This report provides a snapshot of useful information for customers in relation to the impact of Coronavirus on energy and other utility supplies. Many customers will be wrestling with the consequences of the current restrictions, battling to keep their businesses solvent when incomes are foundering yet outputs are still being demanded. Energy and utilities are key areas of concern and this report is designed to help you overcome these difficulties.
Managing the ongoing cost of utilities
The immediate priority for many businesses should be to ensure they do not incur unnecessary costs during the lockdown period. Below is a common-sense list of tips to follow to help.
- If you have closed down premises, have you properly mothballed them? For instance, have you ensured heating and lighting controls have been adjusted to reduce the residual use of energy whilst the premise is vacated, has equipment been switched off properly and not just on standby? This could be processing equipment but for many this will include appliances such as monitors, servers, photocopiers, printers etc.
- Are you taking meter readings? Without meter readings suppliers will assume that consumption has remained the same and will estimate accordingly. To avoid over charging, you must ensure you are providing regular meter readings*
- Are you struggling to pay? All suppliers are sensitive to the challenges that customer will have. However, their approach to this varies enormously, with some suppliers willing to go further than others to help customers meet their obligations. Very few are offering payment holidays and are preferring to direct businesses to the variety of financial help packages that are coming in to play. However, some are being more creative than others. The important thing to do is to ensure that you are having a dialogue with the appropriate teams
- Water – the water industry has taken the unique step to waive all charges for premises that are closed. In most cases you will be required to complete a site closure form. One supplier has chosen to automatically apply site closure to all sites they deem to have closed under the governments mandated list of sectors that should do so.
Auditel are on standby to help customers with all these actions. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
On one level the impact of the pandemic has been to put further pressure on energy prices, which have been falling for over a year now.
The market is particularly volatile as it is somewhat illiquid as less trading is going on and there is a lot of nervousness about the future direction.
Whilst no one knows when prices will recover if you have a contract that is due for renewal in the next 12 months, it is worth considering taking advantage of this situation.
Though now is a good time to consider renewing contracts, the coronavirus has affected the approach that energy suppliers are taking to tendering for business. Some suppliers are no long quoting for new business and some are restricting their offers to shorter periods of time or limiting how far into the future they will quote.
The position changes daily and Auditel are tracking this, which means we are in a good position to go to the market on your behalf when you may have to focus on more urgent matters.
If you would like us to look at your energy pricing, please contact us.
The information we need is:
- When your current contract comes to an end and the fuel to which this applies (gas/electricity)
- The Meter Point Administration number for your site(s)
- The estimated annual usage for the site(s)
- Any particular preference you have for:
- Length of contract
- Renewable energy
Also, if you can scan and sends us copies of your invoices that helps.
Closing sites or simply using less energy?
If you have closed your site, it is important that you let your suppliers know and provide regular meter readings to ensure that they accurately estimate your future bills and you pay only for what you use.
Auditel can do this for you, releasing valuable time to concentrate on your businesses survival and recovery. If you provide us with readings, even if this is simply a photograph, we can do the rest.
The water industry has agreed that for sites that have closed they will waive all charges for the time being. In most cases you will have to complete a form that may have been sent to you or is available on the company’s websites. This is another area where Auditel can help with the administrative burden of organising this.
Difficulties in paying
You will not be alone and the utility industry is very aware of the challenges customers are facing. However, like any other business they too need to protect themselves.
Different suppliers are taking different approaches to dealing with this problem. Most still want customers to keep Direct Debit payments going and none are offering payment holidays.
However, many are showing a willingness to consider payment plans. In all cases they want you to get in touch to set out your circumstances before they will help and they are all requesting meter readings. Currently contacting suppliers is proving difficult and time consuming as they too struggle with the constraints of the lockdown. Why not leave this to us so you can get on with other concerns?
We’re here to help
The whole country is pulling together to get through this and Auditel are no exception. Business are facing a terrifying set of challenges and future, but with our help, we hope to be able to make the journey a little easier. Wading through the morass of information and dealing with often unwieldy and bureaucratic organisations like utility suppliers is one of the last things you want to do, so please lean on us to do this for you.
And don’t forget, Auditel are procurement and supply chain specialists. Our broad network of experts can provide help on many fronts, so please let us know if we can help in any other way.