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Resolutions that can pay dividends Monday 7 January is supposed to be the day that most people give up on their personal New Year’s resolutions. Yet for those of us […]

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By Geoff Curran

Resolutions that can pay dividends

Monday 7 January is supposed to be the day that most people give up on their personal New Year’s resolutions. Yet for those of us heading back to work after the festive break, now’s the ideal time to consider some professional resolutions for the year ahead. Here are some of my suggestions for energy management.

1. Be prepared to be flexible. When you are buying energy in a volatile market, locking in to a fixed deal can be risky. The most sensible approach is to spread your risk over multiple purchasing decisions throughout each year. But if you’re new to buying direct on the wholesale market, this can be a daunting prospect. Thankfully there are now products that can provide expert support and guidance to help you make the transition from a fixed to a flexible contract.

2. Get the full picture. I often hear frustration expressed by energy managers who have complex portfolios to manage yet find it challenging to get accurate and timely consumption data. My suggestion is to install automated meter reading to help you keep track of any non-half-hourly sites, then invest in some energy management software that will steam this data, along with half-hourly consumption, to give you an overall picture. If your software can also compare performance across sites and allow you to set efficiency targets, so much the better.

3. Put your assets to work. If you have any on-site generation capacity (for example standby generations or CHP plant), then you could generate income by making it available at times of stress on the National Grid. Businesses can now become part of the solution to balancing UK energy demand and can earn revenues of around £100,000 for a medium-sized industrial unit. For more, check out SmartSTOR at

4. Think bigger when it comes to savings. You’re probably already embracing energy efficiency measures within your organisation, but consider the merits of a more extensive audit to pinpoint where investment could bring bigger savings. Funding could be available via a Carbon Trust grant or the new Green Deal, so there’s never been a better time to explore how upgrading systems or equipment could deliver often significant cost benefits.

5. Embrace new ways of thinking. By trialling new ideas, technology or techniques, you can open the door to potential future solutions. One of our large retail customers, for example, holds a regular event where companies with innovative approaches to sustainability are invited to present their ideas. At npower, we run schemes to encourage staff to think about their working environment and suggest new ways to increase efficiency and reduce waste. Our recent Pole to Pole challenge for example, rewarded two winners with a trip on this year’s 2041 International Antarctic Expedition to learn about sustainability with the pioneer explore Robert Swan.

You can find out more about these topics at, including our award-winning Taking Control risk management products for energy buyers. You may also like to check out our #EnergyPledge campaign on Twitter, where we’ll shortly begin tweeting some of our key resolutions for the year – and asking you to do the same. There’s nothing like going public to make a resolution stick!

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