James Summerbell: Buying energy, the right way

18 July 2017

So far in our blogs, several of my colleagues have revealed some interesting insights into their personal lives. So, I thought I'd better continue that theme.

I'm a big fan of Monty Python and, in particular, The Life of Brian. If there's a more quotable film out there I'm not aware of it. My favourite scene, coincidentally of course, is where Brian is desperately avoiding trying to haggle for a Gourd (a jar to you and me). Michael Palin's market seller just will not accept that Brian is prepared to pay the first price without haggling. What ensues is a painful, yet side splitting narrative on the art of haggling.

In many ways, it reminds me of the energy sector. Many organisations we come across have, far too often, accepted the first price they have been offered without thinking that they can secure a better deal with negotiation and a knowledge of how the industry works. At Utility Aid, transparency is a mantra we live by. Ensuring our customers get the very best deal for them is how we operate, it's our business model. We ensure all our clients understand all parts of the market.

It’s why we have a number of different pricing structures that mean no matter what size a business is, and how much energy it consumes, they can be confident they are on the best payment plan for them.

A Fixed Price Strategy sees a business's total requirement for energy purchased in one single transaction, guaranteeing the price for the duration of the contract. Its largest benefit is for a business's cash flow, providing the certain knowledge of what you will pay without the concern of fluctuations.

The Market Trigger Strategy splits your energy consumption into blocks, typically for six or 12 months. When you sign the contract, you chose the percentage you pay (usually 50% or 75%) and the purchasing of the remaining energy is determined by the movement of energy prices. Businesses can then hopefully take advantage of lower prices or, worst case scenario, a limit is set to purchase the remainder before prices go above a certain level.

A Portfolio Managed Strategy allows organisations that don't have a large energy consumption the ability to access wholesale markets. We place a number of clients collectively into the portfolio to ensure we have the volume required to access wholesale markets. This approach spreads the pricing risk by making multiple purchases during the term of the contract, providing a reflective market price each and every month.

Finally, we offer a truly bespoke service. We help your organisation understand the products in the market place and then work with you to identify the most relevant to your needs. This considers your appetite for risk on price movement as well as the need for some degree of budget certainty.

This transparent approach to energy sourcing and consumption is something we are very proud of and that we are evangelical about. Of course, we're not claiming to be the messiahs of our industry, that would be arrogant. But we are certainly not naughty boys.

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