BGB boss urges firms to take control of energy use

  The UK leaving the EU brings opportunities for businesses and is a call to action to take control of their energy use. That’s the view of Gab Barbaro, MD […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha
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The UK leaving the EU brings opportunities for businesses and is a call to action to take control of their energy use.

That’s the view of Gab Barbaro, MD of British Gas Business (BGB), who believes Brexit is short term “just as the financial market in 2009 was a short term incident”.

Speaking to ELN at the Energy Live 2016 conference, he said: “Clearly a lot of people are in shock. However I think this is a call to action for businesses because whilst in the short term, people will be asking a lot of questions, it has raised the uncertainty, you need to look at it that it’s a call to action to take control of what you can control.

“What you can control is the amount of energy you use, how you use it and if you’re able to do that, there’s significant savings to be had and money to be made out of the energy industry.”

He added a lot of people, especially large industrial and commercial customers, are focused on price.

Mr Barbaro said: “In reality, commodity cycles go up and down, you can’t predict it. All you can do is try to hedge it, you can’t control them.

“What you can control is the amount of energy you use. What you can control is what you invest in – whether you upgrade your CHP, your backup generation, whether you put it new lighting, whether you put in a new building management system, whether you optimise your property portfolio – that you can control. In fact, that provides you with a 20% benefit versus the 1% or 2% of margin you might make by helping with your energy prices.”

The BGB boss believes there’s been a bigger impact on energy prices because of nuclear shut downs in France and constraints on the interconnector than Brexit.

He said parent company Centrica is transforming itself to help make the grid smarter, with customers having the ability to not only generate energy locally but also export to the grid.

The head of SSE believes consumers want more control of their energy and suppliers must be able to deliver that.