Business week in brief: 4th May 2012
Business week in brief: 20th April 2012
DECC's new smart meter guidelines: five implications for your business
DECC has today published new guidlines for the rollout of smart meters, but what will this mean for your business?
1. Two million small businesses will have smart meters installed by 2019.
2. You'll get more accurate bills.
With a smart meter, meter readings are automatically sent to your energy supplier, which means accurate bills, which means better cash flow for your business.
3. You won't get a sales pitch
DECC has banned energy suppliers from using installing your smart meter as an opportunity to make sales pitch. It has also placed restrictions around how the data your smart meter provides can be used, and given customers some control over who can see what information.
4. You could save £190 a year
DECC has said that businesses can expect to make savings of £190 by 2020, rising to £200 a year by 2030 as a result of having a smart meter. It's important to note that these savings aren't automatic. If you want to make these savings, you need to be proactive and use the smart meter and the data it provides to change your habits and be more energy-efficient, which is why DECC also has said that when your new meter is installed you should be given energy efficiency advice.
5. It could mean innovation in the market (and more savings)
Smart meters can provide energy suppliers with much more data about how much energy we use and how we use it. This means that energy suppliers can more accurately forecast how much energy they need to buy and when they need it, which means they can be more efficient. Hopefully greater efficiency in terms of forecasting shape and demand will mean the energy suppliers can pass the savings they make on to their customers and also come up with innovative new tariffs.
On the whole, we think this is a positive for businesses, but we have to ask why it's taken so long? Smart meter technology has been around for well over a decade, energy suppliers have been installing them for years and many businesses have already taken the plunge.
For more information on smart meters visit our partner company Business Juice.
Business week in brief: 5th April 2012
Three changes that might hit your business energy bill this April
April has brought some changes that could mean you see an increase in your business energy bill this month. As well having their immediate impact, these increases should also be a wake-up call to start thinking ahead when it comes to energy if you're a business owner or decision maker.
So what has changed? Three things:
1. CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (previously known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment), is a government scheme to improve energy efficiency and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by large public and private sector organisations. If your business comes under the scheme, then this month you need to buy an allowance to cover your forecasted carbon emissions for 2011/2012 - at a rate of £12 per tonne of carbon.
You should also be aware that there are new proposals from DECC to simplify the scheme, particularly focussing on cutting the adminstrative cost for businesses. Businesses are free to comment on these proposals - a formal consultation is running for 12 weeks from 27 March 2012. The government will then amend the legislation by April 2013.
2. Climate Change levy (CCL)
The Climate Change Levy (CCL) is a tax which all businesses (bar a few exceptions) pay on each unit of energy they use.
On 1st April 2012, CCL went up: the rate for electricity rose from 0.485 pence per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 0.509 pence per kWh; the rate for natural gas rose from 0.169 pence per kWh to 0.177 pence per kWh. For a typical business using 25,000 kWh of electricity and 5,000 kWh of gas a year, this will add an additional £6.40 to the annual bill and take the actual cost of this levy to £136.10 a year.
3. Gas transportation charges
All energy suppliers have to pay transportation charges to cover the cost of providing and maintaining the pipes that carry gas to customers. These charges make up about 15% of your energy bill.
LDZ gas transportation charges went up on 1st April 2012: the average change for East of England was 3.6%, for London 7.1%, for the North West 7.4%, and for the West Midlands 4.3%. Directly or indirectly, these increases will be passed onto businesses.
These three possible price increases are just a snapshot of the wider landscape when it comes to business energy.
There are numerous schemes, changes, charges, levies and costs which will have an impact on your bill, and that's leaving rising wholeale energy prices aside. It’s not enough to just choose an energy supplier then sit back and ignre your bills - businesses need to be proactive in every area and make sure that they're doing everything possible to offset these costs, both now and in the furure.
Of course I'd say this, but one way of doing it is by getting the most competitive tariff you can. For an average customer, the least competitive unit rates on the market were around 70% higher than the cheapest rates available last year. As a result, switching to a new tariff and/or supplier can make a huge difference to your bills and, most importantly, your bottom line. Give us a call on 0800 688 8568 to find out more.
For more information on the Climate Change Levy visit our partner company Business Juice.
Business week in brief: 8th March 2012
Business week in brief: 2nd March 2012
Business week in brief: 10th February 2012
Ed Davey launches the Energy Efficiency Deployment Office
Yesterday Ed Davey launched the Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO), the government’s new ‘centre of expertise on energy efficiency’.
Launching EEDO: one of Ed Davey's first jobs as Secretary of State. Image by DECCgovuk via Flickr.
The EEDO is intended to be the hub for the development and delivery of energy efficiency policy and strategy. The Office consists of 50 civil servants with expertise in analysis, economics, customer insight, statistics and policy delivery.
Mr Davey commented on the launch: “For the first time, we’ll be able draw on the expertise of a dedicated energy efficiency team. A team with real experience and a clear job description: to help us deliver our existing policies, and find new ways to save energy, right across the economy.”
He went on to address some specific points relating to businesses: “For businesses, there are even bigger rewards on the table, but recent research suggests that when it comes to energy efficiency, too many executives lack confidence in the return on investment. 70% of businesses are planning investment in efficiency projects in the next three years, but one in three directors are unconvinced of the benefits, and one in four don’t even know what their annual energy bill is. That has to change. We need to get out there and show people what energy efficiency can really do for them. The money it can save, the carbon it can offset, and the green growth opportunities it presents.”
Mr Davey was referring to a survey of 600 businesses, conducted by Siemens, which found a lack of faith in the returns available from investing in energy efficiency. If these statistics accurately reflect the feelings of other business leaders, the EEDO could have a challenge on its hands.
Do you think the EEDO will make a difference? Are you thinking of investing in energy efficiency measures for your business? Let us know your thoughts.
Are you racking up half your business electricity bill after hours?
According to a new report by British Gas Business, the average business spends as much as £1 in every £2 of their electricity bill after office hours have ended.
Are you guilty of wasting energy after hours? Image by Tomé Jorge via Flickr
British Gas Business looked at data from over 6,000 smart meters and found that 46% of business electricity is used before 8am or after 6pm.
The average business energy bill is around £2300* - so that means that businesses could be wasting in excess of £1000 when there’s no one in the office.
Obviously when the office is shut, you’ll still need to use some energy - for example to keep essential equipment or appliances running - but there could be plenty of small changes you could make to cut down the wastage. For example, are computers, printers and photcopiers left switched on or on standby? Do you leave vending machines or coffee machines running? Do you light your car park at the weekend? Do you leave display lighting on even when your shop is closed?
This piece of research was released to tie-in with the launch of British Gas Business’s new product: Business Energy Insight.
With Business Energy Insight, you can get a free smart meter and free access to an online dashboard which will give you lots of data about how much electricity you’re using and when you’re using it. This can provide you with lots of information and ideas for ways you can cut your energy usage; for example, if your energy consumption stays high even after the office has shut. I'll paint you a picture: it's 8pm, you're at home, and you log-in to your online dashboard and see that energy consumption at the office is higher than it should be. You probably won't rush down there to find out why, but the next day you can find out what it was, and take action to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Read more about getting Business Energy Insight and a free smart meter from British Gas Business or call our energy advisors on 0800 688 8568 for more information.
- The draft Energy Bill: a five-minute summary
- 60% increase in business energy costs as average turnover falls by 6%
- Business week in brief: 11th May 2012
- Ed Miliband and the Queen talk energy
- Interview with Steve Fitzsimons of new business energy supplier, Hudson Energy
- Business week in brief: 4th May 2012
- The see saw of corporate profit
- Business week in brief: 27th April 2012
- EDF Energy’s Business Customer Commitments: four key pledges
- Businesses buck the trend when it comes to smaller energy suppliers