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Have you done everything to protect your business?

Have you done everything to protect your business

Reprinted from ‘Business Live’, 6th May 2020.

Award-winning energy consultancy, IU Energy, advises businesses on how to be more energy-efficient and reduce costs during lockdown.

In these unprecedented times, a top UK energy consultancy is here to ensure businesses are in the know when it comes to energy consumption. 

Like the majority of businesses, the impact of the current global pandemic has decreased, and in many cases, completely stopped productivity. One thing you don’t want to be worrying about is energy usage costs when productivity is at a minimum. 

When it comes to business energy, IU Energy has it covered; from arranging green electricity and gas tariffs, through to design and installation of the very best in green technologies. 

Similarly, its clients range from small to medium-sized businesses to much of the NHS. To help businesses, IU Energy has put together a comprehensive list of what to do during this difficult time.

First

  1. If you’re expecting your consumption to change substantially from your typical usage please get in touch
  2. If sites are shutting down please let us know as soon as possible as this gives us time to manage these changes with suppliers
  3. If you’re struggling to pay your bills please contact your provider as soon as possible, don’t just cancel your direct debit

At your places of work

Your site(s) may be operating at reduced capacity or be closed temporarily. To ensure operational costs are appropriately managed, it is important to take controller settings into account for the revised operating conditions. A simple checklist will help to ensure these and any other required changes are addressed. 

We would advise:

  • Isolate all non-essential plant and equipment
  • Review operational times on all equipment fitted with any type of time controller that still needs to operate
  • Review operational temperatures of all plant/equipment/heating systems in light of expected use/occupancy, with minimum setback temperatures being utilised wherever possible
  • Disable all comfort cooling
  • Ensure all office equipment (except essential servers) is turned off
  • Consider emptying any refrigerators and freezers and switching them off
  • Wherever possible, power off vending and drinks machines
  • If cleaners are the last people to leave the premises, ensure they are fully appraised of the switch off plan
  • Utilise any available automatically captured energy consumption data to review the operational status of remote sites and implement remedial action for sites with higher than expected ‘closed’ consumption levels

Plan

Execute an approach that mitigates forward risk under your new business environment.

A huge reduction in business travel and the closure of several workplaces across the UK have significantly impacted meter operator and data service provider access for all utilities:

  • Elexon’s Performance Assurance Board has suspended the error and failure resolution process to accommodate the unprecedented restrictions to site and meter access
  • These changes mean many clients will experience more missing data than previously
  • Some sites will be billed on estimated data by suppliers where half hourly metered data was used previously
  • If you have NHH meters please submit readings so your bills are aligned to correct consumption
  • To prevent high estimated billing costs on your water supplies, you can take dedicated meter readings however this may not be possible. There have been some market code changes allowing water suppliers to convert closed properties into ‘vacant’ and provisions to suspend disconnections as well as extended payment terms.

A mix of energy and carbon reporting schemes (voluntary and mandatory) that you may be participating in will prove to be more challenging if you are working to any current deadlines:

  • ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme) – The mandatory compliance deadline for circa 10,000 businesses was 5th December 2019. The governing bodies for England & Scotland (EA & SEPA respectively) have been notifying all non-compliant organisations that they intend to pursue. With large fines associated with non-compliance, any organisations attempting to complete ESOS in the current climate will most likely be unable to perform the mandatory site surveys and associated reporting to ensure compliance. You will need to notify the scheme administrators directly if a time extension or consideration is required
  • SECR (Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting) – The first tranche of almost 12,000 captured businesses are legally required to report key criteria in their company annual report from April 1, 2020, and repeat on an annual basis. Companies House have advised that any business struggling to report as a result of current circumstances can apply for an automatic and immediate three-month extension to file their accounts so long as the application is made before the filing deadline
  • EU-ETS (European Emissions Trading System) – Participants in the EU-ETS have been calling for a deadline extension. However this has been rejected by the European Commission.
  • DECs (Display Energy Certificate), EPCs (Energy Performance Certificate) and ACIs (Air Conditioning Inspection) – In the case of desk-based DEC renewals, these will not be impacted. However, if there is a site survey element, this may be impacted so please contact us as soon as possible. A site visit will be required for any new DECs, DEC Recommendation Report renewals, and all EPCs and ACIs.

Optimise

Drive quick savings and profits back into your business through our specialist services.

  • A cash injection for your business could be important now more than ever. One way of achieving this is through an Energy, Water and Telecoms cost recovery audit, where our specialist team of analysts forensically review your last six years of charges. This is a much deeper view than standard validation, with a focus on rising non-commodity costs such as DUoS, TNUoS, BSUoS, CCL and more.
  • Have you got a group MOp DC/DA contract? Securing contracts directly with specialist providers can cut costs by as much as 50 per cent. Site additions and removals can be easily managed with co-terminus end dates and a single supplier to reduce the administrative burden.
  • Have you considered looking at future contracts whilst energy prices have reached historic levels? Futureproof your costs now.
  • With a number of suppliers transitioning to home-working, response times have increased. IU Energy is managing this through its agreed SLAs – therefore if you have any issues please get in touch so we can assist where possible.
  • It is likely that credit along with any favourable terms or extended payments will begin to be less easily accessible. This, coupled with suppliers pulling back from the new business market, means we need to move fast to secure favourable rates for you if you are purchasing gas or electricty.

Legionella Awareness

If your sites are temporarily vacant as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown it is important to be aware of the requirements surrounding Legionella and stagnant water. 

The Legionnaires disease Approved Code of Practice recommends that all little used, or disused, hot and cold outlets (taps, showers, WCs etc.) should all be opened and left to run through for a five-minute period to ensure a complete flushing of the whole water system. 

This will allow hot water temperatures to reach their desired 60 degrees Celsius and cold-water outlets to drop below 20 degrees Celsius, avoiding water stagnation and protecting against legionnaires.

For more information, go to iuenergy.co.uk

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