Thursday, May 26, 2016 ENERGY 101ENERGY CONSULTING
Put simply, energy consulting means bringing in an expert to take a look at your energy usage and current supplier contracts, and to advise on long-term changes that will help you be more energy efficient. This is particularly relevant to businesses as they seek out ways to reduce costs, and also to bolster their CSR endeavors by being more environmentally friendly.
A key part of the energy consultant’s role is to gain a thorough understanding of your business, your energy requirements, and your historical trends of energy usage. They will carry out an assessment of your lighting, heating, air conditioning and electrical systems, as well as your current supplier and contract, and advise you of lower cost alternatives. This may mean changing to a different tariff, a new supplier, alternative energy sources, or more energy efficient products. (Remember, it’s about consultation and advice, not a slap on the wrist!)
With extensive knowledge and experience of the market, your consultant should be able to explain the different tariffs, options and opportunities available to you, as well as those all-encompassing Ts & Cs, without leading you into the impenetrable quagmire of industry jargon.
Crucially, an energy consultant will also carry out regular audits to make sure that your energy bills correspond to your consumption, and that no billing mistakes are going unnoticed. It’s a painful kick in the teeth to realize, years down the line, that you’ve been over-paying for your energy due to an administrative error – and that’s not a fight you really want to get into with your supplier!
Few businesses have the time, resources and expertise to carry out in-depth and ongoing monitoring of their energy consumption, not to mention keeping on top of changing legislation, market trends and new products. This is a full-time job in itself! It therefore makes sense to out-source this responsibility to an expert who can focus solely on this role.
Energy consultants have (or certainly should have) a thorough understanding of the energy market, and make it a priority to stay at the forefront of new technological developments, regulations, laws and opportunities. They should also be operating independently, without any obligation to particular suppliers, so you can be confident that they are pursuing the best deal for you, without a hidden agenda. They may also be able to negotiate more favorable deals from suppliers because of their knowledge of the competitive market.
When it comes to renewing your energy contract, a broker will assess supplier pricing and tariffs to find you the most suitable deal and save you money. Energy consulting is a more comprehensive and all-encompassing management of your energy consumption, with a view to putting sustainable plans and changes in place. Energy consulting is usually more of an ongoing relationship of advice and support, and includes a strong focus on efficiency and CSR, as well as cutting costs.
The bottom line is that energy consulting helps you take control of your energy usage, to monitor, streamline, forecast and budget accordingly, as you would with any other area of the business.