Every client has their own challenges when it comes to us getting the best prices for their electricity and, in an industry riddled with technical jargon, we thought it would be useful to give answers to some of the common questions we’re frequently asked.
Why should I switch supplier?
You don’t always need to change supplier come the end of your contract, but you should always look to renegotiate your rates. If you’re happy with your current provider, then we can renew you back to them. Just like car insurance, if you auto-renew your policy there’s a chance you could be renewed onto higher rates than are available for “new customers”. That’s where we come in. Not only will we look to secure the best rates available from your current supplier, but we’ll be doing the same from every other supplier we work with – and your current supplier knows this. It’s for this reason we can get you the most competitive rates.
How much can I expect to save?
There’s no way of calculating this before we’ve looked at your current contract. To provide an accurate quotation we’d need to understand when your contract is due to end, what you’re currently paying, and how much energy you’re using. Once we have this information we need to look at the type of contract you’re on and whether there’s a type that’s more appropriate. The good news is that we can do all of this relatively quickly. Once we’ve captured the information (usually from your current supplier using a Letter of Authority) we can go to all suppliers and ask them to provide their best options. We would then e-mail this to you in a format that lets you do a side by side comparison of the best deals.
What does it cost to use your service?
We are paid our commission from whichever supplier we contract you with. All suppliers have different commercial agreements but typically we will able to apply an uplift to the base price provided to us by the supplier. The commission we receive will be linked to your consumption and included in the final rate you pay.
Can I cancel my current contract if there are better deals available now?
Unfortunately, not. Once you’ve agreed your contracts you have to see them through. However, because we’re able to price well ahead of time there’s the potential for us to agree your next contract, at today’s rates, locked-in for when your current contract comes to an end. With energy prices only going in one direction that’s a strategy we’re seeing more and more of our customers adopt.
What is a Letter of Authority (LOA) and why do you need one?
A LOA is a document that you sign which provides us with permission to request certain information from your current supplier. Because of Data Protection laws, your current supplier needs to know that we have your permission to request this and the easiest way for us to do this without having to involve you, is to submit the request with a LOA.
The LOA only allows us to request information about various aspects of your current contract such as your end dates, consumptions and current contracted rates. It’s important that you’re aware a LOA does not allow us to amend, cancel, or agree anything on your behalf. It’s purely for collecting the information we need to provide you with a quotation.
What is P272?
The new P272 regulation rules require that energy suppliers use more detailed energy use data, known as half-hourly (HH) consumption data, to calculate customer’s bills using advanced Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) meters. For those customers who already have AMR meters installed, these meters will be utilised and converted into fully compliant Half Hourly meters (HH) automatically. This conversion to half-hourly metering will give you the benefit of a more detailed view of your business energy costs as we retrieve your energy data from your site on a half hourly basis.
Your business is affected by these changes if it is defined as having a 05-08 ‘Maximum Demand’ profile class. This is determined by the type of metering you have installed. The ‘profile class’ was agreed either by your business or when the electricity meter was initially installed at your premises.
If you look at your energy bill you will see your supply number, which will be like this image.
As a business energy customer, you should already have had an AMR meter installed, but don’t worry if you haven’t, contact us on 0191 4661213 (Opening times are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm) and we’ll arrange for the correct meter to be installed at your site(s).
The implementation of P272 means businesses may have better visibility of their own consumption. This means that The Electric Board will be able to offer you new products and services, including tariffs that could offer you lower prices for using energy at a time when it is less expensive.
What is DCP161?
From 1st April 2018, DCP 161 will be in force. DCP 161 is a new measure which has been introduced by Ofgem to ensure that half hourly (HH) supplies that exceed their assigned available capacity pay significantly more. It is a change to the DCUSA (Distribution Connection and Use of System Agreement) that will introduce excess capacity penalties for half hourly electricity supplies. This change will ensure that the additional costs that DNOs (Distribution Network Operators) can incur when customers exceed their available capacity levels are recovered.
Currently, if a supply exceeds its available capacity, other than the charge the supplier adds for the excess kVA at the standard available capacity rate, no penalty is charged. As a result, there has been no incentive for end users to actively review and increase capacity where required. However, with the introduction of DCP 161, users who exceed their capacity will be charged an excess penalty rate which could be up to three times higher than the standard rate. The applicable rates will vary by region and voltage, with costs expected to be higher in areas where there is a higher demand for capacity. Depending on the consumption profile, if the supply regularly exceeds its assigned available capacity, this change could increase overall electricity costs by up to 1-2% or more.
Electricity meters that have been or are due to be converted to HH because of P272, will be settled on the HH market in time for the introduction of DCP 161. To avoid usage exceeding capacity levels it is essential to understand the available capacity and maximum demand levels of these supplies. Any sites that are incurring excess capacity charges will need to agree a revised capacity or take energy saving measures to reduce their maximum demand.
Those who are moving from non-HH to HH meters are slightly vulnerable as they may not know their available capacity and should seek advice to establish the agreed capacity. Also, if you have any supply or capacity contracts due for renewal between now and April 2018, it would be prudent to negotiate your capacity charges, as excess charges will be based on the supplier you choose.
If you want to increase your available capacity or are looking at ways to reduce your energy consumption and avoid excess charges, The Electric Board can help.
Simply call 0191 466 1213 to find out more.
What is DCP228?
As you would expect, the cost of distributing electricity varies at different times of the day depending on the levels of demand. District Network Operators (DNOs) have calculated these costs based on demand levels in their respective regions and have divided the demand levels into coloured time bands – Red, Amber & Green.
Red indicates High demand, Amber indicates Medium demand and Green represents Low demand.
These costs are passed on to end users either through the DUOS (Distribution Use Of System) element of a fixed rate contract, or at cost to end users on a Pass Through contract.
Historically, the costs in the Red time band have been significantly higher than those in the Amber or Green band.
However, it has been determined that the costs of Red zone usage are set too high as they included some elements that were not relevant to DUOS charge calculations. Similarly, Green and Amber charges are too low. This disparity needs to be corrected to limit the unfair impact on end users with high Red zone usage.
Ofgem regulation DCP228 aims to correct this by slightly reducing the surcharge in the Red zone and increasing the surcharge in Green and Amber. The increases in Green and Amber are significant, averaging at 192% in Amber and 2160% in Green and will vary depending on whether a Low Voltage or High Voltage half hourly meter is in place.
Can I reduce my KVA?
Yes, via negotiations with the local supply network company. This is something we’d be happy to help you with.
What is Climate Change Levy (CCL)?
Climate change levy was introduced by the government to help combat the production of greenhouse gasses. The CCL is charged to all companies on their energy bills. The levy is exempt on most Green Energy Plans. The Electric Board can help your company purchase green energy which is CCL exempt.
Why choose Green Energy?
When customers contract for green energy they know their company is doing its bit towards combating climate change. With the increase of public awareness in climate change contracting for green energy can become a very good marketing tool for businesses. Most green energy is also Climate Change Levy Exempt and so will often work out cost neutral for companies
Why would I work with a broker based in Newcastle upon Tyne?
Newcastle is one of the largest and most economically important English cities outside of London and is a member of Core Cities Group. We have a highly educated and flexible workforce who value employment and relish the opportunity for personal development. The decline of traditional industries in the North East paved the way for today’s service economy of which we are a part of. We keep our overheads low and we’ll diligently apply our expertise on your behalf.