New Electricity Connection – Cost Reduction, Energy Savings

After trying (unsuccessfully!) to set up a new electricity supply to a business site, finding Senco Energy to act on our behalf was absolutely the best thing we could have done!  They’ve found a great contract for us, in a very short space of time, and explained the process along the way.  Very professional and friendly – I wish I’d saved myself time and gone straight to them in the first place!  Huge thanks from us, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

Electricity Savings of Over 31%

I would like to praise Joe at Senco Energy, after an initial telephone call and a promise to save us 30% off our Electricity Bill we are delighted to except a two year deal first year a saving of 32.96% second year a saving of 29.85%, as promised a no hassle and successfully transferred without delay – thanks Joe and the team.

Hudson Energy – UK B2B Energy Supplier

Hudson Energy - UK B2B Energy Supplier

Senco Energy is pleased to announce our relationship with the UK’s newest B2B energy supplier, Hudson Energy.

Hudson Energy, the UK arm of US natural gas supplier, Just Energy, have recently entered the commercial market, with the view of challenging the oligopolistic stranglehold of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers.

Hudson Energy is available to UK business customers and is solely available through selected energy brokers & consultants. Hudson Energy keeps overheads to a very minimum, allowing savings to be passed on to the clients through reduced expenditure, backed by exceptional customer service.

We here at Senco Energy look forward to working with Hudson Energy, continuing to reducing the energy costs of SME and mid-market clients across various industries.

Energy Act 2011 – Will the Green Deal add more green to your profit & loss?

The British government is constantly striving to improve our outlook on the environment and is looking for different ways to achieve business and domestic buy in. The policies around the protection of energy has developed quite considerably over the years. In 1962 they implemented the Pipes Act, 1986 saw the Gas Act, 1998 was the Petroleum Act and ever since 2004 the Energy Act has been amended 3 times. Energy has been, and always will be a key commodity to any developed, or developing nation.

The reduction of carbon emissions is not only one of the key protocols of the Kyoto agreement, but is also steadily becoming a big area of trading for many countries and organisations. In June 2010, Barclays Capital bought Swedish carbon emissions trading firm, Tricorona, for £98 million pounds, signaling the growth of the emissions trading sector. Carbon reductions are good not only for the environment, but are also a huge area of income if there is excess to be traded.

The most recent Energy Act to be implemented, the Energy Act 2011, focuses on one key area, The Green deal. The main crux of the Green deal is to create a new funding mechanism to help organisations implement energy efficient measures without having to pay the upfront costs. The government has set a ‘Golden Rule’ to the Green Deal and that is – The charge attached to the bill should not exceed the expected savings.

Essentially the way it works is that the company that installs or recommends the energy measures will not receive any money upfront from the client. They will instead be paid from the savings on the client’s bill, and this will be paid directly from the supplier. It is an interesting funding mechanism, but no doubt the government will have to have grants in place as it will be difficult to get buy in from the suppliers.

To achieve the 34% carbon reductions by 2020 that were agreed in the Climate Change Act 2008, it will require the UK to reduce carbon emissions in our homes/communities and workplaces by 29% and 13% respectively. The Green Deal has been put in place to help us achieve these targets. The UK has one of the oldest developed building networks and whilst this is a great feat, it also means that many of our buildings are highly inefficient when it comes to energy. The way the government is touting the new initiative is that it is bringing our buildings up to date.

A further key area to the Energy Act 2011 is that as of April 2018 it will be unlawful to rent out a private, or business premises that does not to reach a minimum energy efficiency standard. There is a huge drive to ensure businesses buy in to the initiative, but the focus will have to be on the landlords even more so than the actual business owners. Some of the processes that are involved with the development and installations of energy efficient measures can be quit taxing and sometimes can deter companies from taking them on board. If companies do not see any immediate savings and do not buy into it, the dependence will then fall on to the landlords and also people looking to be ‘greener’.

There is also huge resistance from the energy suppliers. Currently the government’s proposal is expecting the energy companies to overhaul their payment systems to accommodate the payments to the energy efficient suppliers. Many energy companies have claimed that it is not feasible for their payment systems to be developed by October 2012, as was originally stated.

It would seem that the government needs to amend the Act and make it mutually beneficial for the environment as well as the key stakeholders in the agreement for it to really blossom.

Ofgem’s TPI Regulation Proposal – Senco Energy’s View

Third Party Intermediary Accreditation

In recent months, much has been said with regards to energy companies sales tactics and practices in the domestic sector. However, there has been little mainstream media focus on the commercial sector, often with the view that organisations are big and ugly enough to look after themselves.

Sadly, as many are aware this has resulted in a level of miss-selling on behalf of both energy suppliers and energy brokers/third party intermediaries (TPI’s) alike. Whilst the majority of TPI’s within the market act in a professional and trustworthy manner, unfortunately this cannot be said for all.

TPI’s play an important role in the energy procurement market, providing a route to market for many of the large ‘Big Six’ and smaller independent energy suppliers. With the reduced sales and operational support of many of the suppliers, TPI’s provide an invaluable service, generating genuine competition within the oligopolistic energy supply markets.

For many years the industry has been calling for Ofgem to implement and maintain a code of practice, which now appears to have taken a move in the right direction.  Regulation is required to provide greater levels of transparency whilst ensuring customer satisfaction throughout the complete process.  Here at Senco Energy, we strongly support Ofgem’s proposed TPI accreditation scheme and feel it can have great effects in regenerating trust within the marketplace.

Of vital importance is that SME organisations are aware of supplier practices especially roll-over procedures and the damaging effects this can have on their overall energy expenditure.  A sensible energy consultancy, with relationships with key UK suppliers will take the time and care to fully understand an organisations requirements, communication key messages from day 1 in a transparent and effective manner.

Despite the proposed regulations not yet coming into effect. Here at Senco Energy we have developed and strictly adhere to our own Energy Code of Practice. Should you have any questions or queries regarding our CoP of the wider scheme proposed by Ofgem, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Volatile energy prices, 2012 and beyond.

With gas and electricity commonly being the second highest out-going cost for many organisations across the UK, it is important to understand what direction energy costs are going in the foreseeable future. The heavy fluctuations on the wholesale market are mirrored in the final costs to customers. It is important to understand what you can do to ensure your organisations expenditure is minimised.

It is expected that the world’s population will increase a further 1.4 billion over the next 20 years. This mixed with the current economic development of many emerging markets means that the demand for the world’s resources are being stretched to levels never seen before. Much of the world’s easily accessible oil is now depleted, and despite not yet running out, the costs of exploration and harvesting has dramatically increased. This has resulted in the costs being passed on to the bill payer. A simple question of supply and demand some might say… if only it were that simple.

Last year was considered to be one of the best performing years for commodities on the open market; this year prices have continued to follow that trend. For the first time since 2008 the price of a barrel of oil has surpassed $128 . There is also a fear of a potential shortfall in nuclear power whilst the transition from the decommission of our current nuclear power plants to the new plants being developed with the French government. This inevitably all adds to the increasing volatility of energy prices.

The diversification of our energy resources has helped to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and this will aid the long term sustainability of our energy supplies. Renewable investment continues to grow with other slightly more controversial methods including nuclear power and fracking providing much heated debate.

In the UK, Ofgem has recently committed to reducing confusion and mis-selling within the marketplace. Historically Ofgem’s focus has been protecting domestic consumers, but they are now taking a positive interest in both supplier and third part intermediary (TPI) practices. Whilst it is still the view that business are big and ugly enough to deal with matters themselves, it is Ofgem’s belief that the market place should adhere to tighter regulations. Please click here to find out more (Link to TPI news article).

So what does this mean for your company’s energy bills? In essence, prices are predicted to continue too steeply rise. However, in the short term, high levels of unpredictable fluctuations will continue to dominate the market. It is therefore vitally important that you ensure your organisation procures the right energy contract, at the right time, with the right supplier.

PV Solar Panels – FIT cuts, government reviews… still feasible?

PV Solar Panel

PV Solar Panel

In 2011 the commercial and domestic PV solar industry was seen to be a booming, high growth industry and then it all went wrong… After much debate the government dramatically cut feed-in-tariff subsidies, reducing the commercial feasibility of new installations and putting many of the smaller manufacturers and installers out of business.

Since then, there has been a mini revolt, with lobbying on an almost daily basis and much nationwide, negative PR to support the cause.  The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recent announcement has caused mixed reactions within the industry. Some believe it is a step in the right direction, whilst other feel that their commitment to supporting new renewable cause have wavered somewhat.

Key points from DECC’s announcement:

  • PV solar panels installed after April 1st 2012 will be required to produce an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of D or higher in order to fully qualify for the complete FIT payback (50% of current installations are D or above).
  • Multi-site installation will remain at 80% of the standard tariffs based on the reduced costs of installations. However the categorisation for multi-site has changed from over 1 installation to over 25.

Greg Barker, UK Climate Change Minister states, “Our new plans will see nearly two and a half times more installations than originally projected by 2015 which is good news for the sustainable growth of the industry. We are proposing a more predictable and transparent scheme as the costs of technologies fall, ensuring a long-term, predictable rate of return that will closely track the changes in price and deployment”. He continues, “I want to see a bright and vibrant future for small scale renewables in the UK and allow each of the technologies to reach their potential where they can stand on their own two feet without the need for subsidy”.

In essence, the payback on installing PV solar panels may not be as lucrative as it once was, however given the boom in 2011 it simply wasn’t feasible for the government to subsidise all these installations. Economies of scale mean the cost of producing PV Solar Panels is at an all time low as, the take up on new installations is still growing at a considerable rate showing that there still is money to be saved from the feed-in-tariffs.  Yes, PV Solar Panels might not be as lucrative as they once were, however they still provides a positive payback and enables you to your bit for the UK’s Micro-renewable sector.