Energy Overspend

What’s the best energy deal for my business?

When it comes to deciding your energy contract, there is no “one size fits all”.

Every business has their own needs and requirements. If you’re a local corner shop, you’re going to differ significantly to a large manufacturing firm with numerous plants.

Before committing yourself to any long-term deal, it’s imperative that you fully understand every avenue available to you.

There are two separate options available: ‘Fixed Rate’ and ‘Flexible’ contracts. If you’re like most businesses out there, you’ll be looking for a Fixed Rate contract, but with varying options available, it’s best to know which one is right for you.

Fixed Rate

Standard Fixed Rate

The simplest, and for that reason, most common option for businesses. With a fixed rate contract, you agree all your total energy costs upfront, safeguarding you from unexpected price hikes in the energy sector.

They are favoured by those businesses who prefer the long-term predictability they provide. If you’re a business owner, you can forecast your energy budget for the duration of your contract, allowing you to focus more attention on other areas of your business. If you’re an energy manager, you can report to those above you with accuracy and confidence.

So, are there any limitations with a fixed contract? The answer, as you’d imagine, is yes.

Whilst they provide protection against future energy price rises, it also prevents you from taking advantage of any falls in the market. This same theory applies for businesses who have signed up to a fixed rate contract on, unknowingly, a high rate. This can often prove troublesome when attempting to renegotiate your terms, especially if an exit fee is included in deal.

Blend & Extend

Rare within the industry. The clue to the nature of these contracts is in the name. A blend and extend clause allows someone on a high fixed-rate contract to reduce their current price by agreeing to extend the contract for an additional term.  This is great for businesses concerned with high energy rates at the time of their renewal.

Unlike a standard fixed rate contract, a blend and extend clause allows you to take advantage if there’s a price drop in the energy market. By renegotiating your contract at the end of the financial year, you can purchase energy in a way that enables you to save money now and spread the cost out over a longer period.

A word of warning however. Blend and extend clauses are notoriously difficult to negotiate, especially considering that suppliers will often have a limit of how many they can approve in one financial year. The clause is also only available to you if you’re in a deregulated market or buy energy from a third-party supplier.

Pass Through

Most suitable for businesses with the most control of their energy usage, for example, manufacturing firms. With a pass-through contract, you’ll agree to some, but not all the charges up front. The additional costs will be “passed on” to you depending on your usage patterns during national grid peak hours (17:00-19:00).

These types of contracts have seen businesses, especially those in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, ‘load shedding’ (also known as Demand Side Response). This involves the firm shifting energy consumption to an alternate time period outside of peak hours when prices are lower.

Remember, a pass-through contract is not suitable for every business. Always speak to an energy expert who can undertake a thorough analysis of your energy usage before you commit.

For those of you already on these type of deals, it’s important to note that from April 2018, DCP 228, a new regulatory change from Ofgem, will alter the way these charges are calculated.

Like we stated earlier, the majority of businesses will purchase their energy on a fixed rate, but, if you’re one of the few who feel it’s inappropriate for your needs, there is another option available.

8 things you need to know before switching business energy

Flexible

Flexible procurement is a method of purchasing your energy in large or small “blocks” prior to usage. The size of these blocks varies between businesses, with some ranging from seasons, quarters, months, weeks or – on some contracts – a day ahead. In some cases, businesses have even been known to make transactions as small as a tenth of a MW.

The approach itself is considered ideal if you’re a large business looking to mitigate risks in an often-volatile market, especially when energy takes up a significant proportion of your overheads. A business can exploit unusually low prices in the market by purchasing energy in bulk, thus eliminating higher costs further down the line when higher prices inevitably return.

Like every scenario, there are also risks involved. Whilst flexible purchasing allows you to benefit from these lulls, it also leaves you exposed if you become close to exceeding your usage limit (basically require further purchasing) while market rates are higher than normal. In layman’s terms, due to the complexity of this approach, it can either be significantly cheaper or significantly more expensive for the buyer.

Whilst the solution sounds simple, trust us, it isn’t. To undertake such a strategy, you would require an experienced advisor with the technical expertise to manage purchases effectively.

What next?

Signing a new energy contract is never easy, so we hope our brief overview above has provided you with some food-for-thought about where to go next. Remember, signing the wrong type of contract could have a huge detrimental impact on your business further down the line. So, before you make any decision, we’d always recommend speaking to an expert.

Which energy contract is the right fit for me?

 

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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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