During this difficult trading time, sadly some businesses will need to temporarily close their doors. Keeping costs to a minimum will therefore be paramount.

As Energy specialists, BCR Associates have devised a summary of energy billing issues that businesses may have experienced over the past few weeks, as well as tips on how to resolve them. Read on to hear from Energy expert, Helen Garner.

During this difficult trading time, we want to offer help, advice and guidance to those that may need it. With some businesses having to temporarily close, controlling costs will be paramount.

As Energy specialists, we’ve devised a list of issues that you may have come across in the past few weeks as well as tips on how to resolve these issues.

1. I would like to take a payment break

If you are considering requesting a payment break from your Energy supplier, please feel free to get in touch and one of our experts will talk through your options. It may also be possible to negotiate a payment plan with your supplier and our team can guide you along this process. If you pay your bills by Direct Debit, we recommend that you do not cancel your Direct Debit as this may impact your long-term credit rating.

2. I’m worried that clauses in my contract may trip me up

It’s possible that you have terms in your contract that may cause you issues later in the year, the most common is called Volume Tolerance. This tends to be for larger energy users and means that you have agreed on a level of energy to be used on-site over a set time period. Energy consumption will reduce as businesses have a break in trading, Volume Tolerance means that you could be charged for a set level of Energy whether you use this or not. If you’re not sure on your position here, we will happily review your Terms and Conditions and check how a change in your consumption may impact you.

3. I don’t have visibility of my site(s) energy usage

One of the most pro-active actions you can take is to measure your consumption at the distribution board and build in alerts to your inbox as this helps you understand how your site uses Energy. If you are not currently doing this, you may wish to discuss this with your Energy Manager. For those businesses who subscribe to a cost report, they will receive alerts at the point that they are likely to breach contract terms such as Volume Tolerance.

4. I’m not on-site at present, how do I know which areas are consuming energy?

Effectively measuring and monitoring your energy usage will help businesses to control costs. If you need help in this area, we are offering all businesses who have Half Hourly (HH) meters a heavily discounted daily energy cost reporting service (At £62 per HH meter per annum). This provides you with a real-time energy management service to allow you to eliminate any wasted spend.

5. I don’t think my bills are accurate

It is important that you only pay for the energy you have actually used. Where Half Hourly meters are not in place or your site does not have Automatic Meter Reads (similar to smart meters) the suppliers will estimate your bills if you do not provide them with a regular meter read. It should be noted that this can happen for HH and AMR meters if you have poor connectivity. If you are receiving estimated bills you can submit meter readings online, if you are not already doing this, we may be able to help. When businesses are closed and not consuming energy you should only be paying for the standing charge as per your contract except for those contracts that have volume tolerance clauses. If you are unsure, we can review your contract and highlight any risks.

6. I’m not sure how my supplier is dealing with the current situation

Due to our close supplier relationship, we can provide updates on how the individual suppliers are coping with the changes to service due to Covid-19. It’s important to note that we are already experiencing supplier restrictions, e.g. shorter contract length, restrictions based on industry sector including leisure, hospitality and retail, therefore, those who have renewals due may wish to look at securing their contract as soon as possible.

7. My contract is due for renewal soon

It is important to keep an eye on any contract renewals due in the next few weeks/ months as if these are left to roll, you will be put on out of contract rates which can be very expensive. It’s important to tender, negotiate and renew these contracts as per usual, even though this will not be top of mind right now. If you are renewing your contract and switching suppliers, it’s important to adhere to your Terms and Conditions and remember to terminate your existing contract.

This is a confusing and worrying time for all of us so if there is anything that we can do to make any of the above just a little bit clearer, please get in touch on 03330 433 233 or email us on [email protected]