Monday, 18 February 2013

Choosing the best half hourly electricity supplier

Knowing that in the last 3 months of 2012 the UK’s major energy companies collectively received more than 15,000 complaints is not quite encouraging. For businesses, this is all the more worrying, due to the larger amount of electricity needed and implicitly higher bills.
Data shows that the majority of the complaints were solved quickly, by the end of the next working day. EDF had the most complaints per 100,000 customers, while Scottish Power had the fewest. This actually prompted EDF to improve the services offered. An EDF spokesman said: “We recognise that last year our customer service levels were not up to the high standard we expect and our customers deserve” but “Our new systems are delivering clear benefits to our customers through clearer, more accurate bills and the introduction of better online services”.

The next in line was Npower followed by E.On , British Gas, SSE and Scottish Power. While Scottish Power had the least complaints, it only resolved 68% of them by the end of the next working day, this meaning the lowest proportion among the big six.
But there is one thing that all the big six share in common: they all increased prices for customers this winter. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Green Deal to support business owners

One of the hottest topics at the moment is the Green Deal. It has caused both confusion and enthusiasm. The most enthusiastic ones seem to be business owners who really want to make the best out of this offer. According to Energy and Environmental Management, 12% of business owners plan to use the Green Deal.
Here are some of the ideas connected to how the Green Deal can be used by business owners:
  • 18% said LED lighting;
  • 10% said window glazing;
  • 9% said insulation or draught proofing;
  • 1% said biomass boilers;
  • 1% said automated systems and controls.
More advice regarding the cheapest gas and electricity rates for businesses can be found on this site

Monday, 28 January 2013

The Green Deal, is it a deal or not?

The Green Deal has finally been launched today. This means that home owners are now able to pay for various energy efficiency improvements in their homes with almost no costs. In reality the loan will be repaid through the electricity bill and this has caused quite many concerns. 
The core rule of this saving scheme is that the loan repayment should not be higher than what is saved on energy bills.

Only when the electricity bill is paid off will the loan be considered repaid. This means that if the house is sold, the new owner will have to continue paying the bill. But maybe the new owner does not like some of the home improvements, the insulation, the materials used or other similar details. In this case the seller will have to pay the bill himself, so as not to lose a potential buyer. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Electricity Rates and Political Debates

As the cold season is here, so are the worries regarding the costs of the electricity bills. And while the parties continue to debate, the electricity bills follow their ascending course. Earlier this month, the Prime Minister, David Cameron said that energy firms will be forced by law to offer their customers the lowest tariffs. Before this, British Gas and Npower announced that they would have to increase gas and electricity prices as a consequence of wholesale prices, but also because of government’s policies.

The new measures will be included in an Energy Bill that is supposed to be published in the next few weeks.

With all these discussions, reforms and amendments, understanding how electricity rates are calculated and which supplier is the most advantageous for both individuals and business consumers can be quite tricky. As businesses are quite large and important consumers, the situation can be even trickier.

It is therefore imperative that businesses choose the supplier that best suits their profile and needs, and that half hourly meters are used properly. As many consumers are afraid to go with a new option, or simply have got too much used to the current supplier, money can be lost without even being aware.

So getting the right advice about the cheapest electricity rates for business is the first step.  

The second is understanding what a half hourly meter is.

So, how does a half hourly meter actually work?

It basically registers how much electricity is used in a building for every half hour of every day. They have a fixed or mobile phone connection to transmit this data automatically each month. As expected half hourly meter pricing is different to the standard one. The data is more accurate and the extra or unnecessary usage more easily to track. They are the best answer to businesses that want to cut down on expenses. Half hourly meters are mandatory for all consumers with a maximum power demand greater than 100 KW.

As they are mandatory, having accurate and complete information about the suppliers and the services is very important in order for businesses to make the right choice.

However, the most important thing to be remembered is that switching to a different gas and electricity supplier can be a very smart move.


Friday, 21 September 2012

Save on your Energy Bill!

With the price of business electricity currently on the rise many small business owners are unaware they could be paying far too much towards their energy bills.  The vast majority of suppliers are simply rolling their customers’ contracts over into new ones at much higher prices than previously.  There are a number of measures that can be taken to lower your business energy bills including switching to half hourly electricity rates.

Firstly, if you have taken out a business energy contract then you normally have a 56 day termination period before your existing deal expires.  This step is vitally important as failure to do so can result in a 40% price hike or the automatic renewal of your existing contract.  After you have received a termination letter from your supplier then it’s time to start gathering new quotes and finding the best deal available to you.

Currently all the major suppliers are battling for new business and are bending over backwards to offer the best deals.  Quite often the summer period is the perfect time to find the cheapest deals on electricity prices.  With energy rates varying quite dramatically between different suppliers, it’s important to compare prices between suppliers, with many currently offering half hourly electric charges.

The cost of energy is usually at a fixed rate, meaning that if the wholesale price changes, your bill should remain the same.  The result is that you will continue to pay less even if the energy price rises, but the reverse of this is also true and you could end up paying more should the price of energy fall.

If your exiting contract has come to an end, or if you have taken on a new tenancy you will be automatically put onto ‘deemed rates’.  These rates tend to be excessively high so you will need to start looking for some cheaper rates straight away where you’ll be able to bring the price down by as much as 70%.

Finally it’s a good idea to use a reputable energy broker when you’re searching for business electric and gas rates.  The broker knows the industry inside out and will be able to save you money by leveraging the very best deal possible.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

UK energy sector attracts major investment

The government has announced that GDF Suez (GSZ) and BP Plc (BP/) will invest more than £1.5 billion in the UK as part of a government effort to support the economy and lure companies to pay for upgrading the nation’s energy infrastructure.

GDF Suez of Paris, the largest European power generator by market value, along with London-based Centrica Plc (CNA) and Bayerngas GmbH of Munich plans to develop an 18 billion-cubic-meter gas field under the North Sea, the U.K. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said.

George Osborne went on to say that “The UK can lead the world in the energy sector….The government is committed to creating an environment in which innovation can thrive and business can grow.”

The announcement came after an investment conference attended by company executives including BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley, Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) Chief Energy Adviser Wim Thomas and Andrew Gould, chairman of BG Group Plc.

Dudley said he expected world energy demand to rise 40 per cent by 2030, which “is the equivalent of another whole China being formed and another whole United States. Partnerships with academic institutions are vital to progress, and with Britain having so many world-class university departments, it’s no surprise that we spend about 40 per cent of our R&D spending here,” he said at the meeting.

Plasma gasification plant to be first of many

It has also emerged that Air Products' 50 MW plasma gasification facility on Teesside could be the first of many advanced waste gasification facilities to be built in the UK.

According to NNFCC the facility will use AlterNRG advanced gasification technology to turn 350,000 tonnes of residual waste into enough renewable electricity to power up to 50,000 homes every year.

"Following our work gathering evidence for the Renewables Obligation banding review, we are delighted to see these ground-breaking advanced gasification projects starting to go ahead," explained Dr. Geraint Evans, head of biofuels and bioenergy at NNFCC.

Impact on business energy

For businesses in the UK and around the world the cost of energy is an important factor. For some businesses the cost of energy is incredibly important and will dictate the profitability. The announcement of industry investment into the UK energy market is ultimately a good thing for businesses as energy providers will improve their infrastructure and supply of energy making it more affordable.

This will not happen overnight. This kind of investment will take time to come into fruition however it demonstrates that the energy industry is investing in itself and the future. As this process will take time it is essential for businesses to ensure they are using the most competitively priced energy providers and measures such as half hour meters.  

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Businesses face 60% increase in energy costs

The cost of energy is an increasing concern for businesses. Having seen energy costs leap 60% in the past year according to new figures which reveals the increasing pressure firms in the UK and many places around the world are facing in addition to economic uncertainty.

According to very recent data businesses now spend an average of 0.51% of their total profit on energy, a huge rise of 70% on 2010’s figures

Historically business could afford to largely ignore energy costs because they were so negligible in relation to profits. However with energy costs leaping up from 0.3% to .51% of turnover in just one year, this is no longer the case.

To better understand how the cost of energy has increased we can look at data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Looking at the chart below you can see the price of gas and how much it has gone up since 1919 (the first year of available EIA statistics). You can see a low of $0.17/gallon in 1931 rise all the way up to $3.53/gallon in 2011.

If this trend continues, energy costs may soon hit 1% of total business revenues, a hugely concerning figure that should force businesses into acting fast.

Although the future is unpredictable, it is worth planning ahead. Businesses should therefore be sensible and think about cutting and offsetting costs when they have the opportunity. Switching suppliers, installing half hour meters or even just changing your tariff, can save a business an average of £946 a year.

The situation isn’t any better for homeowners, with the cost of household energy rocketing more than five times faster than household income since 2004/05, research suggests.