Sophie Hebblethwaite

Fixed tariff or variable tariff: your guide to energy charges

Introduction

With so many different energy tariffs available, it can be tricky to know what’s what. Don’t worry though, we’re going to help you understand the differences between fixed and variable energy tariffs.

You may be wondering which option is better for you. This guide will go through the ins and outs to help you understand. 

What is a fixed energy tariff?

A fixed energy tariff is a long-term agreement between you and your supplier. You will pay the same price for electricity or gas for a set period of time, typically three or five years. Fixed tariffs are more expensive than variable ones, but they do provide security against future price fluctuations in the energy market.

Fixed tariffs are often called ‘fixed rate’ or ‘guaranteed rate’ deals by suppliers because they offer greater certainty about your costs over time. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t see any changes to your bill if conditions change – it just means that these changes will be smaller than normal for that period of time.

What is a variable energy tariff?

A variable energy tariff is a type of energy tariff where you pay different prices depending on the amount of energy you use. The most common variable tariffs are seasonally adjusted and dual-fuel (gas and electricity). Seasonal adjustments mean that your bill will be more expensive in winter than summer because people tend to use more heating during those months. Dual-fuel means that you’ll pay both gas and electricity on one bill.

You may think this sounds like a good idea—after all, if the price of energy goes up then so does your bill! But actually, it can sometimes be a bad deal, especially if there isn’t much difference between what your supplier charges for its variable tariffs compared with its fixed ones. With the current energy price rises, this can mean that those on variable tariffs are at risk of higher rises. 

Are fixed energy tariffs cheaper than variable tariffs?

You might think that fixed tariffs would be cheaper than variable ones. After all, they don’t change with the whims of the market. However, there are two reasons why this isn’t always true:

  • Fixed tariffs cost more to provide
  • The cost of providing fixed tariffs is passed on to customers in the form of higher tariffs

Should I switch to a fixed energy tariff?

  • If you’re on a variable tariff, you can switch to a fixed tariff.
  • If you’re currently on a fixed tariff, you can switch to a variable one.
  • So if you are currently on one of these tariffs and want to change then it’s worth looking into whether switching makes sense for you.

Fixed energy tariffs are more expensive but they provide security against future price fluctuations.

Fixed energy tariffs are more expensive but they provide security against future price fluctuations.

Fixed energy tariffs are fixed for a set period of time, typically 12 or 24 months. If you choose a variable tariff, your supplier will keep your bill down by changing the rate according to changes in the wholesale market. This can be helpful if prices go up – because suppliers will only increase your bill if the wholesale rates have increased – but if prices fall, you’ll have no protection from paying less than you had been used to paying on a fixed deal.

Variable tariffs also give you less certainty about what your monthly payment will look like each month (we talk about how variable tariffs work in more detail here). If you’re happy with this level of risk and uncertainty, then it could make sense for you not to opt for a fixed tariff when paying bills. However, all is not lost as variable tariffs are typically cheaper than fixed ones. 

Conclusion

If you decide that a fixed energy tariff is right for you, there is one more thing to consider. As well as the type of tariff you choose, it’s important to shop around for the best deal. We recommend looking at comparisons on our website! Bright Utilities can offer you the best industry rates when you decide to switch suppliers.

Switching energy providers is the best way to make savings on your bills! Take a look and get a quote today!

A guide to dealing with the rising business energy costs

Introduction

The cost of business energy has been increasing at an alarming rate during the energy crisis. However, rather than putting up with rising prices, you can switch to a new tariff and cut costs significantly. If you want to get the best deal on your energy supply, it’s always best to switch providers than to switch tariffs. 

At Bright Utilities, we can get you competitive prices and industry deals to get you the best rate. Below, we will go through the current situation regarding the rising energy costs and show you how you can make great savings!

Business energy costs on the rise

You’ve probably seen a rise in your energy bills, and you might be wondering how to save money on this rising expense. The good news is that there are ways to reduce your energy costs.

  • Switching suppliers: If you’re paying more for electricity or natural gas than you need to, consider switching to another supplier. It’s as easy as filling out one form on our website and we will get in touch with you to get you the best deals!
  • Finding the best deal: You can find great deals on energy by comparing rates from our comparison tool and choosing an option that works for you based on the price per kWh (kilowatt-hour).
  • Saving even more money: You could also get creative with where and when you use electricity on your company premises by taking advantage of off-peak usage times during hours when people aren’t using much power (like overnight). We know for many businesses this may be difficult, but if you can use this tip, you may see some great savings!

Switch UK business energy for a better deal

If you’re looking for a cheaper UK business energy tariff, or want to switch providers, there are several ways in which you can do so.

  • Make sure that your contract has expired. This is because most energy tariffs are not tied to your electricity provider and so if you have an existing subscription with one provider, switching may be difficult or even impossible until your current agreement comes to an end. Even then, there is no harm in getting a quote before your contract has run out in preparation for when you do leave it.
  • Check whether there is an exit fee associated with ending your contract early – many contracts do carry withdrawal penalties if they are cancelled before the term expires (typically 12 months). However, some providers offer free cancellation and may even offer refunds of unused credit as well as incentives for leaving them early (e.g., paying off any balance). You should therefore check what terms apply before changing suppliers as it could impact future costs or charges incurred when switching suppliers later down the line!
  • Get in touch- our team has a lot of knowledge in the industry and could help you when it comes to switching energy providers. It can be daunting at first but with the right guidance, one of our team will guide you through the process, leaving all the stress out.

Protect your business from rising energy prices

If you’re looking to reduce the cost of business energy or find a better deal, there are several steps you can take:

  • Switching UK business energy suppliers often allows you to find a lower tariff that makes sense for your business’s needs. This may mean switching between gas and electricity suppliers, or simply switching tariffs within one supplier’s range. Many businesses fail to realise that they aren’t paying the best price available to them—and it’s worth comparing energy prices with other suppliers before making any final decisions about where your money goes!
  • Looking at green tariffs is another way of saving money on UK business energy costs; these offer lower rates than standard tariffs while simultaneously helping customers reduce their environmental impact through renewable sources such as solar power (which is also available from some suppliers). It’s important not just because it helps save money in the short term but also because reducing carbon emissions now will help protect our planet for future generations!

Businesses in the UK are facing higher energy costs at present. The easiest way to reduce your costs and stay safe is to switch to new tariffs.

The best way to cut your business energy costs is to switch tariffs. By using a comparison site like Bright Utilities business energy, you can switch tariffs easily.

We at Bright Utilities have access to all competitive business energy tariffs, so we can find you the cheapest one for your business.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is vital that business owners take this advice seriously and switch as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to avoid paying high prices for your business energy. You also might miss on some great deals as the cost of UK energy prices rise even more as time goes on. Get in contact with us today to see where you could make some huge savings.

Your comprehensive guide to energy tariffs

Why finding the right tariff is so important

Like anything else in life, everyone has their own way of doing things, it’s no different when you’re choosing how you use your energy and how you want to pay for it to your supplier. With wholesale gas prices on the rise, now is the time to choose the energy tariff that suits you, so you can stay on top of your bills. 

What tariffs are there?

Since energy companies strive to make billing for individuals and businesses easier, many different types of tariffs are available to customers. 

Here are the different types of energy tariffs and what they can do for you as a customer.

Standard Variable tariff

The standard tariff is known as the most expensive tariff out there. Prices can change at the will of the supplier, they typically match them to the price of wholesale gas units, these will continue to increase across the globe.

Standard energy tariffs are available for both gas and electricity bills, luckily, there is a price cap to prevent the tariff prices from becoming too expensive. This is because of the energy crisis and Ofgem has realised the threat of putting many in the UK into energy poverty is currently higher than it has been in recent history. 

If you switch energy supplier or into a new property, you will typically be placed on this tariff as it is the standard for all customers. Luckily, if you are on a standard tariff and want to switch providers, you will not be asked to pay exit fees since those on the tariff don’t have to.

Fixed energy tariff

These tariffs are great for consumers as they let you pay a fixed rate on your bills throughout your contract that you agree to. You will enter a contract agreement with the supplier and can usually get a good price on your tariff as they may offer the contract as a dual-fuel deal.

Despite the attractive tariff rate, if you decide to use more energy than agreed, your bill will go up in price as it will be matched to the standing charge and the rate of the energy being used. 

Some fixed rate tariffs will require you to pay an exit fee if you decide to leave it earlier than is agreed in your contract. However, Ofgem has allowed it that if you decide to switch contracts 42-49 days before your contract ends, you can’t be forced to pay an exit fee.

Dual fuel tariff

Dual energy tariffs are effective for most customers as they are a combined contract of both gas and electricity to a property. Some companies will even give you a nice deal by signing up to this tariff as it streamlines billing and energy into one place. 

You can get dual fuel tariff rates on a standard, fixed and online tariffs offer dual fuel and it is the most common energy combination in the UK.

Depending on your contract will determine whether you will have to pay an exit fee. It is important to note the conditions of your contract to see if you will have to if you decide to switch suppliers sooner than when your contract ends. 

Even though you will probably be entitled to many discounts by having a dual fuel tariff, there may also be discounts for keeping your supplies separate. It is always worth keeping an eye out for where you can make the most savings. 

Online energy tariff

Online energy tariffs are all managed by the customer online and are often the cheapest option available. You will be asked to manage everything regarding your bills online, such as sending meter readings and receiving billing statements via the internet. 

You may be asked to pay an exit fee if you want to switch supplier tariffs but this all depends on the conditions of your contract.

Like the system in place, if you need any help with your bills or energy supply, you will be able to get help via messaging services and online chats with energy suppliers. 

Prepayment tariff

Prepayment meter tariffs are also known as ‘top up’ meter tariffs and have limited options for customers. Those who use them top them up by using prepay tokens, cards or keys. These ways to pay can be purchased from shops and online as they are a common way for people to pay their energy bills. 

They’re a unique way to pay for your bills as you pay for your tariff before you actually use it.

Unfortunately, some suppliers won’t have any options for prepayment meter tariffs and so you will have to be very selective with who you decide to go with. And whether you can leave your contract early will depend not only on your conditions but also the debt you may be in.

‘Green’ energy tariff

Green energy tariffs either use a full renewable source for your power or a mix of renewable and non-renewable sources. Depending on what is used to power your building, the price will match the type of energy you are using. There are also options to use nuclear-free and carbon offsetting tariff deals when you sign up for them.

It’s always best to see what your supplier provides in terms of green energy. Lots of companies are aiming to increase their options for renewable energy tariffs for their customers to use. 

If you are concerned about the environment, then this contract is for you as you can rest assured that your energy is coming from a less wasteful place. If you want to leave your contract, you may have to pay an exit fee but you will need to know the terms of your contract to find this out. 

The bottom line:

Whatever tariff you want to switch to, make sure you do it with Bright Utilities. You will be met with experts in the field who will walk you through what’s available to get you the best prices to suit your energy needs. 

You can also see the competitive prices to help determine your decision to make sure you get the best deal.

There are many options out there so choosing the right one is important as you don’t want to be tied down to an energy tariff you end up unhappy with.

If you are unhappy with your energy tariff, look here for help with your exit fees: https://www.energyhelpline.com/help/how-do-i-avoid-exit-fees-when-switching-energy 

Four utilities industry predictions for 2022 to keep you up to date

Introduction to the current condition of the utilities industry:

The year has gotten off to an already intersting start with storms across the UK cutting off power to many homes, and tensions in Eastern Europe threatening our gas supplies. The utilities industry is at a pivotal moment in its recent history as we attempt to navigate a lot of uncertainty ahead of us. It’s hard to know for certain what the future looks like for businesses and homeowners alike but at Bright utilities, we have some knowledge about the future of the utility sector for the rest year. So we thought we’d package it into a handy guide so you can stay on top of what’s to come throughout the year.

This comes from our extensive utilities industry insider knowledge as experienced brokers in the sector, providing businesses with affordable and renewable energy. Below we will delve into four things you can expect from the utilities industry in 2022.

Energy prices squeezing the UK and growing energy poverty levels:

Because of the current imbalance in supply and demand on energy and gas for UK customers, there is still a growing concern for the direction the sector is going in. 2021 saw just under 4 million home energy customers displaced due to the number of companies going bust due to lack of regulation. 

In conjunction with the low sun levels seen during December, this has impacted the energy demand for outdated sources of energy. Ofgem has attempted to mitigate the effects of the crisis by taking control of customers’ supplies when their energy companies go bust so they are never without power to their properties.

Additionally, Ofgem has introduced a price cap rise on utility bills for customers. However, this has increased by around £700 per year, pushing more people into energy poverty due to rising costs of living not being matched by wage increases. 

Luckily, the government have recently introduced funding grants for new and upcoming renewable energy company projects to introduce more incentives to rely on green energy. With this help, the country may be able to move away from the current crisis, but for now the utilities industry is still at risk of putting many vulnerable customers into energy poverty.

An increased rollout of microgrids:

Microgrids are taking the utilities industry by storm as they cover many new ways of storing, producing and using energy. Storage technologies, generators, vehicle charging infrastructure, uninterruptible power supplies, multiple virtual power plants, and energy-efficient measures are some of the technologies involved.

Recent research indicates that 25.4% of UK and Ireland businesses have installed microgrids or renewable power sources (such as solar, wind) in an effort to reduce their environmental impact.

The global microgrid market is forecast to grow from just over £16.5bn in 2018 to over £29bn globally by 2023. This is great for the utilities industry as we have seen great growth in these systems that allow us to move a step closer to a greener future. Decarbonising is one of the government’s top priority to help the country meet targets to offset its carbon emissions in the fight against climate change. 

2022 will see no slowing down of the process to rollout more mircogrids to enterprises, especially since microgrids can be linked to smart meters. The utilities industry boomed with smart meters in recent years as they are a great way to cut down consumption and can help reduce your utility bill at the end of the month. As energy suppliers push for more smart meters to be used, we can anticipate to see more companies embracing microgrids into their business.

Sustainability will continue to dominate the utilities industry:

As we move closer to targets set out by the UK government to meet decarbonising targets, there are more plans in place to offer funding for more vital projects. These include funding grants for new renewable energy sourcing projects and new energy storaging projects that are hoping to make their way into the utility market. 

Moreover, more and more energy suppliers are now helping companies and everyday customers alike with installing electric vehicle fleets and EV chargers to help the growing demand to switch from combustion engines to electric vehicles. And, as electric vehicle prices are set to plummet, there will be an even bigger demand for the population to make the switch and we can see this prediction growing as 2022 progresses.

Due to the current state of the world, businesses need to invest in sustainable energy solutions to stay ahead of corporate social responsibility demands. Companies are some of the most vital groups that can help reduce the effects of the climate crisis, so we predict this prediction will help boost the utilities industry forward and in line with more sustainable goals.

Regulations will rule the roost:

Ofgem will conduct checks on companies to prevent more from going bankrupt as opposed to the ones that went bankrupt last year, displacing about 4 million home energy customers. In addition, they have a plan for energy supplier startups that prevents them from expanding until they can determine if their business model can sustain long-term growth. 

Because of the crisis and the events that took place in the UK utilities industry last year, Ofgem is committed to making sure customers’ energy bills are controlled by moving them to another supplier if their current supplier goes bust, so they will always have power. 

The utilities industry will continue to be governed by Ofgem and Citizens’ Advice. Citizens Advice will hold Ofgem accountable by ensuring that customers are protected and cared for properly. As the crisis is set to continue this year, the regualtion of the sector is predicted to stay so that it doesn’t get out of hand.

Conclusion

This year will continue to throw more curveballs that will disrupt the market as we navigate the tumutlutous times ahead. Luckily, Ofgem and Citzens Advice will do all they can to regulate the market, putting the country’s population at the forefront of their duties. You can find advice on their websites.

Visit the Ofgem website here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers

Whatever the utilities industry faces this year, the current energy crisis and the move towards building a sustainable future will speed up the likelihood that these predictions will come true.

Your comprehensive energy guide if you decide to move premises

When is the best time to move premises?

We understand there are many reasons why businesses move premises. From company growth to expiring leases, or even a change in circumstances. Whatever reason you have, moving premises, and energy suppliers, has never been easier.

On most energy supplier websites you will find a range of resources that will provide you with extensive information about your particular situation. With this guide, you will be prepared with the information you should acquire before you make any drastic decisions.

Many reasons for companies to move premises are out of their control, especially for changes in circumstances or rapid company growth. But we want to reassure you that, you will always be in charge of your energy supply, whatever the circumstances. 

What happens to your energy contracts when moving business premises?

There are multiple ways your energy suppliers can move your contracts when you move business premises. You should see in your contract how much notice you need to give your supplier so they can make arrangements about moving your supply from one location to another or help you with the exit period of your contract. 

If you haven’t made arrangements with who will be supplying your business when you move, you will typically take on the pre-existing supplier with the site’s rates. If you’re wanting to save money, it’s always best to avoid this because if it’s not a fixed-term contract, you may be paying for more than you need. 

Depending on the notice period you give to your energy supplier, they may offer you the chance to nd your contract earlier than previously agreed. Those running businesses that have to relocate because of changes in their circumstances may benefit from this. 

However, in some circumstances, energy suppliers are willing to help you move your supply to your new premises. If this is the case, they should provide you with a dedicated team that should help switch on the day to make sure it all goes smoothly. We cannot stress enough the importance of contacting your supplier when moving your business’ location in order to make sure you both know what is happening.

How can you prepare yourself for the move?

Being prepared for a move in any situation can benefit you hugely, making the whole process as smooth as possible. The first thing you should do is go through your energy contract so you know how your change will affect you. 

As previously mentioned, you should contact your energy supplier so you can get any more crucial information, as well as let them know what will happen to your bill. Your contract should state either your contract changing period or the notice period you should give to your supplier. Knowing all of this information will help you make plans in time for the move so you can get the best deal.

Calling your supplier can also help clear up anything you may not fully understand in your contract. Even though they’ll be sad to see you go, it is also their job to help you as much as possible, so making contact will benefit you both. 

Depending on whether you were happy with your energy supply during your contract, it may also be worth looking at energy provider comparison sites. The solution that works well for one of your locations may not work for the other, as many factors can affect your monthly bill, especially if you’re moving locations since postcodes can affect what you pay.

By making sure you’re best prepared for the move, you will save yourself not only lots of hassle but maybe some money as well!

What will you need to have when you move?

When moving premises, there are some things you need to keep at hand to keep everything accurate and running smoothly. 

They are:

  • Your energy account number
  • Your final meter reading (sometimes you may have to provide one on the last day on the site)
  • Your site’s lease’s contract termination date
  • The address of your new premises
  • Sometimes, you ma need to provide the details of the business or company owner moving into your old site

Moreover, when switching, your supplier should make you aware of what you need to help make the transition easier. These are some of the main aspects you should consider when moving to your new site. Whether you are at the beginning of your move or closer to the day, having the right information can go a long way.

Fees to look out for:

Despite there being many measures in place to protect company owners when moving sites and their energy supply, the process is not short of possible fees that may crop up that might give you unnecessary stress. 

Here are some of the main fees you may encounter upon moving sites:

  • Reconnection fees: if the previous tenant had their supply disconnected, you may need to pay a connection fee and a security deposit when you move. 
  • Connection fees: In the event that your new office has never been connected to business gas or electricity, for example, you might have to pay a connection fee.
  • Early termination fees: You may be charged an early termination fee if you move into a new property before the contract at your current one has ended. Your contract will have the details about your energy supplier’s cancellation fees, so it’s best to get clued up before making any decisions.

Other questions: answered

  • What if I’m a tenant? 

It’s always best to read your lease contract to see who is in charge of your energy supply. In the event that your landlord has power over this, it is likely that you will have to set up your own connection for when you move to your new premises as you cannot carry over the connection. In an instance where you may still be at your premises, you may be able to negotiate with your landlord to come to an agreement on a better energy rate than your current one. If you are moving to a new property where the landlor is in charge of the energy supply, make sure you’re not paying energy for lighting for your business before signing anything. 

  • What if I’m based at home? 

You shouldn’t be on any business energy tariff if you’re based from home and your energy supplier can give you the best information about moving to a business site and what that means for your company.

  • What if my supplier goes bust?

Luckily, Ofgem have a system in place that helps businesses and homes who are affected by their energy supplier who has gone bust. If this is the case, you are moved to another supplier on their average rate, and are alerted via post when this happens. This gives you freedom to change supplier. As always, we advise that you take a look at your new supplier to see how you can move premises best. 

Take a look here for more information about what support you can get:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/what-happens-if-your-energy-supplier-goes-bust

How can Bright Utilities help you?

Sometimes moving business premises means that you are losing out on the best deals and you won’t realise until it’s happened. 

At Bright Utilities, we can offer you extensive comparisons to give you the best value for money. Our experts have inside knowledge about the various ways you can save money through your energy bills. 

Whether you are moving your business’ premises or not, we are committed to giving you the best prices for your energy needs that remain unmatched! 

Remember that knowledge is power.

The Ofgem price cap explained

What’s currently happening?

The UK is currently gripped by rising prices across the board: in National Insurance payments, council tax rates, and in the energy market. The price of commercial energy is set to soar by 54% in April, equating to an additional £693, introduced through the new energy price cap by Ofgem, today. This is much more than analysts had predicted and many around the country are starting to worry. 

We’ve already seen rising energy costs as in October last year, it had risen by 12% to £1,277, it had been £1,042 during the same time in the previous year. This energy price cap is very generous, even though Ofgem is trying to alleviate the surmounting costs through bi-annual reviews. 

The energy price cap will come into effect on the 1st of April and will affect approximately 22 million customers on default tariffs who are paying by direct debit will see the largest increase. A worrying statistic as many use this way to pay for their gas. 

Since gas prices are still on the rise, the regulatory body Ofgem is doing all it can to help those who are being pushed into fuel poverty. They are here to set out ways to prevent us from paying even more for our gas and electricity supplies. However, with the additional £693 being added, it now will total the spending in a household to just under £2,000 a year. 

Why are gas prices rising?

It is worth noting that the energy price cap can only limit the amount you will have to pay for each unit of gas and electricity. There is no limit for how much you can be charged for home energy as the more you use, the more you will have to pay. 

Historically, fixed energy deals have been cheaper than variable alternatives. Although, the sudden spike in wholesale energy costs has forced suppliers to sell gas and electricity at a loss. But no one is willing to buy these deals. 

Part of the main reason that energy prices have been on the rise in the last 6 months is that it’s a global issue, and it has caused prices to quadruple in the last year. Because of the rising prices, it will mostly affect customers who are on the default tariff and haven’t switched to the fixed tariffs offered by most energy suppliers. 

Ofgem’s reasoning for this is that they track wholesale prices and review them bi-annually. Which gives them all of the resources they need to introduce energy price caps to the UK energy customers. Despite their efforts to try and help the customers affected by the many suppliers who went bust over the last year, those who have been moved to other providers will also be affected by this energy price cap if they have not moved to a fixed tariff. 

Why is there an energy price cap?

As previously mentioned, the government-run regulator Ofgem holds bi-annual reviews of current wholesale energy prices to see how they can help UK customers. They hold these reviews to ensure energy consumers pay a fair price for their energy while preventing energy companies from making excessive profits. 

By imposing an energy price cap, energy companies are allowed to pass on all reasonable costs to their customers, including gas price increases. Despite the unprecedented record rise in gas prices since August, the current cap does not reflect the current level.

Around 4.3 million domestic customers have been affected by 29 energy companies leaving the market or going into special administration during the last year. In order to prevent companies from going bankrupt and to cushion the blow to the energy prices of everyday people, Ofgem has issued a set of regulations.

Because of Ofgem’s position, they want to protect customers the most and make sure that their regulations seek out to protect many vulnerable people throughout the country. As millions are already in poverty in the UK, with many more to join them in the emerging fuel poverty situation, the energy price cap is needed to help many get through what could be a very difficult period to come.

Who will it affect?

Homeowners are set to see the biggest increase in their energy bills, although businesses won’t fully avoid the amounting situation and could see their bills go up as a result. The worst affected area in England is Bradford because many fall into the areas included in the top 5% highest energy bills whilst being in the lowest 5% for income. 

This is partly due to the way many of the houses were built before the 1950s. Because of the terrace-style that dominates the city, many houses don’t have a cavity wall, lacking the much-needed insulation that could help many homeowners save money on their energy bills, especially in the winter months when temperatures tend to plummet. 

However, the catastrophic effects of the introduced energy price cap will affect millions as it will put a quarter of the population into fuel poverty. Despite the government’s efforts to assist the most vulnerable, there will still be shortcomings for many, as they will have to decide between fueling their homes and other necessities. 

Other areas affected are Manchester and Birmingham, two major English cities that have helped power the country through the industrial revolution and remain powerhouses for the country. Although, both of these cities already have more than 20% of their residents in fuel poverty, discovered as of 2019. Almost three years later, we are still seeing more and more places where the number of people in fuel poverty will continue to increase.

Ways to try and tackle it

Despite the troubling times ahead for a lot of people, there are some ways people can alleviate their energy consumption. Firstly, there will be government discounts for those who are struggling. 

Take a look at the government site to see more information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-to-receive-350-boost-to-help-with-rising-energy-costs

Luckily, due to the increased energy price cap, customers will be able to contact their energy suppliers to request discounts since many will be flexible for those on the lowest incomes. 

Although, the best two ways to help with your bills are by using a smart meter, as these can help you find out what is costing you the most in your monthly energy bills. And another way is to switch energy providers. Because the energy price cap will affect so many of us, it is important to note that you are always in charge of who you are with, especially since the hardest affected will be those out of fixed-rate tariffs.

Take a look at our competitive comparisons to see where you can make the most savings as the energy price cap comes into force. We want you to be safe during the energy crisis and hope some of these tips will assist you in keeping your energy consumption and spending low.

Corporate social responsibility strategy

What is corporate social responsibility?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the practice of businesses giving back to the community. Be it through environmental, social or economic initiatives that they implement whilst upholding the quality of their brand. Some business owners see this as a radical self-regulation policy as many companies would please their shareholders over other constituents throughout a company’s lifespan. 

With the increase in the use of social media and digital marketing, it is harder for businesses to get away without being in the spotlight. These platforms make it a lot easier for new and existing customers to see the company’s corporate social responsibility through the posts they make and share. This is because corporate social responsibility has been seen as more important by customers in recent years.

Most companies demonstrate their social responsibility through ethical and sustainable ways, such as championing human rights for minority groups and showing everyone the ways in which they save energy. 

However, there are other ways businesses can improve their corporate social responsibility, and the definition varies from each company. For example, some businesses celebrate innovations when it comes to their most-loved products whilst maintaining the brand’s value. Most companies that implement corporate social responsibility strategies have grown their businesses so much that they can afford to give back to society.

Examples of Corporate social responsibility:

  • Starbucks: By 2025, the company wants to reach 100% ethically sourced coffee, create a global network of farmers, plant 100 million trees and develop a global network of farmers, according to its 2020 Global Social Impact Report. Contributing millions of hours of community service, providing a groundbreaking college program to its employees, and pioneering green building throughout their stores are also in their strategy. 
  • Rolex: Four years in a row, Rolex has been ranked among the top 10 most reputable companies in the world. By anchoring its values in high-profile personalities, the brand can create an emotional connection between its products and its company. As an example, Roger Federer is regarded by many as an icon of excellence (Rolex is well regarded for its quality of products) and resilience. 
  • The Lego Group: Lego is in the top 10 list of most reputable companies in the world for the third consecutive year. Its holistic storyline based on sustainability, education, and societal contributions already has a steady and strong presence in Denmark and around the world. They recently began using sugarcane plastics as a replacement for plastics derived from petroleum. This is another example of how the company is promoting CSR values.

The importance of corporate social responsibility:

According to The 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR study, an astonishing 91% of global consumers expect businesses to have responsible operations that address social and environmental concerns. And, a further 84% say they seek out companies who take accountability and are transparent when buying products wherever possible.

If anything, the pandemic has shown us that companies need to look after everything their business is tied to in order to attract and maintain relationships with their customers. These figures can only prove the emerging importance clients place on the business’ corporate social responsibility. 

It is very important for growing companies to express these practices they are carrying out early on as they can reach more people who are interested in ethical practices. Many business owners believe that by having a corporate social responsibility strategy, it can help them beat their competitors. Although the strategy needs to be sustainable otherwise the company may take more losses than gains. 

Through a successful corporate social responsibility strategy, a company can raise the visibility of their brand in the community and attract new clients. Which is why it is important for businesses to make one and stick to it so they can yield results.

The impact of CSR:

The consequences of having a corporate social responsibility strategy are mostly positive for companies. Making a partnership with overseas or startup companies can help them reduce spending and reduce risks. This has been seen through companies such as Cabury’s here in the UK who partnered with Fair trade to ethically source the cacao for their chocolate bars.

By partnering with sustainable companies, your business can also be certain that you will be investing into your own business’ future-proofing. By investing in sustainable businesses, you will also be investing in sustainable economies too, which can trickle into the wider economy, something we all need to make an effort with as we move to renewable energy practices. 

Many companies have adopted measures to reduce their environmental impact, such as installing renewable energy sources or purchasing carbon offsets, to improve the sustainability and efficiency of their operations. 

Lots of companies also now have specific pledges available to view against modern slavery and unethical production practices, which also inlcudes child slavery. This is because corporate social responsibility strategies included multiple practices to manage, such as the supply chains, and not just the company’s branding. 

Employee engagement is also improved when a company has a good public image. You’re also more likely to attract and retain the best candidates if you demonstrate that you care about social issues like human rights.

Company tips for Corporate Social Responsibility

Many modern businesses have an employee handbook which outlines the ways the company looks after it’s employees. However, it is a great place to outline the business code of ethics which your company should look to create. A business code of ethics outlines employee conduct concerning ethics, values, environment, diversity, employee respect, and customer service.

Establish policies and practices that allow your business to comply with its environmental commitments. For example, you could produce a report documenting your company’s environmental activities and results. Many big companies have been known to share this information with everyone to show their transparency and commitment to saving the planet.

Make sure you use marketing techniques that reflect your company’s integrity and are fair and honest. Avoid any advertising that could be construed as manipulative or detrimental. Some companies have been caught out by this in their environmental pledges. Greenwashing occurs when a business brags about its green practices while still engaging in harmful practices.

It is common for manufacturing companies to donate to communities where they have sites, as a means of giving back to society and promoting the values of their brand. And others give back to the wider community, for example, here at Bright Utilities, we are partnered with the International Tree Foundation as we plant 10 trees for every switch we help happen. 

Little changes such as these can help your business expand and gain more attention to help it grow in a positive way that gives back to everyone else! Everyone’s a winner!

4 Green initiatives to future-proof your business

What does “future-proofing” your business mean?

The last two years have shown us how quickly circumstances can change, for everyone, no matter what plans they have in place. Future-proofing has been an important part of business strategy as we have always been subject to catastrophes, from environmental to economic. 

A future-proofing strategy means anticipating and preparing for possible risks in the future so that you can prevent the severity of the resulting effects when they come to pass. However, it isn’t a quick fix you can carry through, you will need a strategy for a course of action that you will continue to carry out. Remember, it’s the hard work that pays off when it comes to this since many businesses failed to adapt to the coronavirus situation. 

Many countries have pledged to adopt more sustainable practices to help curb the effects of the climate crisis, so all businesses should join in if they want to help the planet and possibly themselves in the future.

  1. Go digital

Firstly, one of the most effective ways to future-proof your business is by embracing the power of digital technology. Despite the rise in social media and the everyday use of smartphones, most companies in the UK still haven’t fully utilised the digital workspace. 

This is because around 10,000 sheets of paper are used by the average employee each year, and this equates to 4 and a half trees! At this point, there are fewer reasons to stick to paper resources in the office. 

The benefits of going paperless are endless, for a couple of reasons: not only can you back up all of your work, but there are online collaborative spaces you can use with your colleagues. These workspaces are fantastic since you can easily share your work, and even work on projects together in real-time. Typically, online storage spaces are usually easier to look through, instead of having to sift through physical files that may be messy due to human error. 

Additionally, one of the sneakier ways some companies are missing out is simply because consumers are getting most, if not all, of their advertising digitally. As we move into the future of digital marketing, it will soon be more and more difficult for paper adverts to keep up with the trends that change every day. 

  1. Embrace hybrid/remote working

Since the Coronavirus pandemic, many companies have been pushed to put Working From Home (WFH) mandates in place to keep their employees safe. As of March 2021, 60% of adults were working from home in the UK, meaning many businesses were saving money on their utilities. 

When managers implement a hybrid work plan for employees, they can be confident that no matter what other crises may arise in the future, the company can adapt to working under different conditions. 

One of the best ways hybrid working can help employees is simply through the fact that it will help keep the number of employees off on sick leave to a minimum. This will be because there will be less mixing of people in possibly small spaces and no shared appliances will be used. 

Despite the advantages of having WFH, hybrid working is said to be better as it can help many employees get the social aspect back as well as alleviate the stresses that come with the office environment. 

As we move to more and more digital spaces, many have wondered whether we will ever fully return to the office in the future. By adapting and planning now, your company will be future-proof to withstand the possible challenge. 

  1. Reduce meat consumption

A great way to help you future-proof your business is if you can promote your employees to reduce their meat consumption. Through offering your workers green products in the work kitchen or by encouraging them to take on green initiatives that can be carried out outside of the office. 

Additionally, currently in the UK, there are between 2-3% of people who have 100% eradicated meat from their diet. However, there are 14% of UK adults that identify as vegetarian or vegan. These are showing the rising numbers of people who are committed to reducing their meat consumption, and this number is set to grow. 

Therefore, it has never been a better time to introduce this incentive for your workers, as it can offset carbon emissions and you can use alternative food solutions to prevent your company from being affected by supply chain issues. 

In 2022, an astonishing 8.8. Million Brits have planned to go meat-free this year to help reduce the effects of climate change in their everyday lives. By helping them, you can show your ability to adapt, which is the best way to future-proof your business. Being adaptable will prepare your business for multiple situations that may arise in the future. 

  1. Use greener energy alternative sources

Changing to greener utility solutions is without a doubt the best way to future-proof your company, not only because it can reduce costs, but also because you don’t have to depend on finite sources, so you can continue to work. 

The smallest way you can begin to do this is by getting a smart meter installed for free! These handy little devices can accurately measure your energy usage depending on your business energy tariff. And, you may be able to get multiple meters for the multiple sites your business has. Because of their accuracy, many suppliers have online portals where you can track your bills anywhere and at any time you wish. They are the perfect first step to track your energy to prepare yourself for the future. 

Secondly, there are also other appliances you can get installed to reduce your energy intake, such as on-site solar panels on your roof. Solar panels can produce a lot of energy, meaning you won’t be relying on your provider all the time for power. They may begin with a hefty installation fee, but the savings are worth it and they can be used for years to come! This will help to prepare you for the future as many energy companies are uncertain as to whether they will prevail over the energy crisis so why not take matters into your own hands?

Lastly, another effective way to future-proof your business is by switching your utility providers! This presents you with the opportunity to take control of your energy and can help you reduce your costs so that you can focus on the more important things. Be sure to take a look at our on-site comparisons and get in touch today to see how we can help your company prepare for any new circumstances the future may bring. 

To consider

As you can see from our list, these steps are easy to make to future-proof your business. If you can stick to them or even make a plan, you can be sure that your company will be able to withstand the uncertainty ahead. 

However, the last couple of years has shown us that these events are never predictable and that we all need to learn together to help prevent the effect of these catastrophes in the future. With a future-proof strategy, your business can still benefit, despite what may come your way.

Huge renewable energy coal port

The world’s largest coal port to be completely powered by renewable energy

Why we should be decarbonising the globe 

Investing in new coal mines and exports could damage economies in countries like Australia and Indonesia as they move away from fossil fuels. Researchers at Imperial College London (ICL) and Queen Mary University of London, as well as Deloitte, concluded these findings in a new study published in Joule. 

As we need to move away from fossil fuels to reach net-zero targets as a global collective, this has been putting pressure on current coal mines whose main exports rely on this resource. ICL carried out risk assessments depending on the scenarios and found that the same investment in coal mining and consumption as it is today, with a sustainable pathway reduces coal consumption so that global warming is kept below 2°C. 

Due to the renewable energy pathway, a third of today’s coal mines will become stranded assets by 2040, meaning they will no longer be economically viable at the end of their operating life and will have to be disposed of. This has sped up the plans of the Australian government as their Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the long-awaited pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050

Where is the coal port?

The Port of Newcastle is based in South Wales in Australia, and was established (and running) in 1799. It handles more than 25 different types of cargoes and 2,258 ship visits each year. It has 20 operational berths and the main channel that reaches a depth of 15.2 meters.

However, according to Port of Newcastle, coal power generation in Australia’s national electricity market declined by 5.9% compared to the final quarter of 2020. Gas power generation also had its lowest quarter since 2004. By converting to fully renewable energy, the port could reduce its losses should these circumstances arise again. 

What is the plan going forward?

Although the port still exports 165Mt of coal per year, it plans to decarbonise by 2040 and to increase its non-coal revenues so that coal only amounts to half of its revenue by 2030. Additionally, the port has also managed to switch 97% of its vehicles to electric, as they have pledged to convert to renewable energy. 

A company that was once proud to be the world’s largest coal exporter is now proud to boast its fully renewable transition as the world transitions away from coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels and a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. 

This is because the plan will be more financially attractive in the long run as the world moves to use renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels. 

“I would prefer to be doing this now while we have control over our destiny, while we have revenue coming in, than in a crisis situation where our revenue has collapsed and no one will lend us money,” the Chief executive officer of the Port of Newcastle Craig Carmody said to the Guardian

The plan has highlighted the desire for switching to renewable energy sources from the world’s biggest coal port. 

But how will the port make the switch?

Well, the Port of Newcastle has made a deal with the Spanish Utility company Iberdrola to access their large-scale windfarm. Iberdrola has provided the port with generation certificates, enabling it to purchase energy produced by the Bodangora wind farm off the coast of New South Wales. 

However, as the business continues to accept coal exports, it hopes that its decarbonization efforts will lead to other companies taking the same step. Through these steps, these businesses will be future-proofed, as countries could lose billions of pounds by continuing to maintain finite resources. 

As solar and wind power squeeze coal out of the energy market, it leaves many wanting to make the switch to renewable energy. While we all need to do our part to combat climate change, the most effective way to do so is for the largest energy companies to switch to renewable energy sources. 

While the port has been praised for this move by many, it has also been criticized for its long time frame to become fully renewable, which will still allow massive amounts of coal to be passed through the port. 

The future for the coal industry

The global coal trade volume is projected to increase by almost one-and-a-half times over the next 30 years, and trade flows will continue to move towards Asia, according to the International Energy Agency.

Despite the growth in the coal industry, the use of renewable energy sources is still far cheaper than using fossil fuels. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), published a report in 2020 that outlined in 2019 shows that more than half of the renewable power plants added in 2019 had lower power costs than the cheapest coal plants. 

Even though many coal plants and ports are attempting to switch to renewables, there is still more competition to beat in the race to a global, greener effort. It is still uncertain for now which direction the future of coal is going in but rest assured that you can still use renewable energy to help save the planet. 

Take a look at the IRENA report findings here: https://www.irena.org/newsroom/pressreleases/2020/Jun/Renewables-Increasingly-Beat-Even-Cheapest-Coal-Competitors-on-Cost

6 Sustainable Energy Resolutions for 2022

A brief recap of 2021

2021 has been a tumultuous year as we have seen the rise and fall (and rise again) of the pandemic and a gripping energy crisis affecting the whole of the UK and Europe. As many people continue to work from home, we want to help businesses make some well-thought-out New Year’s resolutions as we have entered 2022. 

At Bright Utilities, we’re all about making changes and offering solutions to businesses across the country to maximise benefits and minimise stress. According to a recent survey carried out by GoCompare, 4 in 10 Brits want to make New Year’s resolutions that include greener efforts as our society#s conscience moves from one that is selfish to selfless, remember, any change big or small can make a difference.

So look below at the possible sustainable energy resolutions you could make this year below!

Changes to make a difference:

Are you a business manager that has all these great ideas but doesn’t know where to begin when it comes to renewable energy? Let’s start with some basics.

  1. Train you staff

The New year has just begun, everyone is back to work, and with the infamous Blue Monday round the corner, it can be easy to fall into a rut this time of year. Calling colleagues into a meeting might not be more exciting than now as you can remind your employees of the many different ways to reduce energy waste for the company. 

But who wants to listen to a meeting about energy conservation? Well, with the fast-approaching net-zero targets set out by the governments fast approaching, your workers can be inspired to do their bit against climate change. Such tips can be reminders to switch off unused appliances around the office. And if you’re feeling generous, you could even delegate roles and responsibilities to your workers to instill a sense of importance in their working lives. Everyone’s a winner!

  1. Make changes to the equipment you use

We all know the phrase “if it’s not broken, why fix it?” but did you know that some of your older appliances could be wasting unnecessary energy in your workplace? 

If appliances haven’t had regular maintenance checks, they could be working double as hard to give you the same performance as when you first purchased them. Therefore, after cleaning or upgrading your appliances, or even replacing them completely, it is always a good idea, as it will save you money on your energy bills. 

Several manufacturers have acknowledged the need for energy-saving appliances in recent years, such as switching to energy-saving bulbs or switching from desktop computers to laptops. Carry out a comprehensive audit on your business to see where you can make some changes in your company.

  1. Gain Knowledge

Even though we want to offer you and your business the best deals and advice, it is always smarter to look elsewhere for ways you can save energy and money. You can find great information about environmental taxes, levies, and electric vehicle exemptions on the government’s website, such as congestion charge immunity for electric vehicles.

We know that all the information about green energy can be very overwhelming. Luckily, we have some great blog posts that can help point you in the right direction, should you wish to look at all of your options. Being informed puts you in a great position to understand all of your choices should you decide to make changes going forward this year. 

Or maybe you just want to be more informed about the current climate crisis? There are numerous ways you can stay in the loop. Knowledge is power!

  1. Switch to electric vehicles

You ever crossed the street and barely heard a car go by? They look enticing, don’t they? 

Luckily, energy providers have seen the demand for the workforce, since apparently 68% of the UK’S workforce drive to and from work. Many suppliers now can offer you bespoke charging services and advice on which vehicles to buy if you want to help your employees make the most of their commute. These solutions are cheaper than maintaining cars that rely on older, outdated fuel resources and can help the health of your workers. 

With new congestion charges coming into force this year in some of England’s largest cities as they join the likes of Birmingham and London. Know that even though it won’t stop them from encountering traffic, it will mean they won’t have to pay congestion charges or put out any more unnecessary carbon emissions. 

  1. Switch Energy Provider

Take the phrase “new year, new me” to a whole other level by making one of the biggest changes you can make that will profit your pockets and the environment. 

Unfortunately, there are currently lots of energy providers that are still using outdated energy sources, such as coal and gas. By changing your supplier, you are offsetting your carbon emissions and many renewable companies offer tariffs and plan that in the long run will save you money.

Another way modern energy companies can help with your monthly bills are through the installation of smart meters. These handy devices can accurately measure your electricity and gas usage in half-hourly installments as these can help you carry out energy audits in your business and save you energy. 

Why not take a look at our comparisons to see where you can make the most of your savings in record time, and without any stress!

  1. Share what you’ve learnt

The average Brit will spend (roughly) a third of their day at work, meaning that as it is important as a business owner to make sure you are carrying out greener solutions in your workplace, it is also important to carry them out outside of work. 

Why not share some of the information you have gained and spread it amongst friends and family? Or why not start using social media to champion the steps you have taken to make your company that bit greener. 

Nowadays, being environmentally conscious is seen as important for many consumers as we all start to make renewables the preferred way of powering our everyday lives. By taking these steps, you can help others make smarter, cleaner choices as well as boost your business’ ratings with potential customers.

To conclude…

We know by now you might have already made your New Year’s Resolutions, but it is never too late to make changes that are more environmentally friendly. We hope this little post has helped you to start to think about the ways you can save money and energy. 

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