The cost of energy is a hot topic right now. How does it affect your organisation?
Utility Aid has penned 10 ways to save money on energy costs and be green at the same time.
CSCBG's corporate partners Utility Aid takes a look at the utilities market and shares advice on how to keep costs as low as possible.
Price volatility is quite possibly one of the most important things to think about when mulling over when to sign your next energy contract. No one can predict how high or low prices will go.
Yes, they will undoubtedly come down at some point, but no one can say by how much or by when, or most importantly for how long. The market hasn’t seen such volatility in decades.
The volatility isn’t just down to the war in Ukraine. Even before Putin sanctioned the devastating invasion, OFGEM released the following statement ‘…the volatility of gas and power prices has been generally increasing in recent years. In Q4 2021, volatility for electricity increased 56 percentage points up to 127%, and gas increased 71 percentage points up to 140% from the previous quarter.’
Now of course, volatility is off the scale and we think will continue to be so, for some time to come. Price increases of up to 30% in a single day are not uncommon. Price points that we previously thought would never be broken, have been. A year ago, we heard people talking about 3.5ppkWh for gas being high, but now the same people are saying 10ppkWh is “okay”. The unit rate price extremes, now being reached, means all bets are off.
As the supply dynamics change and Europe reduces its reliance on Russian fuels, more customers will be buying from fewer suppliers, at least in the short term. Using the usual rules of supply and demand, if supply decreases and demand stays the same there will be upward pressure on prices. If then, there is at some point a risk to those remaining supplies, we should expect prices to spike further still. Market prices are, and will continue to be, susceptible to the slightest change in dynamics.
We should not assume that prices will revert to the levels we saw last year anytime soon. Forward curve prices for the next 12 months look relatively static and perhaps 8p-10ppkWh for Gas and 25p-30ppkWh for electricity is the new norm. The truth is, we simply don’t know.
What we do know is that European countries are looking to increase their gas volumes held in storage before Winter 2022. The volumes needed to achieve these levels will more than likely keep gas prices high throughout summer and onwards. To compound matters, if weather patterns of last year are repeated, we might not get the energy we expect from wind and warm weather in Asia will take LNG supplies away from us. All in all, there is not much comfort on the short-term horizon.
Ten ways to be greener – and save money too
You need to keep an eye on your organisation the same way you do when it comes to your energy use at home. It’s not just good for the environment, it can make a big financial difference too. Ruaire, Head of Net Zero and Energy Reporting at Utility Aid, gives us his top tips for business looking to save money be greener.
1. Create the culture
If you decide to cut energy consumption, make sure everyone is on board. Use organisation-wide meetings to brainstorm ideas, and consider creating an energy champion. Keep communicating about the differences you are making – financially and environmentally.
2. Put an AMR on your wish list
An automated meter reading (AMR) device lets you review consumption in both operational and non-operational times. This ability to understand business patterns will help you make better decisions on saving money.
3. Pick your energy firm wisely
Check you are getting value for money and your tariff has dual rates – it may be prudent to carry out certain tasks during off-peak times.
4. Beware the ghost of energy past
Phantom energy is used by equipment plugged in but not in use. And it’s big. Try having all computer peripherals (printers, monitors etc) connected to power strips so one flip of a switch cuts all power.
5. Control the temperature
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning can account for 60% of energy costs. Think about setting temperature controls which only operate below 23C. A 1% thermostat adjustment can reduce energy costs up to 8%.
6. Check equipment
Ensure your heating equipment has been serviced by qualified service agents. Make sure your radiators are balanced and air conditioners have been tested.
7. Check lights
Consider LED and low energy lighting. Dear bulbs, but over time they give you big savings.
8. Reduce paper waste
Printing less is a double saver. Less energy to run machines and less paper.
9. Check for gifts
There are grants and schemes to help organisations save. Check out the Energy Saving Trust
Tell your stakeholders what you are doing to be greener.
About the author(s)
Giles Hankinson is CEO, of Utility Aid and is passionate about helping not-for-profit organisations. “We want our service to help as many not-for-profit organisations as possible.”
Ruaire Glackin, Head of Net Zero and Energy Management, Utility Aid helps organisations deliver net zero, reduce energy consumption and save money.
To find out more about Utility Aid and hoe their partnership with CSCBG can benefit your organisation please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org