Energylinx for Business News

February 3, 2017

The CMA Energy Market Recommendations: Do they go far enough?

In June 2016, the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) released their final report into the energy industry and how to make it more competitive.

One of the recommendations was to make it compulsory for energy suppliers to show all the tariffs available to microbusinesses and allow them to switch online, in a simple and transparent way. This is brilliant news for small business owners, as it means after June 2017 all small businesses can go on to any supplier's website and see what tariffs are available for their business, including out of contract rates. This makes the process of finding a new energy supplier for your business less time-consuming and complex.

Four years ago, Energylinx for Business was established to help empower the small business owner. To provide them with an online comparison and switching platform, similar to how the domestic one works. It made sense to us that business owners should be able to see what suppliers and price plans were available for them to switch to. They shouldn't have to rely on what someone is telling them over the phone. We've built our comparison platform around this idea. So, we welcome the CMA recommendations.

But why stop at energy suppliers? We believe that business energy comparison websites should show all available tariffs that a business can switch to, and not just a select few. In a similar way to the domestic market, where previously OFGEM accredited comparison websites had to show a "Whole of Market" view, regardless of whether they had a commercial relationship with the supplier.

The platform Energylinx for Business has built and perfected over the last few years, allows a business to enter a few details and then be provided with a quote. We compare more suppliers than any other online platform, so businesses can get a very good idea of what is available to them. All in less than 2 minutes.

Extending the recommendation to not only cover energy suppliers but also comparison websites, will empower the business owner to make an informed choice of what is best for their business, in turn making the market more competitive and transparent.

The team at Energylinx for Business look forward to seeing how the new changes in the industry benefit the UK's small business owners and also interested to see whether they will go far enough to encourage the 60% of microbusinesses that are currently paying far too much for their energy.

Posted on February 3, 2017 at 11:45 AM

January 24, 2017

Citizen Advice launches new energy complaints tool for UK small businesses

CITIZENS ADVICE.pngCitizens Advice has launched a brand new league table allowing millions of small business owners to compare how well energy suppliers are handling their complaints.

The new ranking - which will be published quarterly - measures how effectively energy suppliers are dealing with complaints from small business customers across Great Britain

Citizens Advice says small business owners can use the independent comparison tool to make informed choices about their gas and electricity supply - which could help them avoid delays and expense sorting out problems.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:

"Small businesses are a linchpin of the UK economy and it's vital they have the support they need to thrive.

"Small business owners depend on the smooth running of essential services - such as gas and electricity - to run and grow their firms. If things go wrong with energy suppliers it can cause delays and financial stress, so its crucial problems are sorted out swiftly and effectively.

"Citizens Advice's new complaints league table will give business owners an independent tool to judge which energy suppliers are dealing with customer issues well.

"Energy suppliers should look at how they can drive up customer service standards across the board for their business customers."

Business Minister Margot James said:

"There are more than a million businesses across Britain with fewer than ten staff making a great contribution to our growing economy. All businesses need energy and deserve to have their complaints taken seriously by suppliers if things go wrong.

"This new tool from Citizens Advice shines a light on bad practice and will help small business owners make informed decisions when choosing who to get their energy from."

The new league table ranks the performance of the 15 largest firms providing energy to 10,000 or more small non-domestic customers. These business customers are defined as those who have 10 or fewer staff or a turnover of under £1.7 million.

Suppliers' scores are calculated based on the seriousness of the complaint against them and how long it took to resolve. Firms with lower complaints ratios are better at resolving complaints than those with high scores.

Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer body for energy customers and helps people - including small business customers - with thousands of energy issues every year. The charity publishes data on energy supplier performance to help consumers make informed choices on their energy supply.

Posted on January 24, 2017 at 04:03 PM

January 9, 2017

Two new wind power records set by Scotland

Scotland set two new wind power records in the last days of 2016.Wind Farm

According to new data from WWF Scotland, wind power alone generated enough energy to match national demand for four days straight (23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th of December).

This has happened before on single days but never more than once in a row.

The same period saw another record broken, as wind power topped 74,042MWh on Christmas Eve, the most ever recorded in a single day.

This figure dwarfed the daily national demand of 56,089MWh, meaning wind supplied the equivalent to 132% of the country's power requirements.

WWF Scotland's Director Lang Banks said:

"These are two spectacular achievements, which underline the massive progress Scotland is making in securing an ever-increasing proportion of its electricity needs from wind power and other clean renewable sources.

"Later this month, the Scottish Government is expected to publish its new energy strategy. We hope these latest wind power records embolden Ministers to aim high when it comes to the role renewables play in their forthcoming strategy especially in areas beyond the power sector, such as heat and transport."

Posted on January 9, 2017 at 04:45 PM

December 14, 2016

Energylinx for Business Welcome the CMA's Plan for Transparency

The CMA found that micro-businesses have been paying around £180 million a year more than they would in a more competitive market - with around 45% stuck on expensive 'default' tariffs. At present when some micro-businesses come to the end of an agreement with a supplier, they can be transferred onto more expensive 'rollover' contracts.

The CMA has ordered that, from next year, suppliers will have to stop using high exit fees to lock micro-businesses into these contracts. Suppliers will also have to publish their prices so that micro-business customers can get a much better idea of what they should be paying for their energy - and what alternatives they have.

Energylinx for Business believe that these when the CMA's recommendation come in to play (June 2017) small business owners will be empowered to choose what is best for their business. They will be presented with all their choices online and have the power to pick what is right for them.

Energylinx for Business fully support the CMA and hope this encourages more businesses to switch their energy supplier. Since we launched in 2013 we have continuously stated our view for the need of more transparency when it comes to energy contracts for micro-businesses. As standard, whenever a customer gets a quote on our business energy comparison platform, they will see all the charges and it will be broken down so that it is easy to understand.

The CMA recommendations are a step in the right direction and we look forward to seeing how it benefits business owners.

Posted on December 14, 2016 at 05:18 PM

December 13, 2016

British Gas Price Promise

BG2016.jpgRecently signed up to British Gas Business? For a limited period of time, the UK largest Energy Supplier is running a Price Promise Guarantee. If a customer finds a better one-year deal within five days of signing up as a British Gas customer then they will match!

Energylinx for Business can offer customers a platform that will search more business energy tariffs than any other online SME energy comparison platform. Find a better deal on our website, take it to British Gas and they will match it!

Terms and conditions apply, check British Gas' website for further information.

Posted on December 13, 2016 at 11:11 AM

November 15, 2016

British Gas Business MD urges firms to take control of energy use

energylive.jpgGab Barbaro, managing director of British Gas Business believes that the UK leaving the EU brings opportunities for businesses and is a call to action to take control of their energy use.

Barbaro also believes Brexit is short term "just as the financial market in 2009 was a short term incident".

Speaking to ELN at the Energy Live 2016 conference, Barbaro said:

"Clearly a lot of people are in shock. However I think this is a call to action for businesses because whilst in the short term, people will be asking a lot of questions, it has raised the uncertainty, you need to look at it that it's a call to action to take control of what you can control.

"What you can control is the amount of energy you use, how you use it and if you're able to do that, there's significant savings to be had and money to be made out of the energy industry."

He added a lot of people, especially large industrial and commercial customers, are focused on price.

Mr Barbaro said: "In reality, commodity cycles go up and down, you can't predict it. All you can do is try to hedge it, you can't control them.

"What you can control is the amount of energy you use. What you can control is what you invest in - whether you upgrade your CHP, your backup generation, whether you put it new lighting, whether you put in a new building management system, whether you optimise your property portfolio - that you can control. In fact, that provides you with a 20% benefit versus the 1% or 2% of margin you might make by helping with your energy prices."

The BGB boss believes there's been a bigger impact on energy prices because of nuclear shut downs in France and constraints on the interconnector than Brexit.

He said parent company Centrica is transforming itself to help make the grid smarter, with customers having the ability to not only generate energy locally but also export to the grid.

Energylinx for Business provide an online comparison and switching service to UK businesses. It's worth checking out if you could be paying less with another supplier. You can do that online or by calling one of our advisors on 01259 225400.

Posted on November 15, 2016 at 03:34 PM

November 10, 2016

UK Businesses lack confidence in climate change and energy policy

tweet.jpgA survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and AECOM found that business confidence in the government's ability to meet the requirements of COP21 climate change agreement has hit record low levels.

As COP22 begins in Marrakech almost a year after the historic agreement was struck in Paris, the joint infrastructure survey found that 83% of businesses are not confident in the UK's ability to meet the demands of last year's promises.

Just 17% of infrastructure providers operating in the energy sector, are confident that the UK can live up to its promises. The UK signed up as part of the European Union's agreement to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030, compare to 1990 levels.

While it has not been determined what proportion the UK's emissions will contribute to this goal, domestic legislation in the form of the Climate Change Act has also bound the country to a 57% reduction in UK emissions from 2028-2032.
The survey also discovered that well over half (59%) of infrastructure providers in the energy sector are dissatisfied with the government's current energy policy framework to boost investment.

It also found that the lack of clarity around energy policy is likely causing a slowing of private investment, with just 20% of energy providers reported to be happy with current levels.

The CBI claims its findings demonstrate how crucial it is for the new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to provide much needed clarity on how the UK will meet its climate change targets and its future energy policy.

In particular, it has called for details around the next Contracts for Difference auction and the future of the Levy Control Framework (LCF) after 2021.

"To improve UK business confidence about meeting these ambitious targets, it is crucial that the government comes forward with a clear and credible plan that works for all businesses," the survey concludes.

The new government department for BEIS, which also incorporates climate change as part of its remit, presents an excellent opportunity to bring the various strands together in order to achieve this.

Regarding specific technologies, the survey also found that storage and energy efficiency remain at the forefront of business considerations. Around half (51%) of respondents see energy storage as critical or important for the energy system, while almost three quarters (71%) see investment in energy efficiency in the same terms.

Posted on November 10, 2016 at 02:29 PM

October 26, 2016

D-Energi Propose Water Market Expansion

water.jpgBusiness energy supplier, D-Energi is planning to expand into the English water market when it opens to competition in April next year.

A spokesperson for the company told Utility Week (A magazine is about the business of utilities): "We are looking to diversify into the water market like we have done for renewables biomass, and solar PV."

This announcement comes after the company announced that it has secured £1.5 million in funding from HSBC, and plans to double its workforce to 200 employees over the next 2 or 3 years.

D-Energi is a private limited family business that was founded in 2002 by two brothers Shak and Zico Ahmed. They started the firm with £30,000 from cash that they had saved and a loan from family. It is based in Manchester, and specialises in supplying gas and electricity to the commercial market.

Now, in its fifteenth year of trading, the company has met and surpassed its sales target of £10 million. Audited figures show turnover has increased to just under £11 million.

The supplier currently supplies around 3,000 customers all in the business energy market (care homes, hotels, schools and manufacturers).

As well as supplying gas and electricity, D-Energi helps businesses meet the new legislative energy obligations, by offering opportunities to generate their own carbon-free electricity and heat through solar and biomass.

D-Energi is the fourth energy supplier to have expressed tentative interest in the water market so far.

Corona Energy told Utility Week earlier this month that it is "reviewing opportunities in water" and Ecotricity chief executive Dale Vince exclusively told Utility Week last month that the company is interested in the water market, and would look to bring "an eco-approach to water".

Regent Water - a subsidiary of gas supplier Regent Gas - applied to Ofwat for a water supply and sewerage licence last month.

Posted on October 26, 2016 at 10:47 AM

October 6, 2016

UK Businesses could save £860m in energy by modifying behaviour

Brompton Factory003.jpgRetail, manufacturing and administration firms could save up to £860 million in energy if a "carbon psychology" approach is taken to improve business energy management processes.

A report from Npower Business Solutions (NBS) revealed that effective behaviour change initiatives could see companies in the retail, administrative and manufacturing sectors secure a 50% share of a potential £860 million windfall.

The NBS report recommends that behaviour change - which is expected to account for 18 per cent of UK energy savings by 2020 - could be vastly improved if the government and businesses put the right incentives in place.

It suggests that retail could generate 20% in energy savings through behaviour change platforms. Administration and support companies could reach beyond 11% in savings, while large manufacturers like Tata Steel could realise savings of just under 11%.

At an event marking the launch of the report NBS carbon psychologist Phil Griffiths said: "There is a huge opportunity for bigger businesses here - and they don't even need to invest to make substantial savings. The benefits of behavioural change on the bottom line are clear. Energy efficiency improvements result in a more motivated workforce, a positive impact on the UK balance of payments and significant emissions reductions.

"Energy efficiency is the goal and the vehicle is energy management. Modern day energy management comprises of three levers; people, process and technology, and in the UK we've got fantastic engineers which covers off the technology and optimisation, but there's a need to develop."

Griffiths noted that one company managed to generate 19% in energy savings, 17% of which derived from behaviour change.

Posted on October 6, 2016 at 03:11 PM

September 22, 2016

Companies Pledge to Cut Waste

3376891447.jpgCompanies that represent 95% of the UK's food retail market have joined an initiative to reduce waste.

Courtauld 2025 is an ambitious voluntary agreement that brings together organisations across the food system - from producer to consumer - to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable.

At its heart is a ten-year commitment to identify priorities, develop solutions and implement changes at scale, both within signatory organisations and by spreading new best practice across the UK.

So far 30 organisations have signed up, including Nandos, Boots UK and supermarkets such as M&S, Morrisons, Aldi, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

All have committed to reduce food and drink waste as well as greenhouse gas intensity by 20% each.

David Moon, Head of Sustainable Food at WRAP said:

"Building connections right across the supply chain makes Courtauld 2025 a powerful voluntary agreement and we are delighted with the desire for action shown from such a range of signatories.

Already we've set up a number of industry-led working groups that are meeting to address important issues. These range from water and waste to sustainable design and buying; to areas as diverse as fresh produce, meat protein, dairy, redistribution and hospitality and food service".

Posted on September 22, 2016 at 03:41 PM