Watts up with Energy?

The NEAA caught up with NEAA Energy Scheme Partner, Great Annual Savings Group (GAS), for a quick update on this key area as businesses enter winter 2022/23.

The NEAA put some key questions to Adam Brown, Group Head of Marketing.

Could you summarise the current state of the market for businesses?
We are in a strange (and not particularly enjoyable) period at present, where much of the next 12 months is shrouded in mystery. The government Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) is only guaranteed until April 2023 and no information has been provided about what follows this.

The weaknesses in the UK’s energy strategy have been exposed over the last 18 months with price rises already taking hold even before Russia invaded Ukraine.
We import 38% of our energy, which has been the case since 2004. This leaves us exposed to wholesale market pressures and we are now seeing the effects of this. France, as a net exporter of energy, has been able to limit price rises to just 15% in the same timeframe.

What are some key topics and talking points at present?
The main one concerns what will happen to the EBRS when the original timeframe elapses in April 2023.

The scheme currently limits the price of the wholesale element of your business energy bill. It was backdated to December 2021 for all whose unit prices exceed the threshold of 21.1p/kWh for power and 7.5p/kWh for gas.

The government’s guidance is that it currently will end on 31 March 2023 and support for ‘vulnerable’ businesses will continue after that date, in an unnamed capacity. Questions remain around what that capacity will look like and how the government will define vulnerable. That could easily apply to larger consumers and include many NEAA members. It could also apply to microbusinesses whose energy bills quadrupling would make them insolvent. No indication has been provided yet.

What’s on the way which will have an effect on members?
For the larger consumers in the NEAA the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) has now entered its third phase. Relevant businesses will already have submitted for phases one and two, so will be familiar with their responsibilities.

In short, you must carry out the six-step process of measuring your energy usage, identifying opportunities for reducing your usage and acting according to a plan. You must have it signed off by an independent ESOS assessor and submit to the environment agency by 5 December 2023.

You can find all of your responsibilities and the qualification bandings at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/energy-savings-opportunity-scheme-esos

What is the NEAA Energy Scheme and what can members use it for?
Great Annual Savings won a tender four years ago to provide quality energy management and procurement advice to members. Since then, we have helped around 10 NEAA members with their energy strategies. That includes getting the right contract and managing consumption through retrofits, renewables and training.

Speak to me for a no-obligation, free discussion about your business’ energy strategy.

Adam Brown can be contacted on:
0191 500 5700

Check out GAS’ capabilities and cost-saving services at: www.greatannualsavings.com