Sophie Hebblethwaite

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. 

Ofgem: The energy regulator

Who is Ofgem?

The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) is the government’s Regulatory authority for the UK’s electricity and downstream natural gas markets. They also work with industry and consumer groups to help carry out the government’s net-zero goal whilst keeping costs low for energy buyers. 

Another main aim they have is to keep energy companies in check to protect consumers and to make sure that the energy suppliers themselves don’t go bust. This is to maintain the success of the energy market, especially with the current energy crisis.  

They work closely with the UK government to ensure these practices are upheld as they exert their powers within a statutory framework. 

What does Ofgem do?

For both homes and businesses, the regulatory authority encourages a value for money approach to gas and electricity supplies with ample stockpiles to keep up with demands. Additionally, Ofgem also encourages energy conservation, protects vulnerable consumers, and supports the improvement of the environment as a whole. 

Ofgem does this by eliminating bad practices and ensuring just treatment for consumers, particularly the most at risk. This facilitates competition and innovation, resulting in lower prices for consumers and new products. 

They promote government policies to ensure that the government meets their targets, such as the decarbonisation goals for 2050. The regulator does not have any executive power to enforce their own policies, however, they can make the government aware of any gaps in the consumer market if they see any. 

Moreover, Ofgem has the authority to carry out company investigations where they see fit. Recently, they implemented new policies to enforce that newly created energy companies are future-proofed throughout their growth, to prevent them from going under. This new regulation has arisen due to the ongoing energy crisis in the UK that has affected millions of customers. 

How is Ofgem run?

Ofgem has been a necessary tool for the government to maintain the efficiency of the electricity and gas sector since they were both privatised in 1986 under the Thatcher government. 

They are run by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (GEMA), which is made up of non-executive and executive members with a non-executive chair. 

GEMA enforce these orders through the various acts set out by parliament, they are as follows:

  • Gas Act 1986
  • Electricity Act 1989
  • Utilities Act 2000
  • Competition Act 1998
  • Enterprise Act 2002
  • measures set out in a number of Energy Acts.

All of these acts are there to protect both energy utility consumers and the suppliers themselves, as these are the statutory framework that Ofgem operates in. 

They are totally independent of the companies we regulate, and they recover our costs from the licensees we regulate. They require licensees to pay an annual fee that covers our costs. 

What this means is that Ofgem is funded through the companies they work with, meaning that the money they receive is circulated back into the protection of those energy providers.

How can Ofgem help me and my business?

Their site offers unbiased, expert information covering a variety of topics, including helping you to understand your energy bills and switching to a more affordable deal as well as guidance on generating renewable energy. Additionally, it features articles about government and social schemes, such as Feed-In Tariffs and Renewable Heat Incentive programs.

If you have a complaint about your energy bill or provider, Ofgem provides reliable guidance on what to do. Although it doesn’t directly deal with disputes, Ofgem collects information about complaints and monitors the markets to ensure that licensed companies are providing reliable service.

This helps their reliability as an organisation and validates their commitment to helping energy consumers and providers within the UK energy market. 

Even though you probably have no direct contact with Ofgem, its work in tracking complaints, setting price caps, and overseeing government and social programs benefit energy customers every day. 

The firm can help you massively to ensure your energy and gas providers are complying with current government laws and regulations to offer you the best service possible. By dictating what information must be provided on energy bills, Ofgem also ensures your energy supplier makes sure you receive your bill in the best way possible.

Ofgem works closely with Citizens Advice and the Energy Ombudsman, to make sure that individual complaints are handled correctly, as they can’t deal with them themselves. Ofgem can only adhere to government orders and therefore can only investigate complaints that go against the regulations and affect many customers.

Among the duties that are set for energy companies are ensuring they follow the rules of their license and the laws governing them. For example, consumer protection laws and competition laws. The company’s rules require fair dealing.

Because of the corporation’s powers, they can carry out directions or orders ending a breach or correcting damage. As well, they have the executive power to give out penalties, commitments, and financial obligations related to actions or future conduct. 

Ofgem’s main objective is to maintain the energy regulations of government orders to help protect consumers whilst helping the government to accomplish its decarbonisation goals. We recommend giving their site a once-over to see the other ways Ofgem is working hard to help you and your business with your energy and gas supplies.

Visit: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/about-us/our-role-and-responsibilities

An easy guide to saving energy immediately!

The issue at hand

Businesses across the UK have been wasting energy for many years. They are paying around £60 million a year in energy bills as a result of overusing energy. This is the equivalent of 46,000 cars emitting carbon dioxide every year and costing businesses in the city around £35 million annually. 

Energy wasted in less than 3,300 office buildings in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, and Leeds could power more than 42,000 homes, costing businesses an estimated £25 million in unnecessary energy bills. Imagine where all that energy would be if this waste was reduced!

These problems have only been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic since its beginning in 2020. With forced closures, furloughs, loans, and recovery funds, many companies from Small to Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and larger businesses have suffered throughout. With rising energy costs, it is no wonder that many business owners are fearing for their future as they have enough on their hands.

Luckily, there is a shift in social attitudes towards the causes of climate change, the government’s targets, and other events such as the various protests and climate conferences at COP26 in November 2021. Such protests and conferences are outlining the different ways we can change our behaviour to reduce the effects of global warming in the UK. In addition, with the rise of social networking software, many companies are now being judged on their social and environmental ethics, as the views and opinions of companies have never been more accessible by the general public. 

According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), reducing energy waste is critical to meeting the UK’s enshrined net-zero emissions target for 2050, as they continue to urge businesses to embrace technological innovations to save money and reduce emissions.

Here at Bright Utilities, we don’t want any businesses to miss out on ways they can reduce their energy usage and monthly bills. In this blog, we will identify the main ways you can reduce your costs and join the fight against climate change in the UK.

Changes businesses can make to cut costs

The first and most important step you can take, as a business owner, is by carrying out an in-depth energy audit. This means going through your establishment and looking at any way you can change something so that you are reducing your energy waste. 

Smart meters can provide half-hourly updates on how much energy was used and how much it cost to run. This information is incredibly important for tracking your energy use.

They can also help you carry out energy audits accurately through their readings. A report notes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) energy optimisation systems already on the market can reduce energy use in commercial buildings by 14%.

The government has made a  commitment to empowering UK vehicles and their supply chains by electrifying them and funding electric vehicle grants and infrastructure by an additional £350 million out of their up to £1 billion commitment. Even some energy companies have set out to help businesses switch to electric vehicles by installing charging stations and promoting electric cars, to help decrease costs when it is difficult to phase out driving to work.. Some of the providers we offer this service so why not take advantage of what we have to offer?

Despite the upfront cost, replacing incandescent filament bulbs with LEDs, CFLs, or halogens could save you a lot of money and energy. As much as 40% of your energy bill goes to lighting alone, so it makes sense to use different types of lighting in your premises. 

This sounds like something you should be doing already, but carrying out checks on your appliances throughout you buildings could save you some money. By performing regular maintenance checks, you can ensure the efficiency of your devices, clean them to ensure they are functioning properly, and replace those that are no longer of use.  

Most importantly, the best way to reduce your energy bill is by switching to another provider, this will make sure that you get the best deals on your monthly bills. Our goal at Bright Utilities is to keep your utility bills at a minimum, as we know that as a business owner you have a lot on your plate. By using our comparison tool, we will take the stress out of switching providers as we can provide you with the best competitive offers.

Avoiding energy waste

We acknowledge that some businesses have already made changes to how they run their company to best benefit their employees and facilities to offset their carbon footprint. That is why we want to offer additional ideas to help you reduce your energy waste for your company. 

If you have gaps around windows and doors, you can lose heat as well. To prevent this from happening, invest in re-sealing them and keep them closed to retain heat. We know that retail businesses want to look inviting to onlooking clients, however, it is more important to keep doors closed so that you are not losing unnecessary heat, especially in the winter months when it is easier to get colder air coming into your shop. 

Likewise, you might want to cover your walls and ceilings with insulation as well. Installing this method will cost you a bit more upfront, but it will save you more in the long run.

In the office, unplugging unused devices such as printers and chargers will be more beneficial in the long run. Many businesses also have switched to using laptops over desktops as they use a lot less power to run, so if there is any way you can make that switch for some employees, it may be time to invest. 

Lastly, the kitchen, whether it is central to the business or a staff kitchen is where many savings can be made. Making sure fridges and freezers are not frozen and working to their correct temperatures and only using dishwashers when full can make the difference. We all know how far a cup of tea can go, making sure employees are using kettles for the accurate amount of cups they want to make can help cut costs and boost morale in the workplace.

Make sure you look over the government’s plan to achieve net-zero emissions so you can stay up to date with all the ways you can improve your company’s energy use. Below is a link you can look at to help get you started.

Vist: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uks-path-to-net-zero-set-out-in-landmark-strategy

Get clever with smart meters

Smart meters are leading the future of technology designed to help manage energy usage and cut down on costs for many houses and businesses across the UK. Across the country, there were a recorded 24.2 million smart meters installed in homes and businesses as of 31st March 20221. 

You too can join in the green revolution by getting one installed at no extra cost. 

What are smart meters?

Smart meters are small electronic devices that track your energy and gas usage over time and accurately tell you how much money it’s costing you. Additionally, smart meters can immediately send these meter readings directly to your supplier so you won’t have to and can avoid paying fixed rates.

With smart meters, companies and properties don’t have to pay estimated bills anymore as smart meters are an accurate way to measure consumption. 

The device itself has a feature called an In Home Display (IHD) where all of this information is readily available. Because it uses wireless technology, some service providers allow you to view the information on an app on your smartphone when you are on the go. 

Importantly, the UK government wants all energy companies in Great Britain to have offered every customer a smart meter by 2025. Despite this target, even though your business (and home) will be offered smart meters, you don’t have to install them if you’re ued to your current way of handling your energy. However, they are a massive help to everyone since they have been quoted as one of the best ways to cut power consumption in the battle against climate change. 

They are great for seeing what you use, you pay for without any other additional, hidden costs that could catch out people who use estimated billing. By switching providers, you can choose your own tailored tariffs that are reduced because of the introduction of smart meters.

As part of our comparison tool, our experts suggest providers who use smart meters and are committed to the government’s net-zero energy plan. If you are unsure, look no further as the tariffs you can compare will do the talking. 

Ways they can benefit businesses

I’m sure many of us by now have had letters come through the post from our suppliers telling us about the benefits of smart meters in our houses, but have you considered the rewards that can be made by using them in businesses?

Whether you own a small to medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) or a larger company, smart meters can also cut down your consumption and therefore, your costs, so you don’t have to stress and can focus on the important stuff. 

The best feature that smart meters offer is their accuracy. By using them, you can carry out in-depth audits on your business to see where your biggest perpetrators of energy consumption come from if you are looking to upgrade your equipment. Meter readings can still be tracked on the go with handy mobile apps that allow you to continue working while saving time. 

Some energy suppliers such as SSE can also provide you with smart meters for up to 9 sites with Smart Meter Equipment Technical Specifications (SMETS2) meters. This can also allow large businesses to run multiple sites and track all of their energy usages precisely. Take a look at our other options for energy and gas suppliers today to see which other companies provide similar energy solutions.

One of the greatest benefits of having a smart meter fixed is that it is free to get one, highlighting that there are no hidden costs when you make the switch. Even though there is no need to switch to a smart meter, your business can benefit from the cheaper tariffs being offered to those who own smart meters. 

With the UK pledging itself to net-zero by 2050, by switching to a smart meter, you too can help reduce how much energy your company uses. You can carry on with what is most important to you whilst you save energy and gas by cutting down your consumption.  

As a business owner, you must consider the many ways your business could be wasting electricity and gas. As such, decreasing your costs will take time to come into effect. Take a look at our other blogs such as the New Year’s Resolutions you could make for 2022 or the blog outlining the ways you can reduce your energy use to see the many different steps you can take to offset your carbon footprint. 

Become a smart property today by getting a smart meter installed through one of the many energy and gas suppliers our comparison tool can suggest for you. There’s no reason to stop there, use smart meters to see where you can make changes to your equipment across your properties so you can cut your monthly bills, all while helping save the environment.

The decision is up to you…

Whether you decide to get smart meters installed or not, why not use our experts to see where you could be saving money by switching energy providers. We hope this provided some clarity on the benefits of smart meters and why they are being promoted by UK energy suppliers.

European solar installations

What is Solar Photovoltaics (Solar PV)

Solar Photovoltaics (commonly known as Solar PV) is the process of converting light into electricity using solar panels. The way solar panels do this is because they are made up of many layers of semiconducting material, most commonly silicon. When light shines on the material, electricity flows. In order for solar energy to work, the sun’s energy is captured and transformed into electricity quietly and effectively.

Luckily, the cells don’t need direct sunlight to function as they can operate on cloudy days. However, it is important to note that solar panels will produce the most electricity on sunnier days compared to those that are overcast. The more solar panels you have can really make a difference in much power you generate.

When functioning properly, Solar PV panels typically generate around 250-300W of power in strong sunlight. In addition, typical systems are made up of 10 to 15 panels and can create a direct current (DC) of electricity. Theoretically, our planet is exposed to enough photons every hour to generate enough solar energy to meet global energy needs for an entire year.

The big jump

By 2021, the solar PV installations in Europe jumped by 34% as 25.9GW of PV capacity was added to the European grids, compared to 19.3GW added in 2020. This was reported by the trade association in its latest EU Market Outlook for Solar power report in mid-December 2021. 

The introduction of new solar panels across Europe was widely received since The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) stated the number of panels was up 16% above their projections from the year before. However, the addition of the panels was down 5% in their Global Market Outlook published in July 2021, as the impact of supply shortage-related project delays is less clear.

According to the research, the previous record was set in 2011 with a total installed capacity of 21.44GW, as the sector transitioned from feed-in tariffs to new incentives and markets, it began a years-long slump. We have seen the words of European leaders come true within the last ten years as we move away from outdated, finite energy resources despite global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

5.3GW of new solar capacity was installed in Germany last year, followed by 3.8GW in Spain, 3.3GW in the Netherlands, 3.2GW in Poland, and 2.5GW in France, according to a report by the EU Market Outlook 2021 research firm. 

Here at Bright Utilities, we are always looking for ways to improve energy efficiency. By installing solar panels, using a 4kW system under optimal conditions, small businesses can save up to £16,000 in 20 years, according to The Eco Experts. And Large businesses that can fit a 50KW system could see savings of £10,000 per year, with weather permitting conditions.

In the UK, we are expected to see additional growth in Solar PV fittings as Brighton Energy Co-op plans to run a grant scheme to help SMEs install solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations. A solar PV array or a solar PV array in combination with an electric vehicle charging point can be financed for up to 40% of the total cost – a maximum of £25,000. Solar array sizes ranging from 30kW to 80kW with funding from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 

What this means for businesses

Grants being offered to UK businesses for the fitting of Solar PVs is a great step in the right direction to promote the many ways businesses can use alternative energy sources. 

But how will I know if my company is eligible for solar panel fittings? 

Luckily, we are here to give you the run-down on what makes your business eligible for solar panels. The average system size is between 3 and 4kW, and this usually requires around 15-20m2 of roof area. It is proposed that businesses place their solar panel arrays on roofs in order to reduce the risk of other buildings and naturally occurring organisms obstructing the solar panels’ access to sunlight. 

Ideally, a roof facing directly south is the best option for maximum energy output. Roofs facing east or west are still suitable, but north-facing roofs should not be considered. However, Roofs facing east or west will produce around 15% less energy than those facing directly south. 

Solar PV panels are permitted developments, which generally do not need planning permission. However, you should consult your local planning office if you live in a listed building, conservation area, or national park.

Solar panels can really benefit businesses to help them reduce their carbon footprint and their monthly bills. Our energy experts can offer your business lots of energy tariffs that reduce your bills if you decide to have Solar PV panels installed. This is part of the plan from the UK government to reward businesses for using power source alternatives. 

As a business owner, you can also have a solar inverter fitted to help you divert the extra energy you don’t use. However, this comes with an export tariff, that you will still have to pay even if you don’t store any energy as the inverter needs funds to keep it running. 

No matter what you decide, Bright Utilities can guide you to the best energy provider to meet your business’ needs, as well as how you can make exclusive savings and become part of the green movement.

Ofgem’s new energy supplier regulations

After a total of 3.8 million homes have been impacted by the failure of energy companies, Ofgem has declared firms will undergo rigorous stress testing from January. There is no surprise that these steps have been implemented to protect the millions of people affected by rising energy prices.

One of the many new measures it will implement is preventing supplier startups from growing their customer base until Ofgem is satisfied knowing they are resilient enough to withstand financially troubling times. A supplier will be subject to checks before they reach 50,000 customers, then at 150,000 and 250,000. The next threshold will be between 500,000 and 800,000. This is to make sure that consumers are protected under such hardships as the world faces a gas crisis. 

In addition, Ofgem and energy suppliers will agree on a plan to ensure their businesses can grow and thrive in different circumstances. This comes from an article by Ofgem’s Executive Jonathon Bearley, released yesterday, as he states many companies “were not ready to weather a global shock on this scale”.

If the company is unable to survive on the market, the regulator may require the company to prepare a “living will,” which outlines how it will continue to offer customers a good service while making an “orderly exit.” As part of the plan, Ofgem will require providers to adhere to it once the new measures are in place.

Ofgem wants providers to drive innovation in a dynamic environment with the customer at the focus to make sure that bosses are being monitored to meet regulations. To keep these suppliers in check, accountability is the driving force for change. 

In response to the Climate Crisis, companies are being pushed to align with more durable practices, putting further pressure on business owners to become more sustainable. If not, prices will continue to rise as they already have by 500% in less than a year, since most of the world’s energy sources become more and more finite. 

In the Spring of next year, the government will start working on a consultation on new financial license requirements. Technical controls on “fit and proper” requirements will also be tightened. This comes in response to Ofgem being criticised for their handling of recent energy failings as these new regulations could have been implemented sooner.

The current crisis left almost 4 million customers without an energy supplier since 26 providers collapsed in the last four months, highlighting the much needed tougher regulations. Citizens Advice was one of the key critics of Ofgem during the energy crisis as they suggested a “catalog of errors” led to the rocketing prices of households’ energy bills. 

Citizen Advice has raised repeated concerns about the quality of service and financial viability of new suppliers spanning the period 2010-2019. In 2013, it called on the licensing regime that accredits new providers to be reviewed, a new practice planned to come into effect earlier next year.

If these new rules are not set in stone soon, many more households and businesses will see these patterns repeat themselves in the future. Jonathan Brearley also mentioned in his article “We need an urgent step change to bring in the rules and regulation needed to create a stronger, more innovative and resilient energy market.” to prevent such repeated weaknesses causing more catastrophic shortcomings. 

According to market analysts at ICIS, UK gas prices closed at an all-time high of 322.5 pence per therm on Tuesday, exceeding the previous peak of just over 298 pence per therm set in October. Many customers report that these are frightening times to live through, as rising prices contribute to a sense of financial insecurity. 

Ofgem’s plan to crack down is good news for consumers, according to Matt Vickers, chief executive of Ombudsman Services. He said there have been spikes in complaints about fast-growing energy firms that haven’t prepared for rapid growth. Despite reservations from consumers, a new price cap is scheduled to take effect in April, and Mr. Brearley warned customers to expect a further significant rise in gas prices. 

Ofgem has released a new plan for price caps, affecting those on default energy tariffs, where users would be subject to exit fees if they leave early and regulators would set the tariff in the month their contract begins. This practice has been condemned for adding pressure on suppliers leading to many of them collapsing, even though these caps are meant to give customers security in their energy plans.

The giant shakeup from Ofgem is set to come into force as early as January, but fear not as Ofgem and Citizens Advice have outlined on their websites ways you will be protected. When your provider collapses, you may be protected by automatic switchover through Ofgem or they might get the court involved in extreme cases, but you will be informed if this situation arises. Additionally, the introduced price cap is set so if you are automatically switched to a new supplier, your costs are unlikely to increase. 

These measures were put in place by Ofgem to protect buyers in turbulent times as our world moves toward a more sustainable and renewable future. As part of the government’s and energy suppliers’ efforts to protect the general public’s interest, new policies are finally being implemented. More information can be found on Ofgem’s official website and on the Citizen Advice website. 

Utilities challenges for Companies

What utility challenges mean for businesses

Companies have been caught between a rock and a hard place in recent times with the increasingly worrying energy crisis and the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. The government has recently paid out £1 Billion to businesses across the country to help protect them from further restrictions and low footfall due to high omicron case numbers. However, most businesses do not feel that their fair share is enough to help cover increasing utility costs. 

Annamarie Andrew, a publican, said the £6,000 one-off payment to businesses “won’t even cover my utilities for a month”.

Highlighting the necessity of government help and guidance to companies up and down the UK. 

Despite this, Boris Johnson has announced that he plans to increase National Insurance in 2022, meaning that already struggling companies will be hit with more price increases throughout 2022. 

In response to soaring wholesale prices that are driving dozens of energy companies out of business, Energy UK is calling on the government to intervene to help reduce bills. They have met with the government and have dealt with the high demands of concerned customers who are still uncertain of the nature of the energy crisis. 

The wholesale price of gas has quadrupled since January, and the price of electricity has more than tripled. Which we imagine has caused reasonable distress for homeowners and business owners alike. By April 2022, wholesale energy prices could increase by 50% more, and we will continue to offer support to our customers throughout the year as we gather more information about the escalating disaster. 

What this means for you and your company is there will be rising costs to your energy bills, in and out of your home meaning your business will be affected as well. Energy UK is committed to meeting with the government to make sure no one misses out. In addition, there are tireless efforts being made by service providers who want to help offer support for companies since the government is helping less and less.

Since we are advocators for green energy, we believe the best way to solve this issue is by switching to renewable energy, eliminating the need for outdated gas resources. Gas has been the biggest contributor to the energy crisis as most of the finite resources are controlled by a select few companies, such as those in Russia. With those in Europe confronting the current crisis, the resource makes up a fifth of the continent’s power supply. 

President Vladamir Putin has faced criticism from European politicians for limiting gas supplies to pressure the continent to approve a new gas pipeline, however, this is not proven.

Due to this speculation, it is likely the gas supply chain is to be blamed for the current predicament Europe has found itself in. However, it is believed that the UK uses more gas than coal, so the transition may still take some time. But we want to reassure companies of big and small alike that the transition to green energy is taking place, and that the problem shouldn’t last for decades. 

No matter if you run your business from home or have a commercial property on a business tariff, your energy bills will likely increase in the coming months.

Our experts understand the turbulent nature of the energy market and the utilities businesses heavily rely on. 

Unfortunately, the biggest contributor to company struggles regarding their utility bills is the pandemic, exacerbating issues such as staff shortages and little to no relief from the government as stay-at-home mandates dominated the 2020 working environment. 

Since the need for more office space is competing with people’s homes, many businesses have had to make tough decisions or face bankruptcy in the last two years. The added pressure of the energy crisis and the uncertainty of the latest case numbers are showing that many enterprises are facing more issues yet again. This is also due to the increase in lack of funding from the government as they try to navigate a pandemic-free society, despite the fact we are not out of the woods yet. 

Other sectors such as the travel industry have taken a lot of the brunt of the pandemic’s issues with being less environmentally friendly than other sectors, while trying to navigate many different COVID-19 restrictions in various countries, they also experience staff shortages and revenue losses.

It is no surprise that many industries and businesses are going through a hard time at the moment, we want to reassure you that you can get the help you need to keep your energy bills down.

What we can do to help?

There are a number of services we can provide for your business from our experts that can help you navigate this difficult period for running your company and its utilities. With our recommendations, you will have the assurance that your energy supplier will not go out of business, contrary to some other companies we’ve witnessed go out of business in recent months. 

We can offer you companies that mostly use renewable energy as we understand the importance of keeping on top of your energy sources and knowing where they come from has never been so vital. The providers we suggest and compare against each other usually have tariffs and billing to suit your needs, as we know many businesses pay excess on their bills, an issue we want to fix for you. 

Whatever issues you are facing as a commercial or industrial business owner, we want to keep you informed on any changes to your utility bills. We will continue to use our industry expertise to offer you guidance and the best deals meaning you will not have to worry about your utility bills. 

Facts and figures are from https://ig.ft.com/europes-gas-crisis-pipelines-explainer/ 

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