What are my options if my landlord manages my business energy?

What are my options if my landlord manages my business energy?

If you only deal with your energy supplier via your landlord, it may leave you feeling powerless when it comes to switching

Having control over your energy supplier is one of the perks of owning your own business, but if you don’t also own your premises, this can become tricky. If you’re a tenant on a leased property, it can be harder to change suppliers.

It’s important to note that we said “harder” there, not “impossible”.

If you’re in a rented workspace, your energy contract is probably handed in one of two ways.

Either, you pay your bills directly to your supplier.

Or you pay your landlord and they pass the cost on for you.

Switching can be frustrating if your landlord holds all the power, but we’re here to shed a little light on how you might get around the problem.

If you pay your energy bills directly to your supplier…

This is the simpler of the two scenarios to find yourself in. As a tenant, you have a right to switch your business energy supplier and your landlord can’t stop you from doing that. You just need to make sure you check the tenancy agreement when moving business premises for a ‘preferred’ or ‘default’ supplier.

A default supplier is the company your landlord wants you to use for your business energy, and this should be clearly stated in your tenancy contract. If you have not yet signed a contract, you can negotiate this clause with your landlord.

But even if you have signed a contract, and it does include a default supplier, that doesn’t mean you have to stick with them. You can still switch suppliers provided you are paying the suppliers directly. So don’t be afraid to switch — just be sure to read the small print first.

If your landlord pays your energy bills and invoices you for them, or includes them in your rent…

Having your landlord act as the middleman between you and your supplier makes things more complicated. When your landlord oversees the paying of your bills it’s common for businesses to not even be aware of who their supplier is or what tariff they’re on. This leaves your business very vulnerable to paying unnecessarily high rates.

Under the Electricity and Gas Regulations, 2011, you have the right to compare and switch energy suppliers if you aren’t happy with the current situation. This means that you can request information from your landlord if you don’t know who your supplier is at the minute. Your landlord must acknowledge your request within 10 days, either by agreeing or explaining why they object.

If you’re one of many businesses in a large property complex, things can be even trickier. Your landlord may buy energy in bulk in order to fix prices, so your request to switch may be rejected by your landlord due to the financial burden it could place on them.

Landlords also have a right to reject switching requests if the cabling to your business doesn’t have the capacity to withstand alterations to supply.

If you feel like your landlord is being unreasonable by not letting you switch your tariff, you should first try to discuss things with them and come to an agreement. If these negotiations don’t go well though, you can contact the Ombudsman to help you handle the situation.

Want to find the best energy tariff for your business. Let The Energy Check help. We make switching business energy suppliers quick, easy and rewarding. Start comparing prices today by clicking here, or get in touch via phone by calling 0191 691 18 02.

HSBC announces green finance range for UK businesses

HSBC announces green finance range for UK businesses

The world’s local bank has pledged to provide $100 billion in sustainable financing and investment in the next six years

HSBC is one of many major brands to publicise its commitment to a more sustainable future, releasing a plan to provide $100 billion in sustainability by 2025.

Part of this plan involves the launch of its new range of green finance products, designed to support UK businesses with their environmental and sustainability goals.

The range includes a variety of products designed to make greener business management more accessible and rewarding

The banking giant’s range includes an innovative Green Loan, with a minimum amount of £300,000. It also offers a Green Revolving Credit Facility (RCF), which it claims to be an industry first. The RCF will enable companies to access funds when they need them depending on sustainable cash flow requirements. The Green RCF is available for a minimum value of a £1 million.

That’s not all that HSBC is offering, however. The bank has also announced a new Green Hire Purchase, Lease and Asset Loan as part of their green finance products. This is designed to facilitate the financing of green assets.

$100 billion roughly equates to £76 billion – enough to make a significant difference to sustainable financing and investment – encouraging more UK businesses to put green measures into practice.

This isn’t the first time HSBC has put its commitment to environmental protection into practice

According to the global banking brand, it has already successfully provided green loans worth £600 million to UK business in little more than half a year. This was part of a pilot project for their new range launched in November 2018 for larger corporate customers.

HSBC UK Commercial Banking Head of Sustainable Finance, Rob King, described the bank’s new green finance services as a product of consumer demand.

King comments: “We have seen strong demand from businesses since launching the Green Loan pilot last year so we are confident this suite of green finance products will support our customers to meet their sustainability agendas. Our customers are asking for more green finance products to support their specific ambitions.”

King also explains how having access to green services can benefit UK businesses in the long run, saying: “Our offering allows our customers to showcase their green credentials to stakeholders by demonstrating that a portion of their funding is ring-fenced for genuine environmental and sustainability activities. Many stakeholders are now considering a company’s green credentials when making decisions about whether to work with, work for or invest in that company.”

More and more businesses are beginning to see the importance of going green

The environment is one of the key issues affecting our society right now, and because of this sustainability has become a pretty powerful factor for consumers seeking out the best organization for their needs.

Research shows that a whopping 90% of CEOs consider sustainability to be vital for business success. What’s more, 66% of global consumers are willing to spend more money on sustainable goods. When you focus this in on millennials, this number jumps to 73%.

Other brands, like HSBC, are publicising their commitment to the environment. Earlier this year, Best Buy announced its aim for a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030, and Waitrose has introduced new technology to significantly reduce the impact of their in-store fridges.

Consulting with one of our Energy Saving Experts is among the best ways to understand how you can improve your business’s green credentials and save money on utility bills in the process. With green tariffs available for businesses, taking the time to seek out a new supplier could help you justifiably market your organization as a sustainable brand.

Thinking about switching your business supplier? Let The Energy Check help. Click here to start comparing tariffs today or give us a call on 0191 691 180

A business manager’s guide to making the office a greener place to be

A business manager’s guide to making the office a greener place to be

A green workplace is a happy workplace, so here’s how to improve your surroundings

Being green is an important part of any business in 2019. Not only is it important to do your bit for the planet, but it can also help boost your brand and show your customers that you care about your impact.

Plus, putting greener measures into practice in your office can often lead to lower energy costs and therefore less business spending. Win, win!

So if you’re looking to make your office a little more eco-friendly, here are 15 smart ideas for your business.

Encourage a greener commute

Try advising your team to cycle, carpool or use public transport whenever they can rather than driving, and set a good example by doing this yourself, too. And with a number of cycle to work schemes on offer to help employees foot the bill for a new set of wheels, you can help to remove the initial hurdles that might stop a staff member from pedalling to the office.

Offer working from home

You can also give your team the option of working from home from time to time, reducing the overall amount of traffic on the roads. It also means your office gets a break from electricity usage.

Power down at night

All devices in your office should be shut down and switched off at the end of the day. If you leave them on Sleep or Hibernate mode, they’ll still be using up energy. For the sake of the extra 30 seconds saved in booting up each morning, we advise that you prioritise energy saving over the convenience.

Use recycled paper

Recycled or sustainable paper is much more eco-friendly and far less wasteful, so you don’t have to feel so guilty about printing.

Or go paperless

However, if possible you should try to avoid paper entirely. With sharing platforms and the Cloud commonplace, there is very little need to print hardcopies of your documents in 2019.

Install motion sensors

If you’re worried about remembering to switch off lights, motion sensors can help make things easier. These will activate lights only when necessary, and will switch off when the room is unoccupied.

Invest in energy efficient appliances

From fridges to microwaves to heaters, look for appliances that are marked as “energy efficient”. They may be slightly more costly upfront, but they’ll go on to save you significant energy costs in the long run.

Switch your bulbs

CFL (compact-fluorescent) and LED bulbs are known for having a long life and low energy consumption, so make sure you’re using them in every light source.

Make use of natural light

Also, don’t feel the need to switch on lights just because you’re in the room. If there is enough natural light, there’s no reason to depend on artificial lighting too.

Greenify your office

Plants and flowers are one of the best additions to any office décor. Not only do plants help keep the air clean, but they’ve also been shown to improve employee wellbeing.

Don’t use disposable plastic cutlery

Even something simple like using traditional cutlery and crockery rather than disposable alternatives can reduce your carbon footprint and reduce the plastic that heads to landfill.

Use the stairs

Don’t rely on the lift to reach your office. If you can, take the stairs instead to reduce your energy use while also boosting your fitness.

Spread the word

It’s hard to make a dent in your carbon footprint when you’re acting alone. Take the time to educate your team about the importance of being eco-friendly, giving them the chance to share their own ideas. You can even offer incentives and rewards for green behaviour in the workplace.

Consider a green tariff

Switching your energy tariff can be one of the most effective ways to make your business greener and reduce your costs. Green tariffs are specifically designed to help you reduce your environmental impact, using energy the smart way. And there are several available to businesses as well as domestic customers.

Need to find the best energy tariff for your business? The Energy Check can help. Click here to start comparing deals or get in touch with our team today by calling 0191 691 18 02.

New report outlines how infrastructure and business models will help decarbonise the UK grid

New report outlines how infrastructure and business models will help decarbonise the UK grid

The Energy Network Association has set out how grid operators are planning for flexibility markets

A new report from the Energy Network Association (ENA) has outlined the best ways to create new flexible infrastructure and business models to decarbonise the UK grid. The ENA sets out how grid operators will be running new flexibility markets across the country in order to make this happen.

It reports that rethinking infrastructure and business models will be required in order to help create a cleaner, smarter energy system.

These new systems will be an important part of the efforts to deliver the “net zero carbon by 2050” target outlined earlier this month by Theresa May. The report has also outlined six key factors it thinks will enable this goal to be achieved consistently and transparently.

The ENA report outlines a six-point plan for reaching the 2050 goal

The six-point plan introduced by the ENA has been agreed to by the UK’s six Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), Independent Distribution Network Operator GTC, the Transmission Owners (TOs) and the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO).

It outlines that the most up-to-date smart electricity technologies will be needed in both homes and businesses in order to boost grid capacity and connect technology like renewable generation, electric vehicle charging points and clean heat pumps to the network.

The first point described in the ENA’s report is the need for a level playing field. All energy technologies and services must be able to benefit from market neutrality, as this is a “fundamental principle of operating the UK’s energy network infrastructure”.

The report states that its members will offer standardisation across the energy sector in order to support this. They also promise to remove barriers to markets to make sure opportunities are made visible and accessible for customers.

Looking forward to a more open energy market

The ENA has stated that it is committed to being open and honest in its decision-making. This includes explaining why specific services have been procured in order to meet network needs like reinforcement. The organisation suggests that, ultimately, any solution chosen needs to be cost-effective while also meeting all the requirements of customers, the system and the networks.

As such, the ENA has promised to take a clear, fair and accountable approach to dispatching flexibility services. This means setting out terms, methodology and decision-making processes clearly. It has also committed to providing consistent and transparent reports in order to maintain public confidence. This ensures that all partied involved – from customers to suppliers and beyond – can learn from the way flexibility is being used, seeing how and why this helps energy networks run in a more efficient, smarter way.

Electricity networks also plan to continue to work closely with each other in order to facilitate efficiently coordinated decarbonisation arrangements. This will help make sure that any changes delivered result in the best outcomes for everyone.

CEO of the ENA, David Smith, shared his thoughts on the new report, describing what he thought it meant for the future of the energy market, saying:

“With the 2050 Net Zero target being put into law, it’s more important than ever to get the fundamentals of our new energy system right.

“The commitment made by the networks today sets out the role that smart technology in people’s homes, businesses and communities can play in building a grid that can help deliver that target.”

Flexibility and transparency includes having the freedom to find the best tariff out there for your business and being able to choose between suppliers based on their green credentials. Here at The Energy Check, we can help. Use our comparison service to find the best deal for you, or contact us directly on 0191 691 18 02.

How innovation is keeping energy costs down and emissions to a minimum

How innovation is keeping energy costs down and emissions to a minimum

Sustainability is no longer just an empty buzzword thrown around by the business community. Today, organisations and corporations of all shapes and sizes are expected to not only talk the environmentally conscious talk but also walk the green walk, too.

One of the organizations leading the way on this front is supermarket giant Waitrose, which has been showing others the way forward by quite literally opening their doors for the world to see their latest eco initiative.

In June it was announced that the supermarket chain had successfully cut energy use in its stores by 40%. This incredible achievement has been attributed, in part, to the introduction of new refrigeration technologies in its food aisles.

This open-fronted fridge technology comes from Wirth Research. Typically, open-fronted supermarket fridges expel significant amounts of cold air into the aisle, which culminates in a significant waste of energy. However, Wirth Research’s Next Generation Refrigeration (NGR) uses technology from the motorsport industry to redirect airflow back into the cabinets, retaining cold air within and reducing the power required to cool things down.

Because of this, far less energy ends up being used and so emissions and bills have been slashed.

Waitrose stores in Evesham, Dorchester, Chesham and Worthing are already decked out with this cost-saving tech, and there are plans to roll it out across all stores. Senior Manager of Technical Services for Waitrose & Partners, Jim Burnett, commented:

“This new technology takes the energy efficiency of our refrigeration to another level, delivering significant environment benefits while helping to create warmer, more comfortable surroundings for our customers and partners.”

And Waitrose isn’t the only brand taking innovative steps towards sustainability. Next, M&S, Ted Baker, ASOS and Primark are among a group of clothing retailers who have committed to reducing waste, water use and carbon emissions to the tune of 15% by 2020. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts have even launched their own range of bee hotels as part of their Bee Sustainable programme, which seeks to protect the honeybee population.

Taking simple steps towards sustainability is key to a better brand image

Of course, for smaller businesses taking innovative leaps towards sustainability such as implementing the latest refrigeration technology isn’t always possible. Without the funding and means to employ whole R&D departments to develop advanced eco-friendly measures, you might be left wondering how best to tackle the issue when it comes to your own business.

Thankfully, there are plenty of accessible ways to make sustainability part of your daily business agenda. For example, introducing solar panels.

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a new government scheme to reward households and businesses that make use of small-scale renewable technologies like solar panels. Under the SEG, businesses are paid for exporting electricity to the grid.

Even better, solar panels are now more accessible than ever before. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says that the cost of solar panels is now more than 50% cheaper than it was in 2011.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore comments on the expected success of the SEG:

“The future of energy us local and the new Smart Export Guarantee will ensure households and businesses that choose to become green energy generators will be guaranteed a payment for electricity supplied to the grid.

“We want the energy market to innovate and it’s encouraging to see some suppliers already offering competitive export tariffs to reduce bills.”

Another way to make your business a greener place to be is to shop around when it comes to your energy supplier. Some suppliers now offer “green tariffs”, which are committed to buying energy from renewable sources or offsetting carbon emissions created by the burning of fossil fuels. So, it’s important to do your research and see if you could be paying less for your energy while also doing your bit as an environmentally conscious brand.

Need help switching your business energy supplier? Contact The Energy Check today. Click here to search deals or get in touch by calling 0191 691 18 02.

Do you know your MPAN from your MPRN? Get to grips with your company’s energy meter and understand your usage

Do you know your MPAN from your MPRN? Get to grips with your company’s energy meter and understand your usage

Have you ever found yourself flummoxed by your business bills? Never fear, we’re here to help

The basics of running any business are fairly simple: bring in more money than you spend in order to generate a profit. Yet factors like energy usage can quickly rack up the costs you have to pay out. But broadening your understanding of how you use your energy can help you find smart ways to reduce costs.

And one of the simplest ways to improve your energy understanding is to get to grips with your meters.

Simply put, taking regular meter readings can help a business to gain a clearer understanding of the units of energy used on a weekly or monthly basis in the workplace and therefore what suppliers will be billing you for.

It’s important to provide regular meter readings

When you first switch to a supplier, the energy rate you’ll be given will usually be based off an estimate of how much energy you are expected to use. And, as Is the nature of an estimate, this could easily be higher (or indeed lower) than your actual gas and electricity usage.

Providing regular meter readings means that the bills you receive are as accurate as possible. Without accurate billing there is a good chance that the direct debit is too high and that cashflow will suffer as a result. While it is true that this money may be recouped or transferred at the end of a contract, it is certainly not best practice to pay out more than necessary upfront.

Bear in mind that a fixed tariff means the rate you pay per unit of energy is fixed, not your monthly cost. So your prices will still rise if your supplier thinks you’re using more gas and electricity.

Giving regular meter readings is an important part of saving on energy costs long term. We recommend sending accurate readings to your supplier at least every couple of months.

What’s the difference between an MPAN and an MPRN?

Often, an MPAN or MPRN number will be needed in order for your business to receive an accurate energy quote. So you might be wondering what these numbers are and where you can find them.

Every electricity meter features a unique number known as an MPAN. Similarly, gas meters all feature an MPRN number. These numbers help to confirm the detail of your energy supply type and consumption, and is also necessary if you decide to switch to a new supplier.

The easiest way to find your MPAN and MPRN numbers is to look on your electricity or gas bill. Your MPRN will appear as a long 11-digit number, while the MPAN will be a series of shorter numbers split into six grid boxes.

How are smart meters different?

Smart meters are designed to make energy usage more efficient, and therefore more cost effective. Not only do they show you exactly how much energy you’re using, but they also transmit this data directly to your supplier, eradicating the need for estimates.

Investing in a smart meter can be an effective way of lowering energy costs. The energy regulator, Ofgem, has even stated that every business should have a smart meter compatible with all energy suppliers by 2020.

Why should you consider switching?

There’s a lot more you can do to reduce your energy costs than simply offering accurate meter readings, and one of the most effective measures is to make sure you’re with the right supplier.

Switching supplier can help to lower the cost of your business utilities. Energy contracts can run from a single year up to five or six years. This suggests that there are plenty of businesses out there who haven’t checked their tariff for a while. If your contract has already ended, the likelihood is that you will have rolled onto a standard variable tariff which costs significantly more than the most competitive rate.

If you need help finding the best energy supplier for your business, The Energy Check is here to simplify the process. Get in touch today by calling 0191 691 18 02 or click here to start using our business energy comparison tool.

A back to basics guide to getting the best business energy deals

A back to basics guide to getting the best business energy deals

If you run a small business, read this guide to find out how you can save on your energy costs

Energy bills can be a major drain on any small business. Yet SME owners often overlook the fact that, just as with their home energy, switching supplier and tariff can be a quick way to reduce spending and lower overheads.

It’s worth noting that business energy tariffs tend to vary a lot more than domestic deals, and there is a lot more room for negotiation in some instances. With that in mind, let us introduce you to the best practices for finding the right business energy deal for you.

Why should you switch?

An investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority found that as many as 40% of businesses haven’t switched their energy supplier in the last five years. And an astonishing 39% have never switched at all! But depending on the size of your business, the savings achievable through switching can be huge.

On average, SMEs spend more than £5,000 on electricity and £4,000 on gas per year currently. If you think that your own energy costs may be higher than necessary, start by familiarising yourself with the different aspects of your current bills – including your unit rates and standing charge. This is important because your estimated annual costs may not give a truly accurate picture of what you should be paying.

How do you find the best price?

Comparing energy prices online with our comparison tool is the quickest and easiest way to explore a huge number of tariffs all in one place. It can give you a wider picture of the kind of prices you should be expecting to pay, while also highlighting any specific providers which you feel would suit your needs.

One of the key factors involved in getting the best business energy deal is to haggle. Ofgem rules make haggling over domestic energy deals impossible, but business energy deals can be tailored to suit your needs, so don’t be afraid to state exactly what you’re looking for.

The larger your business the more you can potentially gain from getting a tailored deal. That’s why we typically recommend that for those enterprises spending over £5,000 a year on energy, it is best to speak to book a call with one of our energy traders.

Can you get a fixed tariff?

If you are looking to fix yourself into a tariff for an extended period of time then many suppliers offer deals ranging from 1–3 years, although they can extend to 5 years in some cases. Longer fixed terms tend to be more expensive, but they can also protect you from future price rises – at least in terms of unit costs (remember that standing charges won’t be fixed here).

With so many different fixed and variable deals to choose from, speaking to an energy broker can be beneficial in helping you to secure the right contract.

What about a dual fuel tariff?

Unlike with domestic energy, dual fuel tariffs aren’t generally an option when it comes to business energy. You don’t tend to get tariffs which cover both electricity and gas, meaning you’ll need to look for separate quotes. So if you choose the same supplier for both services, you should ask whether you can get a little extra discount because of this.

If you secure your energy supply with The Energy Check, we’ll always work hard to negotiate a better rate for you.

What should you watch out for?

There are several things you should know when switching your business energy:

  • There isn’t usually a cooling off period after you sign a contract, so make sure you’re completely happy with your new deal before you do.
  • Choosing a business energy tariff means entering a contract, and you probably won’t be able to switch until that contract ends. So make sure it suits you in the long term.
  • Many deals will automatically renew after a certain period, so make sure you know when your contract is coming to an end so you can start hunting around and comparing prices elsewhere.

What if you work from home?

If you don’t work in a business premises, you probably won’t be able to get a business tariff. That is, unless a large portion of your energy use is for your business, usually around 50%.

If not, try switching your domestic energy provider instead and hunting down a better deal.

If you want to find a better energy deal for your business, start comparing with The Energy Check today. Click here to use our switching services and get an instant quote, or contact our team by calling 0191 691 18 02.

What does green energy supply mean and why is it relevant for your business?

What does green energy supply mean and why is it relevant for your business?

New green energy technologies are becoming more and more commonplace, but how green is green energy and what could it mean for your business?

As any entrepreneur will know, paying for energy is a significant overhead when running a business. So, finding the most efficient energy out there can be an important part of maintaining profitability. But in the modern day, many organisations feel a responsibility to do more than simply protect the bottom line – they also believe in the need to run an environmentally conscious business. And with good reason.

Businesses consume more than half (56%) of the UK’s total energy, contributing considerably to the country’s carbon emissions. Whether you’re in heavy industry or simply run a few laptops from a small office, it is always important to consider the impact you are having on the environment. One of the most common ways to tackle this issue head-on is to opt for a green energy tariff for your business.

But what exactly is green energy, and can it really help your business move forward on the journey to becoming more energy efficient?

What is green energy?

Green energy is that which is drawn from natural sources such as wind, sunlight, rain, plants, algae, tides and geothermal heat. Unlike fossil fuels – which take millions of years to develop and therefore diminish with continued use – these energy sources are renewable and naturally replenished.

The renewable energy sources also have a much smaller impact on the environment, as fossil fuels produce pollutants like greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Green energy aims to utilise energy sources that are readily available all over the world, through the installation of features like wind turbines and solar panels. Over time, it is hoped that greener energy sources will replace fossil fuels.

What types of green energy are there?

Two of the most common and well-known forms of green energy are solar power and wind power. Both of these rely on constant natural resources for heating, light and power. In fact, a study back in 2009 found that a network of 2.5-megawatt wind turbines operating at just 20% of their rated capacity could supply 40 times the current worldwide consumption of energy.

Other common green energy sources include hydropower, or hydroelectric power. This is generated by the Earth’s water cycle and can produce significant amounts of energy. China is currently the biggest generator of hydroelectric power, with two of the ten largest hydroelectric power stations in the world.

Geothermal energy is another important green energy source. The thermal energy beneath the Earth’s surface has been used for centuries for hot springs, but recently we’ve begun to understand ways to use it for generating electricity too.

Natural waste materials like wood waste and sawdust can also be used as a greener source of energy. These materials, known as biomass, can be burned without producing nearly as much greenhouse gases as fossil fuels, or else they can be transformed into fuels known as biofuels.

What does green energy mean for businesses and households?

As sustainability is such a growing area of concern in today’s society, you’ll find that most energy suppliers now offer green energy tariffs. These are tariffs designed to meet the demands for more efficient energy supply, and there are two main kind of green energy services to be aware of.

The first of these are green energy tariffs. Opting for this means that some or all of the electricity you pay for is matched by purchases of renewable energy made by your supplier on your behalf. Your supplier should let you know what sources are included in this, and exactly how much of your supply is renewable.

Some companies buy a mix of renewable and non-renewable energy but ensure that the former is at least as much as the latter. Other suppliers now advertise themselves as a 100% renewable supplier.

The second green service are green funds. This involves paying a premium that contributes to funding new renewable energy developments. So your existing energy supply continues as normal, but your involvement in the funds could help to address the balance of renewable and non-renewable energy sources in the future.

How green is green?

There’s no doubt that a green energy tariff is the more sustainable option for businesses trying to do their best for the environment. However, the subject isn’t completely free from debate.

For one thing, there is a lot of discussion about whether buying electricity from a green tariff means that your electricity is 100% renewable. All the renewable energy generated is connected to the grid, which is also true of non-renewable generation. We all draw electricity from this same pool.

The carbon content of mains electricity is calculated on this basis, so it is difficult for one user to claim they are using completely carbon-free electricity based on their supplier. Green tariffs are a useful way to reduce your business’s environmental impact. However, they should still be considered an addition to – rather than a substitute for – energy efficiency in the current market.

You should still do what you can to reduce your energy use and get into greener habits.

Why should small businesses consider a greener switch?

As we mentioned earlier, businesses are responsible for more than half of the UK’s energy consumption. So it’s important that every business looks for ways to reduce the energy it uses and considers more renewable sources. Green tariffs are one of the most accessible ways to do this.

Save on energy costs

The detrimental impact of fossil fuels has become more and more apparent over the past few decades, highlighting them as a limited, as well as damaging, source of energy. This has planted the need for more renewable sources of energy firmly in the spotlight of public consciousness.

But as well as being good for the planet, opting for a greener energy tariff can also be good for your business. Taking steps towards energy efficiency inevitably leads to lower gas and electricity costs, through factors like a healthier EPC. This helps to save your business money which you can then put into more proactive areas, be it marketing or staffing. Factors such as a better EPC can also increase the market value of your workplace, so you may see a better return should you choose to move elsewhere.

Improve your image

Making your business more sustainable can improve your overall image with consumers and the wider public. Consumers are now paying more attention than ever to a company’s impact on the environment, both positively and negatively. Research by Energy Star reveals that the most eco-friendly businesses and those associated with being more “environmentally responsible” achieve more positive responses from consumers than businesses which don’t do as much to stay green.

In fact, larger companies are now starting to recognise the efforts of other businesses. For example, Newsweek now releases annual rankings of the most eco-friendly companies. Switching to a greener tariff could be the vital first step in doing your bit as a business to help the environment, while also benefitting your brand overall.

If you’re looking to switch your energy supplier, The Energy Check can help. We compare tariffs from thousands of suppliers to find your business the very best deal. Start your search today by clicking here or give us a call on 0191 691 18 02.

Innovative SME energy solutions could be rewarded with £6 million in funding

Innovative SME energy solutions could be rewarded with £6 million in funding

A great idea deserves a great reward – that’s the thinking behind the announcement made by the government this spring.

No small business owner wants their organisation to consume more electricity than is absolutely necessary each month; nor do they enjoy the prospect of contributing to unnecessary CO2 emissions. And so it will be music to the ears of SMEs that steps are being taken to make it easier for them to improve energy efficiency.

In line with a number of proposals put forward recently by Chancellor, Philip Hammond, it was announced that up to £6 million of funding could be up for grabs to reward innovative solutions designed to encourage SMEs in commercial and industrial sectors to become more energy efficient.

The initiative comes in the form of a competition with the catchy title: Boosting Access for SMEs to Energy Efficiency (BASEE) competition. And it’s expected to address many of the most troublesome issues faced by SMEs looking to conserve energy and reduce overheads. As part of the competition, applicants will be able to pitch for a share of the funding up until the competition deadline of the 8th May 2019.

This eye-catching and potentially lucrative competition forms part of the government’s overall efforts to improve energy efficiency within businesses by 20% by 2030. It also follows proposals for a new energy efficiency scheme for small businesses which could help to unlock as much as £2.5 billion a year in savings!

There are three main categories within the competition that applicants will need to consider. These are:

  • Business models that aim to standardise elements of the investment and simplify it
  • A new form of technical tool or solution to help boost efficiency. An example of this would be a platform that provides a standardised method of assessing and displaying potential savings from a portfolio of businesses. Alternatively, the platform might match potential businesses that want to improve energy efficiency in collaboration with other companies that already possess the necessary technologies
  • Any other innovative solutions that are designed to help facilitate investment in energy efficiency for SMEs

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, or BEIS, commented on the initiative’s potential, stating:

“The aim of the Boosting Accesses for SMEs to Energy Efficiency (BASEE) competition is to accelerate the growth of the energy services market for SMEs by driving down transaction costs and promoting third party investment in energy efficiency projects.”

BEIS go on to say that although SMEs already pay for a small number of energy efficiency measures with short pay back periods, “the evidence suggests that external finance will be required to deliver measures with longer pay back periods which are required if we are to meet the 2030 ambition. “The competition will make available £6 million of funding for new, innovative scalable business models or solutions that reduce costs, simplify processes and encourage the take up of energy efficiency by SMEs at scale.”

The first phase of the competition includes a detailed application stage when these potential projects will be reviewed, and the best ones will be carried forward to phase two. It is expected that up to 10 projects will be approved from the initial applications, each with a value of £100,000.

At the end of this second phase, the chosen projects will then have an opportunity to develop and submit applications for further funding. This is likely to award up to five projects a possible £1 million each.

Do you run a small business? Want to start implementing efficiency measures now?

One simple way to improve your energy efficiency is to make sure you choose the right supplier. The Energy Check can help you find the best commercial supplier for your business by comparing a huge number of tariffs all in one place. Get in touch today by calling 0191 69 18 02 or click here to start comparing.

Understanding the Agreed Supply Capacity to your business premises is key to keeping your electricity bills under control

Understanding the Agreed Supply Capacity to your business premises is key to keeping your electricity bills under control

Not sure how Agreed Supply Capacity works? Well, it could be one of the biggest unnecessary overheads your business is currently shelling out for.

It’s not always easy running a business. For those organisations with large premises, a substantial payroll and tricky customers, there’s often a never-ending list of headaches, or shall we say challenges, to negotiate.

And if your company is heavily reliant on energy (as most businesses are in the modern day) then those pesky overheads and running costs certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. If you are operating heavy machinery or running lots of electrical equipment, the chances are that your electricity and gas bills run into the thousands each year.

But did you know that simply opening and paying your energy bills without question could be costing you more than you need to pay – even if you’re with the most competitive supplier and make sure that you turn off the lights at night. Let us introduce you to Agreed Supply Capacity.

What is Agreed Supply Capacity or ASC?

The ASC is the amount of electricity that your Distribution Network Operator, or DNO, must provide to your supply at all times. A DNO is a company licensed to distribute electricity in the UK; there are six of these organisations operating across the country.

The ASC is sometimes simply referred to as Supply Capacity, or Authorised Supply Capacity. It is measured in kVA and typically charged monthly for Half Hourly Supplies as a non-commodity charge.

Your ASC is present on your electricity bill, usually under the Distribution use of System section. Here you’ll be able to see your total distribution charge and a breakdown of how much ASC is contributing to this cost.

So, why would I pay too much if my ASC is high?

It’s important to understand how ASC charging works in order to work out whether you are being charged too much for your electricity usage. In simple terms, you are charged for the energy that is reserved for your premises, whether you use all of your quota or not.

Just as you wouldn’t take out a phone contract with 1000 free minutes per month if you only typically utilise 100; it doesn’t make financial sense to agree a large supply capacity if your business is economical with its energy usage. Of course, the aim is to be as close to your actual energy usage as possible.

You could also be paying for ASC you are not using if you have moved your business to new premises where the charge was set by the previous occupant. In this instance, the charge would have been carried over automatically to your Supplier Agreement even if there had been a change of supplier.

For example, if the previous tenants worked in heavy industry and had 15 machines drawing energy for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, then you should be cautious about what your contract’s ASC contains if you plan to run just a few laptops and a kettle.

If you have (or plan to) take energy saving measures like turning off lights and installing more efficient services, this is great news. However, it may be undermined by the details of your contract. If this is the case, you’ll need to contact your DNO to switch to an ASC which better reflects your needs.

What charges are associated with going over your ASC?

As well as being charged too much for underutilising your ASC, you can also pay heavy surcharges for your ASC if you exceed your allowance.

If you have expanded your business activities on site without asking for the ASC to be increased, for instance, you may need to take a close look at your contract. These charges are referred to as ‘Excess Capacity’ charges and can cost a significant amount over time.

You only have one opportunity a year to change your ASC, and your DNO can reject a request to increase if it has an impact on other Suppliers in your area. This means any changes you make to your ASC should be considered carefully.

Has Agreed Supply Capacity got you scratching your head? Wish you could speak to some clever energy saving experts who can help you get your energy costs under control and on point? Get in touch with the friendly team here at The Energy Check today by calling 0191 691 18 02.

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