Archive for April, 2014

The Director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy highlighted some little known, but fairly remarkable, statistics recently.

According to the government, the UK economy grew by 58% between 2000-12 (despite the recession).

Over that same period, and particularly in the last couple of years, politicians, the media and business have grown increasingly concerned about future energy shortages, based in part on the premise that the country’s demand for energy will continue to grow.

Yet these warnings fail to account for one important fact: in 2012 the UK’s energy consumption was 12% lower than in 2000.

The de-coupling of the historical link between economic growth and energy consumption is evidence of significant changes in the way energy is used.

What has increased between 2000-12 is the price of energy however: bills are up threefold since the beginning of the century. This price increase has forced businesses (and consumers) to cut out waste, pushed along that route by initiatives such as the Carbon Reduction Commitment, improved building standards and the banning of the most inefficient products.

The fall in energy consumption demonstrates extremely clearly that efficiency, voluntary or regulatory, doesn’t come at the cost of reduced growth, something from which all businesses can take heart.

 

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Another week, another fine for one of the big 6 energy companies.

This time it’s British Gas which has been slapped with a £5.6 million penalty by Ofgem for blocking businesses from switching suppliers.

Due to a failure in British Gas’ computer systems around 5.6% of the objections made by British Gas to business customers wanting to change suppliers were invalid, preventing them in many cases from switching to better value tariffs.

They also failed to inform 1,200 businesses that their contracts were about to end, which meant that these customers, mainly micro-businesses, did not have the opportunity to shop around for better renewal prices, and were forced to continue on the same rates or rolled over onto more expensive standard tariffs.

While all large energy suppliers have now pledged to end auto-rollovers, it’s still important to start looking at your next energy contract well in advance

  • When you contract your energy supply is the biggest factor in the price you pay
  • The wholesale price of energy is at its lowest level for over 2 years, so if your contracts expire in the next 12 months don’t wait for the market to rise
  • Avoid punitive automatic renewal or out-of-contract rates
  • Make sure you have time to check the T&Cs
  • Put yourself in control: starting the process early puts you in charge – you decide what the best contract and best price is for your business

New research by the British Council for Offices has found that improving the energy and water efficiency of offices also improves worker productive.

The report states that a more efficient environment creates employee satisfaction, which in turn enhances productivity and business performance. By engaging staff in energy efficiency initiatives employers can improve both energy and staff performance by addressing the issues most important to those employees.

Coupled with another research report that found half of British workers are increasingly energy-conscious at home, but only 20% took the same attitude at work, the arguments for upgrading those old flickering lights and noisy, inefficient air-conditioning units have never been stronger.