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Business Energy Questions – Is saving money important to your business?

April 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Is saving money important to your business?

It would appear that not all businesses are actually keen to save! Astonishing really. They are too busy in their pursuit to ‘make’ money, yet sweep under the carpet their business overheads until it’s often too late to make decent savings. Those niggly bills that come around but once a year, requiring time and effort in dealing with them. We concur, we empathise with you. They are a nuisance, it does take time to find the best deals, however, given a little time and effort, you can make substantial savings. Don’t sweep this overhead under the carpet, face up to it and act now!

Of course in my line of work I would say this. I am an energy broker, or intermediary if you like, helping to facilitate the process of attaining the best energy rates possible. If you aren’t prepared to do it then I will take on board the role of your energy manager. Not only this, but I will make sure of the following:

  • Prevent you from rolling onto ‘out-of-contract’ rates at renewal time.
  • Find out what your current contract situation is (if indeed you’re in a contract).
  • Find out current tariff rates and annual consumptions.
  • If you don’t know who your supplier is, I can find this out.
  • Help with the process of installing a new meter (even a Smart or Half Hourly meter).
  • Resolve issues with your energy supplier.
  • Put you in contact with associated partners, who can help review and improve your energy efficiency, the aim being to lower your consumption and ultimately your expenditure.
  • Provide communications throughout to keep you informed and up to date.

Yes, we do undertake these tasks for our clients where and when required. Many simply don’t have the time or knowledge to deal with it and would rather outsource to someone such as myself, who will take the hassle away from them, yet work for them and with them.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you know how much energy your business consumes per year?
  2. Do you know how much you spend per year?
  3. Do you know how to reduce your energy consumption?

If you answered ‘NO’ to any of these questions, then our response would be ‘we can find this out, let us help you’. This is what we do, this is what we are here for. Don’t waste your precious time calling your energy supplier, hanging on the telephone for half an hour or more, only to then be passed on to another department. We can get direct to the appropriate person.

When renewing your energy contracts, what’s important for you and your business in terms of your energy supplier requirements?

  • Price
  • Quality of service
  • Fixed prices, fixed term
  • Budgeting
  • Improving energy efficiency
  • A managed service
  • Speed of processing

I suspect that for many, the top priority is price. The lowest price possible, I know that’s what I would certainly want. I also suspect that quality of service would be a distant second…perhaps. If you’ve previously had bad experience of a particular supplier, then you’ll want to switch away from them, making sure that you review customer ratings of the other energy suppliers, for their customer satisfaction levels. But how about considering the other requirements too.

A specialist in this area, such as myself, can assist with these requirements for you. Arranging fixed price, fixed term contracts so that you know exactly what you should be paying over the duration of that fixed term period, which will help with your budgeting. Nowadays with energy prices only ever seeming to rise, we should be reviewing our consumption habits and considering ways by which we can  improve energy efficiency and reduce our consumption, ultimately reducing your expenditure. Our managed service will help to keep you on top of your energy expenses. If you’re a multi-site business, could we align renewal dates to a single date – yes. If you are a property management company dealing with multi-meters (communal block) on a single site, we can review and align these. We can help with smart metering, extremely beneficial for multi-sited businesses, that require meter readings to be taken on a regular basis. With smart meters, you don’t need to visit each site. You simply log on to your computer, open up the online facility and review your energy consumption for each and every smart meter you have. You’ll have the ability to break it down to half hourly data. The speed of processing is due to you taking advantage of our service and being able to navigate to the appropriate people in a timely fashion and letting us address issues on your behalf.

We will challenge the existence of the costs and whether they are necessary. Our aim is to reduce your costs wherever possible, to the lowest prices. We will re-negotiate with your existing supplier as well as other suppliers for best rates.

One of our new services for tendering, is to provide you with a ‘Reverse Auction’ bidding process. We will submit your business energy details and renewal offers (if applicable) to several energy suppliers, who will then bid for your business, by attempting to offer the lowest rates possible, bettering the other suppliers. This is a fairly new approach to procuring your energy rates, but one in which:

  • will produce lowest rates
  • A large range of suppliers tendering
  • transparency of associated costs

All businesses need assistance in some form or other. Not everything in your business can be performed by you, which is why you seek out the expertise of others.

  • Does a builder do ALL the work themself? No, they will bring in experts – plumbers, carpenters, electricians etc.
  • Corporations will bring in auditors, contractors, project managers, I.T. firms etc.

It should be the same for one of your businesses largest expenses – your energy bill. Businesses focus predominantly on increasing turnover and making profit. But what about reducing overheads? Will this not increase your turnover?

Do you use an accountant, gardener, cleaner, restaurant or local take-away? All cater for tasks that you could do yourself , however, you don’t have the time to spend doing, the time to understand what to do, so you use these services. Throw in our service to this list. We have the time, the knowledge and expertise to undertake your energy procurement & energy management requirements. 

Businesses focus predominantly on increasing turnover and making profit. But what about reducing overheads? Will this not increase your profit?

We will work ‘WITH YOU’ & ‘FOR YOU’.

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Utility bill breakdown

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment
Utility bills contain a variety of charges, but what are you actually paying for? We look at how utility bills are put together, and how to cut down your usage. The average utility bill is made up of several different components. Here is a breakdown of an average utility bill to give you a better idea of where your money is going, a guide on how to use, and tips on how to cut down your usage.

Breakdown of your average utility bill

utility bills breakdown

Meter provision

8% of your gas bill and 7% of your electricity bill. Meter provision is the cost of your meter, plus its installation and maintenance

Environmental costs

4% of your gas bill and 10% of your electricity bill Government environmental initiatives have an impact on the cost of your gas and electricity, because a proportion of your bill is used to subsidies them.

These charges are not itemised on your bill, so you won’t see exactly how much you are contributing.

Environmental schemes which are subsidised by your gas and electricity bills include:

  • Feed-in Tariff scheme (FITs)
  • Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT)
  • Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP)
  • The Renewables Obligation (RO)
  • EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

VAT

5% of your gas bill and 5% of your electricity bill. Contrary to popular belief, you do not pay full VAT on gas and electricity, but you do pay some. Currently VAT payments are capped at 5%.

Transmission charges

2% of your gas bill, 5% of your electricity bill Transmission networks are what actually deliver electricity and gas to your home, and some of the cost of building and maintaining transmission chargers is passed on to customers.

Distribution charges

19% of your gas bill, 18% of your electricity bill Some of the cost of building, maintaining and operating the local gas pipes and electricity wires which deliver energy to the home is passed on to customers.

Wholesale energy, supply costs and profit margin

63% of your gas bill, 54% of your electricity bills This is the charge for the actual gas and electricity that you use, which makes up the bulk of your bill.

Wholesale cost refers to the price that the energy supplier has to pay for the gas and electricity they buy.

Supply costs are the costs the energy supplier incurs for the general administration associated with a retail business – for example running a call centre and sending out bills – these vary according to what tariff you are on.

Profit margin is the amount of profit the energy supplier makes from each tariff.

How your energy bill is split

You can find a pie chart from 2011 below that shows you how a typical energy bill is divided up. Next to the pie chart, you’ll also find a table that shows you what the split means in monetary terms for the average household.42% of our energy bill goes on heating

Data for the pie chart and table sourced from the Energy Savings Trust.

With over £756 of your energy bill going on heating and hot water alone – you might consider putting on a warm jumper before turning on the boiler. If you find these figures worrying, there are plenty of things you can do to bring down your energy bills.

Cut your costs

Heating

The biggest portion of your energy bill is taken up with heating your home and your water. Follow these tips and you could save a fortune on your heating bills:

  • Turn your thermostat down by 1 degree. This could save you as much as £55 over the space of a year.
  • Make sure your home is adequately insulated. Loft and cavity wall insulation may require an initial investment, but could easily save you around £310 a year in heating costs.
  • If you’re on a low income, you may be eligible for an energy efficiency grant to make improvements to your home. Find out if you could be eligible and how to apply.
  • Help your heating to work more efficiently. Try using a radiator booster: a simple device that sits on your radiator and circulates the heat more efficiently, saving you between £70 and £140 a year on your bills.
  • Try to block any draughts that are coming into your house and make sure you close your curtains to keep the heat in.

In the kitchen

The next largest portion goes towards powering our washing machines, fridges, freezers and cooking appliances. Keep these costs down with these tips:

  • Do your washing less frequently . It may sound obvious – but keep the number of wash loads down by making sure the machine is full every time.
  • Use the ‘economy’ setting on your washing machine. Many washing powders will now work at temperatures as low as 30 degrees, helping your machine run more efficiently.
  • Dry your clothes outside or on a clothes horse. Tumble dryers use a lot of energy, and should only be used as a last resort.
  • Invest in a Hob Gas Saver to reduce the amount of wasted heat and energy when you cook. It simply slots over the gas burner to increase its efficiency, making energy savings of up to 12%.
  • Replace your current fridge/freezer with an energy efficient model. Look out for the energy efficiency stickers on modern appliances (pictured below). The greener, the better.

Energy efficiency label

Computers, gadgets and electronics

Next up is the amount we spend on consumer electronics such as DVDs, TVs and computers every year. Bring this cost down with the following tips:

  • Don’t leave electronics on standby. If you are forgetful, invest in a standby saver – it will automatically cut the power to any electronics left on standby.
  • Don’t charge your gadgets unnecessarily. For example, don’t leave laptops and mobile phones charging overnight, as this is a big waste of energy.
  • Don’t leave your computer and peripherals on when you’re not using them. Make sure speakers/monitors/printers are turned off when you’ve finished with them.

Lighting

Finally there is the portion of our bills going towards lighting our homes. The quickest, easiest ways to save on your lighting costs are to:

  • Buy energy efficient light bulbs. They last up to 10 times longer than normal lightbulbs and could save you up to £40 over its lifetime.
  • Turn the lights off behind you when you leave a room. Try and get into the habit of switching the lights off as you move through the house.

Cut £’s off your energy bills in minutes

These energy saving tips will help you bring your energy bills down as well as reducing your carbon footprint. However, the quickest and easiest way to save on your energy bills is to compare energy prices online and switch to a cheaper deal.

Information provided by USwitch

Business Energy Service – Contact us today for a cheaper business energy rate

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment

U-GET will review your business energy rates. If you don’t have time to check your energy prices, or simply don’t understand how to get the best rates, we are here to help. We’ll show you possible savings against current tariff and will also arrange the switch for you.

Simply fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible:

Please have the details in our client information form to hand, when we contact you. These help us to accurately quote the best rates.

Client Info Form

Cold snap could push business electricity prices up again

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

The severe cold snap across Europe, which has pushed gas prices to their highest level for five years, is proof that business electricity prices  will remain volatile, according to the Energy Advice Line.

Julian Morgan, managing director of the UK’s leading business electricity price comparison  and switching service (Energy Advice Line), said although energy suppliers had recently cut their prices, firms would be wise to search for good deals now if their fixed-term contracts were ending.

Mr Morgan said there were fears that the unexpectedly harsh European cold snap would push gas and business electricity prices back up sooner than expected. Wholesale UK gas prices have jumped by 50% since the beginning of the cold snap to reach their highest level since 2006.

“To remain in control of their energy bills and to keep them as low as possible, businesses need to be vigilant and should not expect the lower business electricity  prices announced by the Big Six earlier this year to last,” Mr Morgan said.

“If your fixed-term contract is coming up for renewal it is now more important than ever to compare the market and investigate the best business electricity rates available. It may be wise for firms to lock in good deals now.

“Businesses can do this up to 120 days before the end of their fixed-term contracts.”

With more people forced to use more gas to heat their homes during the bitterly cold weather, and with Europe’s major gas supply from Russia not being as high as usual, some countries such as Italy, Greece and Australia have suffered fuel shortages.

Energy analysts say there is still sufficient gas in the UK, but if higher prices continued these could feed through to domestic and business electricity users eventually.

“If wholesale prices rise faster than expected, it’s obvious retail prices will rise faster than expected too,” he said. “But it’s not easy to predict whether prices are back up for long,” according to Stephen Fitzpatrick, chief executive of Ovo Energy.

Tom Pering, an analyst at energy consultancy Inenco, said gas prices had spiked even higher in the current cold snap because energy traders were worried that British supplies were dependent on a major Norwegian pipeline.

Any disruption to this supply could have serious consequences at a time when the weather is bad across Europe.

“It’s difficult to say whether the high prices will continue as the weather is uncertain,” he said. “We think there is a risk premium being built in to the price, even though something hasn’t happened. We need strong flows from Norway. If that was to have a disruption, things would be more difficult.”

Energy regulator Ofgem has urged all businesses to shop around for the best available business gas  and business electricity prices.

Domestic Energy Renewal Catch

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Switching energy providers should save you £££’s. In fact, only last week, on ‘Rip-Off Britain‘, they claimed that if we all switched, then UK homes could save around £3bn!!! That’s quite a saving and yet many people still don’t do this. This same also applies to businesses.

Although we could save by switching, there is one slight catch. Typical I hear you cry!

Domestically, if you are in a 1 year fixed contract, you will receive your renewal letter (informing you that your tariff is coming to an end) approximately 4 weeks before the end date (renewal date). The 4 weeks prior, notice letter, is in effect your ‘Termination’ notice and is standard (or should be).

Now you have 3 possible options:

  1. Do Nothing – which means that you’ll automatically roll onto the quoted rates in your renewal letter, which will be higher than any fixed rates. They will also be subject to market changes (up & down).
  2. Stay with your current supplier and arrange a better deal than the one they initial quoted (probably a fixed term/price tariff).
  3. Compare & switch using a comparison site (or do it all yourself).

As this article is entitled ‘Renewal Catch’, I’ll focus on point 3.

So you receive your renewal letter 4 weeks before the end date. You hit that computer for a comparison site, find a good deal and proceed to switch. Excellent…well, not quite.

You see, you now assume that come the end date, your new rates will automatically take effect then. In the UK, it takes between 4-6 weeks for the authorities to switch over from one supplier to another. You’ve probably seen the problem. There could be 2 weeks whereby, well…what happens? What rates do I pay?

The truth is, that if you switch right away, it may take 6 weeks for it to go through, in which time for those extra 2 weeks, you would have been paying ‘out of contract standard rates’ which are higher than fixed and subject to market changes.

So what should you do? As it takes an age to switch in the UK domestic market, I suggest that you keep track of your end date, by placing a reminder in your diary, computer calendar, mobile…etc, for somewhere in the region of 6-8 weeks prior to your end date. This way, you shouldn’t get caught in this corridor of uncertainty and end up paying those unforseen higher rates.

To compare your rates, use our comparison site (Tip: do find out your annual consumption and use this figure, not monthly spend)

For your free business energy quote & switch, contact U-GET Consultancy Services

Energy Bill Rates Check – We help you to pay less

Ever picked up the paper or listened to the news and heard them talk about how Mr & Mrs. Jones were overcharged £1000 for the gas and electricity? It happens quite often!

There may well be a certain ‘spin’ on it by the media, but customers are paying more than they could be, if they only took the time to review their bills. This is the problem though, they don’t always have the time, they can’t get their head around the bill and consequently, neglect it, thereby paying higher rates.

We’ve all been there haven’t we? We receive our utility or insurance bill and fling it to one side. If you do this with an energy bill, you will miss the cut off notification date and they’ll simply roll you onto that higher rate tariff, which you cannot get out of. Not until the next renewal date.

Mr & Mrs Jones may be paying £1000 more than they need to, because they didn’t act on their renewal letter or the energy company has made a mistake with their bill. Either way, don’t just leave it, there is assistance.

If you contact me, I can find out your renewal dates. This can be diarised and at the appropriate time, I will act on it. I will send off a termination notice (preventing you from automatically rolling over contracts), then look for new energy quotes.

If you believe that you have been over-charged, again, do call me, I can check this out, if you provide me with a set of historical bills.

Recently, I saved a client £1600 per year! How, through a simple telephone call to find out his contract terms, I was informed that his rates had increased, despite him being in a fixed contract! This was corrected and the over-payment was credited back to him.

To find out more about your energy bill rates, for business energy and for your home energy, then please contact me, I will be more than happy to help.

07710 118520 or 020 8327 0001

Ian Tiffenberg – U-GET Consultancy Services

Turning down the business gas but keeping business electricity on full!

by Energy Advice Line

So a lot of small businesses have been enjoying the mini heatwave – it can’t last, can it? Although many are able to reduce their energy consumption for others it’s a case of turning it up..if you’re making ice cream that is and a few other thirst quenchers for the hot weather!

Even if it is warm outside health and safety will want to make sure that your workers are working in offices and factories that are temperature controlled – so many offices nowadys have windows that cannot be opened so the air conditioning is on permanently. Okay for those that have motion sensitive sensors they have an element of control but for many businesses there is stil a need to be careful about how much energy is being wasted.

It’s not just offices and factories either that are in danger, many retail outlets have similar issues – do you ever look up in supermarkets and large stores and wonder how much energy a business is wasting heating their roof space? Well for businesses in this environment it is a big concern and so it is prudent to take all possible measures to reduce those business energy bills for switching off unnecessary lights and equipment to insulation and use of solar power, where viable.

One of the most important things a busines can do though is to check their bills and tariffs and visit an business energy price comparison site to see if they are truly getting the best deal. Using an independent broker can save a company a lot of money and stress as these companies will help you through the termination and contract set up and keep a watchful eye on your business electricity and business gas contracts in the future also ensuring that you are always on the best possible rates.

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