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Utilities & Environmental

New energy supply – don’t leave it entirely in the hands of the developers

By 5th April 2014April 4th, 2019No Comments

Alan Ford

Posted by: Alan Ford

Over the 10+ years I have been an Auditel consultant, some of my clients have been fortunate enough to move into a brand new site. These sites have either been built specifically for purpose from the ground up, or they have redeveloped an existing site. Both of these usually require a new energy supply and there is a process to follow when it comes to specifying the size of supply and nominating a supplier for both gas & electricity.

Now, here’s a word of warning … don’t leave it purely in the hands of a project manager or developer. Here are the two main areas you need to be in control of.

Size of Supply

Why is this important? If you get it wrong, it will cost you. Too low and you won’t be able to run all your equipment or you may have to pay for an expensive upgrade. Too high and you can end up paying for a higher load capacity than needed. Many project managers will over specify the load capacity. From their viewpoint, it’s better to be safe than sorry because they won’t be paying for the supply going forwards.

For electricity, bear this in mind … for every extra 1kVa of specified available capacity, it will cost the end user up to £1/kVa/mth. For example if you specify a peak load of 500 kVa and you only need 400 kVa this could cost the end user in the region of £6,000 over the course of the initial 5 year available capacity agreement. Of course, don’t cut it down to the bare minimum, give yourself a bit of slack and be realistic with what you need but make sure you know how much is too much.

With gas, the peak load will have a bearing on the size of supply pipe and size of meter required. Once again the bigger it is the more it costs. Not as critical as electricity, but still important.

Choice of Supplier

Your chosen supplier will fit the meter and provide the initial supply contract.

You can’t do much without knowing the supply number i.e. MPAN (for electricity) or MPRN (gas). The team in charge of the siteworks will provide this for you, such as Western Power Distribution who are the DNO (distribution network operator) in my neck of the woods. Once you have the supply number you can then approach the suppliers of your choice who will quote for the meter install and supply contract. The prices obtained will vary greatly so don’t be fooled by a low install cost only to be stung with a high supply contract price. Both costs need to be considered. Timing will also come into play, the developers will want the supply live on a certain date and all suppliers will have a different lead time.

When appointing a supplier and agreeing a supply contract, make sure the chosen tariff is the right one for you. You may not have much choice in this (Half-hourly contracts are only available with a day/night tariff) but for NHH (non half-hourly) contracts there are options such as single rate, day/night and evening/weekend options.

Key Points:

  • If you get the option of being involved in specifying the size of the supply, do it –  get involved.
  • The bigger it is, the more it costs.
  • Do you need a half-hourly supply or will a maximum demand supply be adequate?
  • Don’t let the project manager/developer choose the energy supplier unless the supply will be in their name and they are going to pay for it until the site is handed over (you can then do a change of tenancy to a supplier of your choice – oooh I can feel another blog coming up).
  • The supplier can’t help you very much without the MPAN and/or MPRN number.
  • If in doubt, ask someone with the knowledge to help you (that’ll be me then)