The global energy market is complex, volatile and ever changing which can result in businesses being exposed to considerable shifts in energy prices that may have a significant financial impact on their profitability.
It is increasingly difficult for Energy Managers to remain absolutely informed and knowledgeable about all of the elements that are impacting energy prices. In an ideal world, as an energy user, you would be able to dedicate the vast portions of time to procuring energy at the best price and in driving new incentives across your organisation that would see your usage and carbon footprint significantly reduced.
With time at a minimum, and perhaps in some cases, energy knowledge limited due to a number of varying factors, many companies are working with energy consultants to drive their costs down – both in the short term and the long term. It is the role of the energy consultant to understand the complexities of the market and help advise you on how to reduce your costs and not just be responsible for energy delivery and a monthly invoice.
Here are the “top tips” on how best to choose a consultant and / or an energy supplier to deliver on your business needs.
Choosing a Consultant:
Firstly, if this is a new route for you and your business, talk to someone who already employs a consultant. Ask them:
o Are they satisfied?
o Did they save money by engaging a consultant?
o Is there transparency – are there any hidden charges, or tariffs?
o Did they get value for money, i.e. consultants fee vs. tangible savings
o Does the consultant have any allegiance / partnership / commissions with other suppliers?
o Who pays the consultants? You, the energy supplier or both?
Look into a market place where consultants are long established, the UK for example:
o Has it been a success; why and for who?
Choosing an Energy Supplier:
Firstly, know what you want? Suppliers offer a wide range of product options which can be confusing.
o Is price a consideration? If so, remember, buy cheap, pay twice…With the right supplier, there are numerous ways to achieve the best price, commodity rates are the tip of the iceberg-there are many more ways to reduce costs and save money beneath the surface of the water.
o Do you want to work with your supplier for a tailored approach? A supplier can offer you a default buying plan and send you an invoice each month; or you can discuss your business needs and tailor an approach with the supplier that will make a difference for you and your business
Remember, it’s not just buying energy. Ireland has come a long way since the energy market became fully deregulated in 2007. End users are spoiled for choice, so it is worth looking into the Value Adds or USPs suppliers have on offer.
When choosing a supplier, or indeed when discussing with a consultant what you want from the supplier, make sure the supplier you partner with can deliver at a minimum one of the below. It is these services that will make a positive impact on your business.
o Dedicated account management
o Short, medium and long-term procurement strategy
o Capacity management and optimisation…this makes up 50% of your bill!!
o Information services – informed buyers buy best
o Training – can a supplier help you build a team of energy super heroes?
o Energy efficiency – are they willing to help you use less?
Finding the right energy partner can have a very significant and material impact on your business. They will work with you as a partner who, like a trusted colleague, will work closely with you and help you understand the market dynamics so that you make the best possible choices for your business.