For those of you fortunate enough to have crossed paths with Aimee, you will already have an understanding of her incredible passion and knowledge for the energy industry. She really is a self profound ‘Energy Geek’ and her understanding of the sector, personality and leadership qualities are all attributes we value. When I approached Aimee recently to get her opinion on the current energy market, she jumped at the chance and couldn’t wait to share so it’s time to put the spotlight on our ‘Industry Expert’ and hear everything she has to say…..
One of my all-time favourite crossword clues was “Charge of the Light Brigade”. It had me stumped and guessing all sorts of answers. Could it be Tennyson? Crimea? Lord Cardigan? No. Quite simply the answer was “Electricity Bill”. Electricity and gas are such integral parts of our lives they even feature in crossword puzzles!
My passion for energy originally started from a sustainability perspective; there are finite resources available globally so let’s do our best to protect them. This idealistic view was fine during high school and university, but once the world of work started calling, I had to have a more pragmatic approach. My interest turned into efficiency of electricity and gas usage, using the minimum amount of energy for the maximum result, and successfully implementing behaviour change with colleagues. We don’t all have to sit in the dark, freezing cold, but we should take an interest in something so expensive that we have direct control over both in business and at home.
Around 4 years ago I decided to be more proactive in supporting businesses with all thing’s energy. When the opportunity to join a consultancy in the heart of Norwich I jumped at the chance. Indigo Swan likes to be different to other consultancies and I’m proud to be in a position to offer businesses easy to understand advice on a complex industry.
Unfortunately, the energy consultancy sector is un-regulated. There is no Ofgem or Financial Conduct Authority equivalent to protect consumers from mis-selling or sharp practices. A few forward-thinking suppliers have launched their own voluntary Code of Practice to oversee the consultants they work with. At Indigo Swan we’re proud to participate in these voluntary Codes and we’re looking forward to a future where there is formal regulation of the sector.
I find it fascinating when other consultancies don’t share the same view and it makes me wonder what they’re hiding. Could it be they’re embarrassed about the fees they charge their clients? Or is it that they only present a snapshot of suppliers rather than approaching the whole of the market? Do they allow their sales teams to place contracts with certain suppliers because of the bonuses and incentives they are rewarded with, instead of acting in the client’s best interests? Suppliers are starting to sit up and notice too, and as a result they’re beginning to cull the number of third parties they work with.
We all know the energy consultancy and brokerage sector is notoriously “murky” with some companies and individuals out there looking to make a quick buck. Be wary of cold callers and people putting pressure on to you agree to a contract on the spot (verbal contracts are legally binding too). Protect yourself by taking the following actions:
I know electricity and gas are not exciting subjects to everyone, but I hope you now feel empowered with the actions you can take to minimise your bill and feel confident saying “no” to pushy consultants. The good guys are out there, if you know where to look.
Now it wouldn’t be 2019 if we didn’t mention Brexit. Regardless whether you consider Brexit to be good or bad, there will be an impact on the energy sector as a result of leaving the EU. Our electricity and gas networks are physically connected to mainland Europe, and there are a set of trading rules governing whether we import or export through these connections at any given point in time. Brexit shouldn’t have much impact on security of supply as both the UK and mainland Europe are reliant on each other to ensure their networks remain safe and useable. The risk comes further down the line if additional tariffs are applied to imports or exports through the connections. This could see wholesale prices rise, which will ultimately feed through to everyone’s bills.
The best way to mitigate Brexit uncertainty is to review your energy spend and see what efficiency improvements can be made. The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use! In your home and business, you can take these simple steps to reduce your usage without compromising your comfort:
Until next time,