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  • Our experts process over 93,000 invoices per month and we've recovered over £11m in over-charges for our clients in the last year
  • We provide support to over 500 businesses for energy and carbon management
  • Our solutions team have identified savings of £37.5m per annum for our clients, a total of 495,338,992 kWh savings identified
  • Last year we saved our CCA clients alone £25.5m

Energy management: Top tips in a time of lockdown

20th April 2020

All of us at Inenco hope you are all well and keeping safe during this difficult period. We understand many businesses are facing a plethora of challenges in these unprecedented times and needed to shut down or scale back operations in great haste.

It would be easy to miss some of the energy-related opportunities to save cash and reduce opex in the short to medium term.
We appreciate some of you may have already implemented some measures during the current lockdown period, however from speaking to many of our clients we know there are still some money-saving opportunities being missed. Therefore, we at Inenco have produced a practical guide to support organisations better navigate a path through these choppy waters.

Energy Invoices and Contracts

  • Where you are expecting energy consumption to change substantially from your typical usage, review your supply contract volume tolerance clauses.
  • If you are struggling to pay your supplier invoices, don’t just cancel your direct debit! Many suppliers are offering payment plans and options to support.

Consumption and Waste

For site(s) that are now operating at reduced capacity or are temporarily closed, it’s extremely important to ensure operational costs are appropriately managed. Do remember to update building management systems to account for the revised operating conditions. A simple checklist will hopefully help to ensure that the 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.
  • Ensure your site managers/operations teams have remote access to onsite consumption to ensure sites already closed are still not consuming unnecessarily.
  • If you have access to your online energy consumption (half-hourly electricity and gas data), Inenco is happy to provide a free of charge review of this data to identify any potential waste or unnecessary use.

However, please note that some types of equipment may require special shutdown procedures, possibly including periodic inspections for safety or resilience reasons. Check the O&M manuals for both shutdown and restart instructions. If re-commissioning of equipment will be required, ensure that appropriate resources are prepared in advance of the site re-opening.

Scheduled checks are also recommended to ensure that the site is protected from dampness caused by low heating supplies and/or roof leaks during the shutdown. This is in addition to normal security checks.

Future Proofing

Energy and carbon reporting schemes will be affected. Below are the ones that we believe are likely to be most applicable to BPIF members and how they will be affected:

  • Climate Change Agreement (CCA): If you are currently receiving relief of CCL through this scheme, you will have an energy efficiency target set by your sector which you must achieve by the end of December 2020 (TP4) in order to avoid buying additional carbon in a penalty fee. Your energy efficiency target is aligned with energy consumption vs production throughput. If you are currently on reduced working hours or complete shutdown, are you aware of how this could impact your perceived performance in the scheme?
  • Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR): Almost 12,000 captured businesses are legally required to report key criteria in their company annual report from 1st April 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 3-month extension to file their accounts, as long as the application is made before the filing deadline.

How can you quickly identify savings and inject cash back into your business?

  • 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 reviewed your metering contracts recently? Securing contracts directly with specialist providers can cut these costs by as much as 50%.
  • It could be a good time to look at future supply contracts whilst energy prices have reached historic levels.

Navigating the storm

Being around for over 50 years means that Inenco has been able to support our clients through many an economic storm. We helped organisations to weather the three day week and the oil crisis in the 70s, market deregulation in the 80s and 90s and the financial crash in the late 00s. None of those was of quite the same magnitude as the current situation but we do know that we can all find a way through and hope that our practical and transparent advice can help.

We are of course continuing to deliver our core services and are readily available to help.

To find out more contact us