Don’t let a new Government’s indecisions harm your business’s future!

What effect will a change of Government have on the business energy market? LSI Independent Utilities Broker Ltd, offers a few suggestions.

With the political candidates taking to the hustings in a last minute attempt to secure their party the opportunity to form the next government, only one thing is certain. Whichever party or parties are in power for the next four years Britain’s energy future is unlikely to radically change.

The UK needs as a matter of urgency more generating capacity if we are to prevent the possibility of the lights in our high streets and factories from going out at times of peak demand. Even if decisive action were to be decreed in a month’s time, we would still fear the threat of power shortages for several years.

Top priority for the year ahead must be for energy consumers and suppliers to convince the new government that the business energy market has been subjected to far too many interventions making it over complicated and too uncertain for customers and suppliers alike to invest in with confidence.

Many commentators fear the sector is in danger of changing from a competitive to a managed market with all the implication for customers relied on to meet the cost of subsidised energy across the board.

Threats from Labour, should they get in, to freeze energy prices created a fear within the market to the point where much needed investment was abandoned or at the very least substantially reduced. Even now with Ed Miliband arguing that Labour never meant to freeze prices only to ‘cap’ them, suppliers still appear to be sceptical and reluctant to pass on further cuts to consumers.

The Conservatives have been talking constantly about going green, whilst focussing their attention on major areas of controversy such as shale gas and nuclear, neither of which seem likely to be developed at any pace in the immediate future due to public criticism and plummeting wholesale markets. One saving grace however, is their determination for Britain to have control of its own energy mix.

As for the Liberal Democrats they still favour cutting carbon emissions in tandem with ‘green’ generation, which is highly commendable provided the wind continues to blow and equally important the generation costs are lower than for coal or gas, which over the past weeks has not been the case. In the early days of the coalition they were totally opposed to developing nuclear power. Now they are saying the opposite, which makes predicting future policies almost impossible.

Add to this falling oil prices threatening to drive a coach and horses through the outgoing government’s EMR policy and whichever party succeeds the immediate future does not look too rosy.

However, all is not lost. Business consumers can take matters into their own hands to reduce the threat of the lights going out and cut the costs of their energy bills. In many cases, actions can be implemented with very little financial investment, just a bit of time, organisation and determination.

Generally referred to as demand-side management the idea is not new, but it is something that has for many years been ignored. With a little bit of planning and thought substantial long-term savings can be achieved.

For example, a couple of years ago we were called in to help The Ambassador Theatre Group reduce carbon emissions within its 39 UK theatre/entertainment venues. In the first year, it introduced a series of ‘no-cost’ solutions to the energy waste issues, which achieved cost savings of just over 5%.

The group was so impressed with its achievements it initiated a project to support a culture and behavioural change with regard to energy management and efficiency, which it called ‘Always Think Green’ and ‘Project Blackout’.  Within a short period of time The Ambassador Theatre Group saw a reduction in overnight energy consumption of 15%, despite an increase of 7.43% for its electricity contract.

Some of the wastage area identified included, what would appear to be straightforward and logical steps, such as switching off all unnecessary equipment especially at night, including printers and emergency lighting.

I must admit it did take a lot of convincing for the IT team to accept that pushing the off button when finishing work would not sever the company network.

These actions appear, on the face of it to be almost ‘no-brainers’, but it is amazing how many businesses have never carried out energy surveys to establish where potential savings can be made.

However, for any programme to be successful the employees must be on board. For example, look around your high street or business park at night and observe how many lights are on. If some are required to be running, in the case of security lighting, how many could be fitted with low energy light bulbs or LEDs?

In the case of office lights remaining on, on a number of projects we have suggested what are often called ‘last man out’ switches to enable operation of emergency lighting during closing and opening up procedures and shut down lighting in unstaffed areas.

These small actions can combine together to boost a business’s bottom line and just as importantly reduce total energy consumption and by doing so save Britain’s energy future.

Please note:In order to benefit from Chamber Energy and the recent 5-year low in prices please contact Barrie Jacobs. Chamber Energy can assist you in reducing your business energy costs by offering a free of charge assessment of your current bills and helping you search the entire market to find the best prices for your next contract.

Call: 01727 877 039