Guest Blog: Jon Ferris – Get to grips with the energy universe

As the last few years have seen energy consumers bombarded by a myriad of disparate and seemingly unco-ordinated regulations and schemes, it begs the question; can your business afford not […]

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By ELN reporter

As the last few years have seen energy consumers bombarded by a myriad of disparate and seemingly unco-ordinated regulations and schemes, it begs the question; can your business afford not to take a strategic approach to utility management?

The schemes currently in your orbit range from:

> support for generators in addition to wholesale prices – RO, CFD, CM
> taxing carbon in energy generation – EU ETS, Carbon Price Floor, CCL
> penalties for inefficient use of energy – CRC, ESOS
> moves to make consumer costs more reflective of short-term system costs – P272, EBSCR
> incentives for demand response – EDR, DSBR, TA

In some cases, the complexity of the schemes can be close to rocket science and even industry professionals can struggle to keep up!

The galaxy of schemes and jargon cloaks the true scale of the change and challenge to end users. While adjusting policies over time is to be expected, some have been taken so off course they are almost in the next solar system and bear little resemblance to the policy as it was originally introduced.

To compound the issue the schemes can appear totally unco-ordinated. They have been initiated and implemented via many different agencies DECC, EA, Ofgem, National Grid, EU and even within agency co-ordination appears lacking as definitions and applicability rules are not fully consistent.

While some schemes simply increase the cost to businesses, the costs of compliance are not just financial. The time and effort to set up multiple systems, employ experts to understand them and to source and monitor often the same data can prove overly onerous.

The level of cost is partly a result of addressing issues individually when much of the work may already be duplicated elsewhere. And yet the business response does not have to be piecemeal, even when being pushed to focus on the issue of the day. Last month it was ESOS, this month it is P272.

Regardless of the specific policies of any government, technological change is driving the direction of travel. More volatile prices, higher delivered costs, greater scope for energy efficiency and demand management, all need to be better aligned with energy procurement. Too often energy procurement and energy management are flying off in separate directions. A more strategic, joined up approach would deliver more benefit, bring co-ordination to the confusion, and stop you crashing into planet-sized problems.

Whilst you could carry on addressing each issue individually, we would recommend you reach for the stars and develop a co-ordinated approach through a Strategic Utility Management Plan.

At Energy Live 2015, we’ll not only explain the issues but also place them into the wider context of the evolving industry universe. We’ll address; how we got to where we are, where the industry is heading, and show you how a strategic approach can enable your business to successfully harness developing technologies and warp towards galaxies of savings.

So why not gravitate to the Utilitywise session – “The Energy Universe Explained” in the Yellow Zone at 11.30am. In a single session, you will discover the key challenges and jargon you face and how to take control to positively impact your bottom line and carbon footprint.

Jon Ferris is the Head of Energy Markets at Utilitywise.

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