Energy Management | Services
If you’re responsible for your business' energy management, you'll already know the importance of planning. Choosing a procurement plan is one of the most significant decisions you can make as you seek to reduce your energy costs. Whilst carbon efficiency solutions are helpful and are often mandatory for some energy intensive businesses, for smaller sized companies, an effective energy procurement plan remains the most powerful way of reducing costs.
Choosing the right plan is not always an easy decision but by doing some simple groundwork, you can select the most effective strategy that best meets your business' needs.
1. BUILD A PICTURE OF 'NOW'
First, take a look at your energy bills. How much electricity and gas is your business using? Can you see the peaks or troughs? What rates are you paying at these times?
This will show you if there are any obvious ways to save. When we undertake a Portfolio Review for our clients, we assess if they could receive discounts for being efficient or by choosing to pay a certain way, as well as seeing if they could benefit from re-balancing their usage.
2. KNOW YOUR APPETITE
Next, ask yourself, what are your business' plans? Do you need scope to expand? Do you need to know for certain what your out goings are going to be? What level of energy price volatility is your business willing to take on?
Your business' goals and objectives help shape how well your business could cope with large fluctuations in energy prices. When we undertake a Risk Assessment for our clients, we explain that every energy procurement plan needs to take 'appetite' into account. If in the next year the wholesale market increases by 46% (this happened to power prices during 2010-11), could your business cope?
3. EXPLORE THE MARKET
Lastly, explore the options available to you. There are lots of different types of products available - fixed, flex, capped, baskets - depending on what is important to your business.
Understanding the features and benefits of each of these is really important so you can make an informed choice. Some products require a greater understanding of the markets so utilising the expertise of consultants like Advantage Utilities, can enable you to save even more.
ENERGY PLANNING & STRATEGY
Before you decide to make any changes, you need to gain an understanding of your current portfolio - essentially building a picture of your sites, what energy your business uses, when you use it and what it costs you; what products and services you currently take, what suppliers you work with and when you're due to renew your agreements. As part of our Portfolio Review Service, we pull all of this data together for you, collating all your usage, plotting trends that we identify, highlighting ways you could save through a variety of techniques, and drafting a plan that can kick start determining what your future procurement strategy should be.
Your next step would be to ask yourself questions around what your business needs - its wider goals, aspirations and plans. Our Risk Assessment Service provides you with an experienced coach, who will ask you questions prompting you to consider how tollerent your business would be under certain strains, and how comfortable you are with this pressure. You'll receive a detailed assessment of your 'appetite' to risk, and what procurement options would be most suited to you in the short and medium term, and what longer term solutions you could implement that could bolster your resiliance moving forwards.
FIXED ENERGY PURCHASING
If, when you ask yourself what your business needs, you say "we need to know exactly what our budget will be", you could explore a 'fixed' price strategy. This traditional approach involves us utilising our extensive purchasing power and multiple supplier relationships to secure your business a competitive, fixed price deal for up to 5 years using our reverse auction. This provides you with immediate budget certainty and you can be safe in the knowledge that if energy costs rise, your price won't change.
If you want to have the ability to take advantage of a falling market but also want to protect your business from dramatic price increases, you could explore a 'assurance basket' strategy. Our basket enables you to secure a 'maximum price' that you are willing to pay for your wholesale gas and electricity. If the market increases beyond this, your business will be protected. What's more, if the market falls, you'll be able to take advantage of the lower wholesale price by our team strategically trading your energy so your business can capitalise on savings.
If you’re comfortable with ‘hedging your bets’ (but with our expertise!), you could choose a fully flexible strategy. We tailor our flexible procurement approach to your business' specific needs. Our team track the prevailing market to ensure you can immediately benefit from any favourable wholesale price movements, spreading your 'price risk' throughout the year, and opening up the ability to buy when the market is low and fix when it increases.
BLEND & EXTEND
If you're currently in a fixed strategy but the market has fallen and you wish to explore how you can take advantage of these lower prices, you could explore our blend and extend strategy. This is still a fully fixed agreement but with the advantage, that should the market drop sufficiently you can extend your agreement on lower rates meaning you almost immediately benefit from any significant drop in the wholesale market.
Every business, regardless of their size, can benefit from a 'health check'. We can review your business' energy consumption, highlighting peaks in usage, areas for reduction and what efficiency measures are delivering or could deliver the greatest return for ou. This can be as simple as a review of your bills, or a full onsite Energy Audit.
Whether your business has one site or hundreds, we offer a comprehensive 'bill validation' service to ensure what your suppliers bill you, accurately portrays what your business has used. We highlight discrepencies and any over charges working with your suppliers to ensure any mistakes are corrected and reclaim any monies owed.
ADVANCED METER READING INSTALATIONS (AMR)
Advanced Meter Readings (AMR or data loggers), were the pre-curser to Smart meters and enabled your gas and electricity meters to talk directly to your energy suppliers. They meant that you no longer needed to provide manual reads, and still ensure you only pay for what your business uses. Whilst we helped many clients move from standard meters to AMR, Ofgem are slowly phasing the technology out with the advancement of Smart Meters. If you currently have AMRs installed, there's no immediate need to upgrade until they come to the end of their life but you can choose to move to Smart at any time.
SMART METER INSTALATIONS & UPGARDES
Smart Metering are a more sophisticated version of AMRs as they have the added capability to show you energy consumption data 'real time'. This means, whatever time of the day or night, you can clearly see how much energy your business is using and what it's costing you enabling you to act more swiftly to make changes to help your business save. With our extensive experience in Smart, we can support your business with a completely fresh install or by helping your business upgrad its existing AMRs to the new SMETS (Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specifications) guidelines laid out by Ofgem in April 2016.
ENERGY REPORTING & ASSESSMENTS
Because each of our clients are individual, we have developed a wide selection of easy to understand reports that we publish regularly for our subscribers. These include a Daily Market Report covering headline topics, a Weekly Market Report which gives a more in depth look at the markets and shows trends over time, and a Monthly Report highlighting issues in more depth. Our intelligence covers wholesale commodity markets including global crude oil, natural gas and power. We also highlight external market drivers that are influencing changes across the markets, and touch on ways to mitigate such risk.
Our bespoke reports are developed specifically for our individual clients. We regularly develop Purchasing Reports which analyse how a clients fixed procurement product has performed for them, and what their future forecasted spend could look like. Our Consumption Reports examine Half-Hourly (HH) usage, including the associated 'non-energy costs' and how our clients can exploite opportunities within their NEC to help them save. Our Trading Reports show our 'flexible energy' clients where their prices have been locked in and where they have been released, showing how the product had helped them save.