I know, on a par with the primary energy suppliers, TPIs have had their share of bad press which has unfortunately pervaded the industry over recent years.
As Chairman of the Judges for The Energy Live Consultancy Award (TELCA) for the third successive year, I have a different view to many out there who are so quick to criticise the diverse range of highly professional companies.
From reading numerous entries as part of the judging process, I strongly take the view the vast majority of the companies operating in this sector aren’t in for a fast buck, they are genuinely in it to provide a robust and ongoing service to their customers, growing their business and employing more staff in the process.
This often involves challenging the status quo, providing innovative ideas and acting on them in a constantly changing and highly competitive environment. It also involves educating the energy community, including regulators and government, about how we can become “leaner, meaner and greener”, what the issues and problems are and proposing solutions from a strong knowledge base.
What would we do without them?
Let’s face it – the majority of companies in the UK don’t have sufficient internal expertise to adequately deal with the challenges when it comes to managing energy usage and cost.
Even very large companies struggle with this and require a cost-effective, extremely well-informed and constantly on-the-ball range of advisors to ensure they achieve maximum efficiency.
Developing long-term relationships with TPIs, who can ultimately save serious amounts of money through intelligent procurement and schemes such as ESOS, can be a major contributor to not only profitability but also help provide reputational value in terms of being seen as an efficient and informed operator.
Would you trust them?
This is clearly, not wishing to duck the question, a point for the regulators, especially with the TPI Code of Conduct looming. But again, why are TPIs constantly singled out against any other type of business supplier?
From a client procurement perspective surely you’d go through a due diligence process before signing up and ask the right questions? Codes of Conduct may help in some instances but ultimately this is about two-way relationships between TPIs and their customers.
After many years of dealing with TPIs, I can honestly say they help clients save money through industry knowledge, supplier relationships and hard-nosed challenging of costs at all levels. Many have retained customers for very long periods and won additional business on the back of their excellent service and investment in new technologies.
Of most importance, demonstrated across a high percentage of entries to the TELCAs, are the people who work for the TPIs. As always in a service environment they make or break companies with knowledge, commitment and dedication to looking after their customers. Importantly, the TPI sector is a really important source of challenging and secure employment for many and is set to grow further with the importance of intergrated Business Information Management.
In most cases the winners of these awards will have done so by quite fine margins – but that illustrates the very high standards of professionalism and keenness to please customers which are the norm rather than the exception.
Recognition is an important factor in business success – everyone deserves a pat on the back for a job well done. The TELCAs are a great way of publicly delivering that pat on the back!
Mervyn Bowden is the Managing Director of Intuitive Energy Solutions Ltd.