The energy market is complex and influenced by many factors. Anything from supply and demand balance, through to political issues, can play a part in the cost of your overall bill.
A recent example of this is a spike in oil prices, due to escalation in the Middle East. This saw prices rise to $80 a barrel - the highest since 2014 - and has driven up electricity and gas prices over recent weeks.
Why energy prices are on an upward trend
As well as increases in wholesale costs, other costs in your bill have been rising too. To help reduce carbon emissions, stimulate investments in renewable technologies and keep the lights on, the government launched a series of support schemes.
These schemes include the renewable obligation and capacity market. The consensus is that these costs will continue to rise over the coming years.
Our advice to you
Use a Smart Meter to save energy (and money)
Smart Meters are electronic meters that monitor your gas and electricity usage and send readings to your supplier automatically. With a Smart Meter, you’ll never be overcharged for energy again.
Automated readings and your very own display unit enable you to shine a light on times of high usage. So, you know where to reduce your energy to make the most impact.
Here are some other benefits:
- Lower bills and carbon emissions: Smart Meters allow you to keep a tighter rein on the amount of energy you consume, which helps to reduce your energy spend.
- Supply problems identified quicker: Smart Meters make it easier for providers and networks to monitor your energy supply, so if there are any problems they will be alerted quicker and, as a result, respond sooner.
- More accurate Feed-in-Tariff payments: If you generate your own electricity, the meter will provide a better reading of how much you’re exporting back to the grid. This should improve the accuracy of payments made under the Feed-in-Tariff scheme.
Heard bad things? Let’s do some myth-busting...
- “Thieves can use Smart Meters to access data about your business.”
Smart Meter data is protected by an Advanced Encryption Standard which is even more complex than that used for internet banking.
- "The Smart Meter roll-out is another cost on my energy bill."
The installation doesn’t cost a thing. If anything, Smart Meters will make your bills cheaper as you’ll have accurate information to help reduce your energy spend.
- “I’ll have to close my business to have one installed.”
Energy suppliers normally install meters between 8am and 6pm on weekdays. If that doesn’t work for you, they’ll often try to find a time that does – at FSB Energy, we can help with this if you switch suppliers with us.
- “I rent or lease my premises from a commercial landlord, so I can’t have one.”
This shouldn’t stop you from getting one, but it’s best to let your landlord know beforehand.
- “There are health risks from Smart Meters.”
Public Health England (PHE) states there is no evidence to suggest that exposure to the radio waves produced by Smart Meters poses any health risk.
Renew your contract as early as you can
To reduce your vulnerability to price rises and potentially save money in the long-term, we recommend you secure a contract now. The sooner you act, the further you stay ahead of the market.
When renewing your energy contract, speed of execution and timing are key.
- Speed of execution: When you secure your price, do it quickly. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of losing that price.
- Timing: It’s better to buy energy when the market is lower, not when you’re coming to the last few days of your contract. You can fix a price months in advance of your contract end date.
Simple ways save even more money by saving energy:
- Set your heating to reflect weather conditions and occupancy
A surprising number of businesses are paying to heat empty rooms in their premises or unoccupied buildings at night. And how many times have you found yourself opening a window because a heated room is too hot? To save energy, make sure thermostats are working and adjusted to the weather conditions.
- Set hot water to 60°C
This is the optimum temperature for hot water. Any hotter could be dangerous as well as waste energy.
- Draught-proof your premises
Draught-proofing doors and windows is another cheap but extremely effective way to cut energy bills.
- Request an energy audit
Many energy suppliers offer energy audits to help your business identify where you can save energy. Contact your supplier to find out more.