guide answers the key questions you might have about business gas and electricity and how to compare and switch suppliers
One of the main differences is that businesses select a supplier for their energy for a set period of time. This varies but can be for up to four years. You’re charged a set price for this period, and you agree a contract.
Domestic energy contracts are generally rolling, so there is no end date. The supplier continues supplying energy to the customer on their existing tariff until the customer decides to change. There’s often a fixed period when signing up to a new domestic supplier, but once that’s up, the contract starts to roll.
There are also differences in cancellation terms. In a rolling contract situation, domestic customers can switch suppliers whenever they want. They can even switch when in a fixed period, although there’s usually a small fee to do so. Business customers, however, have no option to cancel as they have to stay with their supplier for the duration of the contract.
Finally, domestic customers have a cooling off period when they sign up to a new supplier. Business customers don’t have this, so it’s important you’re sure about the new contract before agreeing to it.
Business Gas and Electricity Price
The price of business and domestic energy contracts also varies. One of the reasons for this is the way most energy suppliers purchase gas and electricity on the wholesale market. Energy suppliers buy for all their domestic customers in advance—usually several months in advance.
A lot of business energy suppliers don’t do this. Instead, many purchase gas and electricity for business customers only once a contract is agreed—enough energy to fulfil the entire contract. So if a business agrees to a three-year deal with an energy supplier, that supplier buys enough gas and electricity for the full three-year period.
The VAT you pay on business energy is different to the VAT paid on domestic energy, so this has a significant impact on the price you pay too. Domestic customers pay five percent VAT, while business customers pay 20 percent.
In addition, other levies are applied to business energy contracts, such as the Climate Change Levy.
Finally, in terms of price, you often get cheaper prices for business energy, although the price fluctuates much more. This is because energy supplies buy business gas and electricity daily. It only affects you at contract renewal time of course, but it is important to know that prices can vary from one day to another.
Benefits of Business Energy Contracts
The price is fixed, so budgeting is easier.
It is less susceptible to price fluctuations as your price is locked in for the duration of the contract period.
Deals are often better.
Prices are usually lower too as your business probably uses more energy than a typical household.
While business contracts are different, the best advice is to compare business energy prices to ensure you get the best rates.
Switching Energy Suppliers
If you’ve decided to switch you should tell the company that already supplies your energy as soon as possible.
Make sure you give as much notice as you need to – if you don’t you might have to pay a fee to switch.
Tell them when you want them to stop supplying and the new supplier to take over.
After you’ve done this, agree to your contract with the new supplier and confirm when they’ll take over supplying you with energy.
It’s important to take accurate meter readings on the day you switch and send them to both companies so you pay the right amount.
Contact us today and find how much you could save!