Smart Export Guarantee

What is the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)?

Renewable energy generation is on an upward trend, but its technology and infrastructure are still in their infancy.

In November 2018, the UK’s renewable energy capacity surpassed that of fossil fuels for the first time ever.  Last year as a whole, renewable sources accounted for 27.5 per cent of the electricity generated by the UK, representing a 4 per cent jump from 2017 (Office for National Statistics).

The growth in popularity of renewable sources has been partly down to subsidies available to encourage uptake.  One of the most recognisable of these was the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), which will close at the end of March 2019.

How did the FiT work?

This worked by making payments to small-scale renewable power generators such as households and businesses.  These were split into a “generation” tariff, based on how much energy they were generating, and an “export” tariff for anything exported back into the grid.  These were paid by the country’s largest energy suppliers, who benefited from anything put back into the grid and were intended to reduce payback periods for renewables and accelerate installation numbers.

Over time, it quickly became expensive and the government has been slowly reducing the value of these payments, until they will stop completely in April 2019 for new installations.

What is the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)?

So suppliers can now take any excess power generated from your business or personal installations without paying you then?  Well, not quite.

There is still a race towards a greener global economy, so the growth in installation numbers needs to continue.  Step forward the latest scheme to incentivise installation of renewables: the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

Under the SEG, suppliers are still obliged to pay small-scale generators a fee for any power the grid takes from their installation.  Good news… kind of.

What is the value of the SEG?

Suppliers will not be given a minimum price that they must pay generators for the energy fed into the grid – it is simply defined as “more than zero”.  The reason for this is to build flexibility into the legislation to allow future payments to generators to differ based on variations, such as the time of day they’re feeding the energy to the grid.

It is hoped that the SEG will also drive technological innovation within the sector.  Imagine an app accompanying your solar PV installation, showing you the power it has generated and the price you’re receiving live, for instance.

8 things you need to know before switching business energy

What are the limits of the SEG?

Long term, as technology improves and the cost of renewable installation falls, the SEG seems to have its merits.  But, critics of the scheme say that it will drastically slow the UK’s forward progress in this area short-term because it is not a subsidy for installation.

PV panels, for example, are still expensive to install.  The FiT had dropped so low by the end of its life that small system installers were projecting the full lifetime of the panels to become profitable.  With no level of guaranteed income from excess generation, it will now become harder to justify renewables as a revenue generator, despite their value in reducing reliance on the grid and a business’ carbon footprint.

The Energy Saving Trust in particular have voiced concerns over the short term impact of the SEG in a response to the announcement:

“We’d like to see a smart export guarantee introduced. But if it’s going to take off, it needs to be introduced along with other, medium term, measures to improve the cost-effectiveness of small-scale systems for clean electricity generation in homes and communities. This way, the SEG can fulfil its potential to drive innovation in payment arrangements for exported electricity and help to build a subsidy-free market for small scale renewable energy generation.

“Alternatively, the SEG could be introduced with a minimum payment level potentially linked to the wholesale price of electricity.  This would offer a clear, immediate positive impact on the financial viability of renewable electricity systems for homes and communities. Arguably the right minimum payment level could create a virtuous circle where more renewable systems are installed, there are more customers for SEG, and suppliers are able to make increasingly generous SEG offers. This bigger market would also help drive innovation.” (Energy Saving Trust: March 2019)

What does that mean for me?

If your home or business currently benefits from the FiT, that won’t change.  You’ll still receive your usual payments.  However, new renewables installations will come under the SEG.

It is worth monitoring how the first few months in this area go and whether the government takes any of the advice on board from impartial bodies such as the Energy Saving Trust.

If you would like to discuss your energy strategy, including renewable viability, with one of our experts at Great Annual Savings, just give us a ring on 0800 130 3514 or fill in a contact form and we’ll be in touch.

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Alan GarrattTraining & Development

Alan joined GAS in July 2016 having spent 11 years as a business owner, followed by 12 years at the mobile communications company EE. With a successful background in business sales, he moved into the world of Training & Development and specialised as a Management Development Consultant. Alan is tasked with creating a strong learning and development offering, where all employees receive the right level of support, training and development. His role incorporates needs analysis, training design and delivery.

Alan Says…

The pull of creating an L&D function at a young and vibrant company was too hard to resist. The board of Directors and senior management team are extremely pro-active where learning is concerned and push to get the best support for our people. My role is so diverse – one day I can be mentoring our young apprentices and the next I can be writing a management development session.

Did you know?

Alan goes camping regularly in the Highlands of Scotland and owns land on the West Coast. He has the official title of ‘Laird of Dunans’… his daughter bought him one square foot of land as a gift!

Bradley GrovesCEO & CHAIRMAN

Having co-founded GAS in 2012, Bradley has helped oversee the companies’ huge growth in a short space of time. Starting from its modest surroundings in South Shields, the rapid growth has seen the business move to its current surroundings in Seaham. Bradley’s background is in retail management and he has a wealth of experience working for a number of FTSE250 companies in a board level capacity, most notably with the Caudwell Group.

Bradley says:

"Certain businesses we’ve worked with have made six-figure savings over their contract terms, we cover a very large area when it comes to variable costs, and when we get involved, it means the companies can focus on their business while somebody else is focusing on what they specialise in."

Did you know?

Bradley is the proud Owner and Chairman of Spennymoor Town Football Club, who have achieved 4 promotions and Eleven trophies since his takeover in 2009. As a youngster, he was also on the books of Aston Villa Football Club until an unfortunate injury took him down another career path which has culminated in the empire he has built today.​​

Chantelle WallerTeam Manager (IT)

Chantelle is a Graduate of Teesside University, where she studied towards achieving a BSc Hons degree in Information Technology.

Her IT career blossomed upon joining local firm Teesside Steel Works in 2011, where she progressed from the IT Helpdesk to become a Desktop Support Analyst. Following a four-year spell with organisation, Chantelle moved to Great Annual Savings in 2015, where she currently heads up the IT department and is responsible for managing the business’s technology systems.

Chantelle says:

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been given at GAS. There are real progression opportunities here and I have developed my career from Desktop Support to IT manager in the space of just two years. GAS make me feel valued and recognised.”

Did you know:

Chantelle is a qualified British Sign Language interpreter with a NVQ level 3 in British Sign Language.

Craig ShieldsHead of Quality & Risk

Craig spent the first 10 years of his career working in Education, firstly as a lecturer, then latterly as a Head of Sport, Leisure, Travel & Public Services at East Durham FE College. Having moved into the private sector in 2012 running a local franchise of Loughborough based business telecommunications company Crimzon Communications, Craig first became involved with Great Annual Savings by providing the telecommunications​ arm of the value added services of the business. In 2014, he turned that business rapport and relationship into a full time role within the company as our Head of Compliance.

Craig says:

"Being part of GAS is a journey, you genuinely feel part of the organisation and that your contribution makes a difference. The growth I’ve witnessed since I’ve been involved with GAS is phenomenal, to see us move from small serviced offices to where we are now has been a pleasure to be a part of. It’s exciting to think that we aren’t finished yet, with plenty more growth to come.”

Did you know?

Craig once appeared on the stage version of Catchphrase in Blackpool with the one and only Roy Walker.​​

Judith BennisonGroup HR Director

Judith was part of the team who initially set up Great Annual Savings in 2012, she brings with her an abundance of senior management experience, managing the HR/Resourcing functions in numerous fast growing FTSE250 companies including De La Rue International PLC, Blacks Leisure Group PLC and most recently G4S PLC. Judith has played a pivotal role in helping move the business forward with our ambitious growth plans and her impact has seen our head count grow significantly year on year with significant plans in place to manage and lead the continued growth going forward.

Judith says:

"Businesses who are pro-active continually look at managing their costs effectively, those who wait until a recession hits, are reactive and often too late. We want companies to be pro-active and take the pain away by saving costs now, letting GAS do the fully managed cost solution just makes good business sense for any company, whatever the size or industry. Our business ethos is something I truly believe in and want every company to benefit from our help and support, working collaboratively together is a great way to build long term relationships.”

Did you know?

Outside of work, Judith likes to turn her passion to Yoga incorporating head stands, hand stands, tree pose, back bends and still being able to twist & turn along with her fellow yogis. She is on the journey to lotus pose but 5 years on is not quite there… yet!​​

Lauren RedmanHR Manager

From Sunderland to Chicago and back again, Lauren has made significant strides in her career since graduating from Sunderland University with a 2:1 degree in Business & Human Resource Management back in 2011.

Lauren says:

“Attending University was a great learning curve for me and gave me a great insight into what I could achieve in my career. I was also afforded the opportunity to gain some fantastic work experience with Gateshead Council and Trade Training Associates, harnessing my skills in the end to end recruitment process and other generalist HR projects.”

After graduation, she took on a one-year internship in Hospitality Management in Chicago with Marriot. Upon her return to the UK in late 2012, her journey with Great Annual Savings began.​

Liam GrovesTeam Manager (Compliance)

An Alumni of Leeds Beckett University, Liam graduated with a 2:1 degree in Business Studies and has been part of the furniture from day one, starting his career at Great Annual Savings on a 12-month undergraduate placement working as a Business Solutions Manager. Having completed his degree, he took on a role as part of the Sales Administration Team.

Liam says:

“Being part of the companies’ inception and ongoing development has been a challenging yet rewarding experience which has helped me gain invaluable skills and knowledge of working in a fast growing private sector business.”

Since attending Argyle House School and Durham School 6th Form, Liam has always displayed a passion for business from an early age. You could even say it’s in his genes.

Over the years, Liam has worked his way up through the company and is now part of the Customer Compliance team working as a Compliance Manager, picking up a number of qualifications along the way including an NVQ in Customer Service.​

Mark JonesAssociate Business Solutions Director (UK & I)

Mark joined Great Annual Savings shortly after the company began trading in 2012 as a Business Solutions Manager, after initially beginning his career working in the Finance sector with Barclays, RBS and HBOS Group. His skills and high work ethic were quickly recognised as he was first promoted to a Team Manager, and then later to the Head of Sales, UK & Ireland. As one of the longest serving members of staff, he has now built a strong team of Energy experts designed to take the pain away from our customers when it comes to their utility bills and give them peace of mind and the time to do what they do best; run their business.

Mark says:

"The speed of my progression and development has been amazing. The guidance and ongoing support the Group has provided me to aid my development has been invaluable. It’s great to be able to assist businesses to reduce their costs and their customer satisfaction gives me personal satisfaction in my role.”

Did you know?

Mark is a lifelong Sunderland AFC supporter, attending every game home and away throughout the season with his young son Josh.​​

Matthew HerrellAssociate Director

A chartered accountant for over six years, Matt joined Great Annual Savings in 2015 after playing a key role in the growth of UK IT firm Onyx Group. As Associate Finance Director, Matt is responsible for planning, implementing, managing and controlling all financial-related activities for GAS, including the development of financial and operational strategies.

Phil AndrewAssociate Customer Experience Director

Phil joined GAS in May 2016, having worked in a number of blue chip organisations over the past 25 years including The AA, Tesco Bank, Aviva and Barclaycard. With the company committed to providing a first class customer journey and experience, as well as colleague engagement, Phil’s knowledge and experience as Head of Complaints at Barclaycard and Customer Experience at the AA is key to GAS delivering a first class experience to each of our customers’ every time.

Phil says:

"I am really excited to be a part of a local company which is looking to grow by putting the customer first. I was attracted by the positive culture that has been created and the opportunity of working for an organisation that is always looking to invest and develop its workforce and support the local community.”

Did you know?

In 2005, Phil was accredited a Six Sigma Black Belt whilst working for Zurich Financial Services. A winner of a number of industry awards, he also wrote and delivered the hugely successful Barclaycard “Obsessed” Program, which was designed to put the customer at the centre of the organisations thinking.​​

Philip BallNon-Executive Director

For over 30 years Phil enjoyed a career working for Local Authorities in Lancashire, City of Newcastle, Derbyshire and County Durham specialising in sport, leisure and cultural services before leaving his Director’s role at Sedgefield Borough Council in 2009 to start a leisure consultancy company. Having been commissioned to work on football and community related projects for Spennymoor Town FC in 2010, he developed a close working relationship with Club Chairman Bradley Groves.

Phil says:

"Outside of working on football club activity, discussions with Bradley began to explore how we were aware that many of the companies we had both worked with needed specialist cost reduction services which led to the creation of the Great Annual Savings Company in 2012 and began a journey of rapid expansion for us and huge financial benefits for our customers.”

Did you know?

Phil is a keen sportsman, his current playing passions are golf and sailing although when he was at school in Rotherham, he was proud to represent Yorkshire Schoolboys at Cricket and still holds his school’s wicket keeping record of taking 47 stumpings and 4 catches in a single season.​​

Ricky MingleCSR Ambassador

Ricky joined Great Annual Savings in May 2016, having spent eight years working in a Marketing and Data Management capacity in the events sector. To run alongside his core function of Email Marketing and Internal Communications Manager within GAS, Ricky was elected as Chairman of CSR in February 2017. He has been tasked with making a significant difference to the area of County Durham by raising money and spending time volunteering to help those in need. Putting his 10 years fundraising experience into practice, Ricky and the team did their due diligence and decided to support Animal Krackers, Heel and Toe Children’s Charity, Durham Foodbank and Wag & Co.!

Ricky says:

“When the opportunity arose to be part of the CSR team, I didn’t hesitate to put my name forward. The Group are very passionate about making a huge impact to small charities in our local community and the challenge now is to deliver on that. We have seen a positive response from the whole business to get behind our CSR drive, and with a number of successful events already done and many more planned over the coming months, we are in a prime position to fulfil our mission. It is great that staff have been given the opportunity to physically go out and support our charities as well, allowing for them to get involved and have a connection to our cause.”

Did you know?

As well as being a songwriter, Ricky is a Grade Five violinist.

Robbie ShearerHead of Field Sales

Robbie spent the early years of his working life in the public sector, including a stint in the Northumbria Police Force. After leaving his role at the Learning Skills Council, Robbie turned to a life of sales and hasn’t looked back since.

With a decade’s worth of experience in the utilities sector, Robbie is an expert on helping businesses find the right energy solution. Joining GAS in 2016, Robbie played a key role in establishing our Field Sales Division and spreading GAS’ portfolio throughout the UK.

Robbie says:

“Being at GAS has helped develop my career massively.  Working for a business and part of a senior management team who make you feel valued and make sure your contribution is recognised is really important to me and I feel like I have that in abundance here. “

Interesting fact:

I once successfully picked 5 numbers and the bonus ball on the Lotto and went to Camelot offices to collect my prize and have my picture taken.

SPID Number

Your SPID (Supply Point Identification) is a 13 digit long reference number that can be found on your most recent water bill.

Suppliers will use your unique SPID number to switch your retail services.

Victoria WaltonHead of Resource and Talent

Vic joined the GAS Group in 2016 following an 18 year career in recruitment, cutting her teeth on the Hays Plc Graduate Programme and more recently within the Senior Management Team of a locally based recruitment agency. With a degree in business management, she is tasked with developing an enviable employer brand for the group with a group strategy for attraction and selection from a constant pipeline of talented new applicants, as well as overseeing training, learning and development.

Vic says…

"GAS had already experienced a fantastic period of growth when I joined, and the vision and ambitions for the business, led by a passionate management team was enticing and exciting. With our focus to become an employer of choice in the local market, we used the success of the business and, most importantly the people within it, to create a strong personality and image for GAS, combining reward, progression, challenge and professionalism, washed down with a good dose of fun!  Highlights to date include the success of our recruits, the evolvement of our careers website and being part of the team achieving a national award in recognition for the success of our apprenticeship scheme."

Did you know…

In days gone by, she qualified as an open water scuba diver, and is handy in a quiz team when it comes to any 80’s music!

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