How To Compare Energy Prices

When you are looking to switch your energy supplier you can use a comparison site to try to find the best deal or a company like Renewable Energy Supplies. Energy comparison websites provide a good service if you just want to compare energy prices, but the prices are generally tailored towards smaller scale energy users. If you are larger user of energy and/or use more than one type of energy, then it pays to ask a company like Renewable Energy Supplies to investigate the right energy sources for your company or organisation before you switch.

Most companies have the ISO 14001 environmental management system certification and must regularly monitor their energy usage – gas and electricity. The usage can be monthly or even daily and requires a regular plotting of cost per unit and kWh usage. There are several key building systems that an organisation can upgrade to help them lower their energy usage. Organisations can move to energy efficient lighting, more efficient UPS systems and air conditioning and look to include smart building controls for their heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting. Organisations can also look to invest in voltage optimisation to reduce energy usage.

Reviewing energy supplies also provides the opportunity to review sources of supply. Organisations can consider moving from traditional District Network Operators (DNOs) to renewable operators and even to dual source. It is not just a case of comparing sources. Other aspects to consider include security of supply in terms of resilience, kWh pricing, standing charges and contract durations. It may also be worth considering on-site energy souring and it a site is large enough with on-site generation, opting into a demand side response (DSR) programme to offset costs.

To get the best prices involve tying into a fixed-term contract. This can help to offset future fluctuations in gas and electricity prices, but attention also must be given to daily standing charge rates. Energy supplies charge a daily pence fee and this needs to be compared as an annual charge. A relatively simple model can be created with a spreadsheet to allow comparisons to be made between suppliers. Other items to include for comparison include contract duration and switching penalties for moving before contract end. It can also be worth asking for better pricing for longer term commitments.

A standing charge is a fixed sum that you incur no matter how much energy us used. Gas and electricity have their own standing charges. The standing charge itself is designed to cover several fixed costs including: meter supply, smart monitoring, reading, maintenance and connection to the National Grid as well as pass-through-fees (paid to other companies who operate and/or maintain parts of the electricity supply network). Standing charges also include costs for government initiatives including renewable power and carbon reduction as well as support for those considered vulnerable or suffering from fuel poverty.

Two-tier energy contracts are one option for organisations that want to avoid daily standing and fixed charges. With this type of energy contract, the buyer pays a higher pence-per-kWh for a set volume of units before dropping to a lower kWh rate. The initial price tier recovers the standing charge and the second-tier provides an ongoing usage charge. This type of contract may be suitable for less regular energy usage.

When choosing an energy supply it is important to balance long-term commitment to development of the national energy supply grid as well as looking for shorter-term energy savings. The most appropriate energy supplier for one organisation may not be right for another. We view our role at Renewable Energy Supplies as that of an energy supplies broker, matching the most suppliers to our clients and ensuring a ‘best fit’.

Aside from analysing the market place it is important to factor in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Energy costs will continue to rise over the next decade and organisations may well have to develop energy management systems driven by the need to be competitive and government legislation. The impact of rising energy prices can be reduced through investment in energy saving technologies including upgrading legacy systems and installing smart controls with Internet of Things (IoT) integration.

Energy supply resilience and stability are also important considerations. The majority of UK gas is imported from overseas. Even though the UK stores reserves, the country and its gas supply network, is dependent upon a supply chain which can be affected by political climates and natural disasters. Prolonged winter periods can also see an increase in gas usage, putting a greater strain on reserves. Electricity resilience is a concern for many organisations. Datacentres are a good example as well as emergency services, industrial sites and critical national infrastructure. Electricity usage within the UK is also changing with the rapid movement towards electric vehicles and the decarbonising of the UK economy.

In the UK the energy supply landscape is changing rapidly. There are now many more options when it comes to choosing the right energy supply profile for an organisation, as well as options for local energy storage and operation within DSR programmes and even as Virtual Power Plants (VPPs).

For a review of your energy prices please contact our projects team.