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Guest post by Norman Taylor from Barnet-based HENOC LTD, looking to support Barnet’s VCFS in finding and maintaining cheaper energy costs (Gas and Electricity).


But first, some top energy and money saving tips whether you are working from home or the office.

1. My Mobile, Coffee & Teeth
Charging your mobile to 100% and leaving on charge overnight, will reduce your batteries life and waste energy.  Phones have lithium batteries and should be kept charged between 60-80% no need to keep charging to 100% and if you do unplug at that point.  Most phones will take a lot of power to get from 99% to 100%, try reducing your 100% charge mindset.  Even the office coffee can be made with reduced consumption, only boil what you need, if you boil a full kettle for one or two cups because you think it will be warm for others to quickly boil in many cases is a misconception, as the next person will likely add water or even complete fresh water and reboil, in any event they will normally have to reboil, so offer to get the brews in if you are using excess water.  In our homes, how many of us brush our teeth with the sink tap running? We wash a tooth brush and leave it running while we do our teeth, stop.
2. Computers and office equipment
These should be turned off after use and not left on standby.  This will not only reduce energy costs but will also save on waste energy, where possible they should be turned of at the sockets as current is still running to the device.
3. Thermostats
They should be turned down a little and air conditioning should be set to a workable level rather than maximum comfort.  A little adjustment will go a long way to reducing your energy consumption.  These adjustments are basic and can have a huge impact on the environment we live in and costs you nothing to implement.
4. Use energy-saving bulbs
Most offices will require artificial lighting but many are not LED (light-emitting diode).  Whilst these bulbs will initially be more costly than traditional they have reduced in price over the years and will last significantly longer.  The money you will save on energy costs over the period will more than compensate for the costs.
5. Implement light sensors
Energy saving bulbs will reduce consumption and be a good investment, but if they are left on unnecessarily this will defeat the object.  Sensors are cheap and easy to install within most businesses and will ensure lights are only used when required.
6. Go paperless
This day and age a reduction in paper is good for the environment and reduces the use and need for copiers files and file storage.  Records can be backed up by various online sources and these days are easily retrievable and in many cases more secure that paper files only at an office.  Many businesses are scared of total paperless as they suffer from hard copy syndrome, but what about only keeping essential hard copies rather than total paper file. If you hold a client file, why not have a hard copy of the critical data but an electronic file only of all other data, thus reducing paper and copier printer use.  Reductions in this area will not only improve the environment and reduce energy costs but will also make your business more efficient.
7. Travel smart, telecommute
The pandemic has bought about a lot of change and some of that may be here to stay.  Are all your car journeys necessary? can you save time and money? can you reduce your carbon footprint?  Online meetings and remote working have proved successful for many companies and carbon footprint is reducing and has reduced over the pandemic.  Why not consider reducing your office space and rotating staff, working from home a few times per week, this saves commute costs and use of cars, reduces office space consumption. Flexible working can enhance the employees performance and using online meetings can be cost effective, reduce carbon footprint and in some cases create a more productive employee, as generally more online meeting can be done per day than physical visits, if the business permits.
8. Update appliances
Appliances are always a capital costs, but many business are operating equipment that is very old, and using the “its still working mentality”.  However, these appliances can drain an awful lot of power and many will require more power to work owing to their age and in truth are costing your business money.  What is the point in having a device machine that works its old but costs you more money to run than its value?  Consider what changes your business could do, this could be a wise investment.  You can always seek to sell old appliances to recoup some of the costs for upgrades.
9. Consider micro generation
Some business are now looking at providing their own energy for what they need, from solar panels to hotels operating on battery storage, where they charge the battery at off peak times and use the battery at peak times.  There are many green energy solutions and schemes available for companies wishing to generate their own power.  This will be very common over the next 15-30 years.
10. Get a smart meter
These are now essential, for years many companies have overpaid their energy bills and not realised. They have paid the wrong amounts as many bills are estimated and some businesses have received an unexpected bill for additional money when a full reading is taken.  The smart meter will ensure you only pay for what you use and your energy bills will be accurate every time. This will enable your budgets to be more accurate and will lead to no unexpected additional costs, or money being kept by your energy provider for periods of time that could be in your cash flow, over payments.  Its Free, most energy providers will not charge for the installation, you will also save with administration as no requirement to provide readings.  There is no downside to a smart meter.
Obtain a free non binding indication of your potential savings, nothing to lose and money to gain, whilst improving the environment.  Get in touch, email info@henoc.co.uk
Read on to find out how an Energy Broker can help your organisation…
In order to fully get the best for your business, and in particular not for profit organisations that rely on donations, any savings are of immense benefit. To do this you must understand the energy markets and the myths that surround this rather secretive and confusing not fully regulated hard to control market with hidden costs.
The procurement of energy needs to be understood, as there are many misconceptions that companies are not aware of and many have concerns regarding switching, this is an educational area that SME’s and charities need to become familiar with.  All corporate entities use an energy broker or have consultants, but the same can not be said for charities, small and medium sized businesses why? Many have concerns such as;
  • Loyally to existing provider.
  • Interruption to supply.
  • Price increases once they move.
  • Forward buying of a contract.
Many energy suppliers in the main are resellers of energy, i.e. do not produce and therefore not the original source of the energy.  So customers need to consider the loyalty aspect as it is often about price in the SME market why pay more?  In simple terms the energy gets produced, it is connected to the national grid (network of cables) it then goes to the substation and subsequently to the end user. The distribution company is responsible for getting the supply from the network to the substation and then to the consumer, this has little to do with the energy reseller. (who you buy from).
Once the energy has been connected, the reseller, (your energy provider who bills you) buys the supply from the power stations, via the Wholesale Markets and sells it to you aiming for a profit.  So it is in your best interest to get the best deal for supply to your premises from the reseller, hence why loyalty should be a smaller factor and companies need to think of price more, as the energy is coming from the same place to all reseller suppliers so achieve the best rate you can.
Concerns with supply interruption, the power is always there and it is just about which reseller is responsible for that meter, i.e. they pay the producer in relation to the amount used via the meter and bill the customer for payment.  Therefore by switching there is never an interruption to supply and in fact a simple process providing you are not under contract and payments are up to date at the time of the proposed switch.
Price increasing after moving, this is an area where most of our rates are fixed price for the contract duration, typically two years but can do 1-5 years, so the price does not increase.  Forward buying is always a risk and companies must decided how far they want to buy in advance.  The SME market is usually 180 days maximum prior to contract end date, however Henoc Ltd are able to arrange take over supply up to two years in advance of renewal on occasions, this enable companies to fix their price long term.  Companies can make an informed decision on this, as they have in the main historical data to use and can see the charges levied over the previous periods.  Therefore when they come within 6 months of their renewal date can take advantage of a more competitive rate, so the contract either renews or transfer to a cheaper deal at renewal.
The reality is savvy companies will look at their rates and forward contract commitments together with contract period long before their renewal.  Analysing market trends and using a brokerage firm to establish what suits months or years prior to the actual renewal.  Leaving matters towards the end of the renewal date can leave you in a roll over position if timings are out i.e. missed renewal, meaning you miss out on a cheaper deal.  Also, if you fall out of contract period or you fail to negotiate a contract of supply you will be placed on deemed rates, meaning you are paying more, a penalty, always fix a supply agreement.  Take advantage of the registration scheme provided by HENOC LTD, meaning you avoid missing a renewal date. https://henoc.co.uk/register-my-renewal
So when assessing these concerns they actually do not exist fully.  Firstly whilst the big energy providers do in fact have their own power plants, they must still sell to the market at fair rates to all, OFGEM ruling, and do not cover the entire market using their power plans.  Also the service provided by the energy supplier only relates to your account and not generally issues with faults or actually arranging the connections of supply, this is done by the distributor network.  So in effect, if you have a fault it will either be the distribution network who fix it or you will require an electrician, of which would be at your costs.  What actual service other than sourcing billing and queries is the energy reseller providing.  The same can be said for the gas market.  Therefore, as a business, always look at what is the best energy solutions for your business and maintain the best price possible
Norman Taylor 07388 125207 HENOC LTD, Ground Floor, 2 Woodberry Grove, London, N12 0DR www.henoc.co.uk


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