By Beth Williams
It is an easy thing to forget about your utilities or put them to one side when you are busy trying to run a successful business and manage all of your employees amongst other things, you just might not have the time personally to deal with the all of the different suppliers and the extensive range of deals and types of contracts they offer. Your utilities are very important and shouldn’t be forgotten about or put on the backburner though, in a moment you might think it is just easier to go with any supplier as long as you get your water and energy to run your business. But when your monthly or quarterly utility bills come through the door you might look back at your bills at the heart-wrenching amount that you have to pay and regret not shopping around and searching for a better deal.
If you don’t have to time to manage your business’s energy yourself, and don’t have the resources to train one of your existing employees manage it either as you can’t finance an in house consultant, then you should consider hiring an expert consultant to take all of that work off your hands. If you have never hired a third party to act on your behalf as your energy consultant before it can seem as much of a minefield as choosing energy suppliers, rates, and tariffs, but it really isn’t. Here are a few things you should look out for to ensure that the consultants that you are considering are reputable.
- Whether they have relationships with and offer contracts with a wide range of different suppliers. If they don’t have a partnership with only one or two different suppliers it means that they will be able to offer you 100% impartial advice on all rates and tariffs from lots of different suppliers because they aren’t loyal to any one company and aren’t working on commission.
- An up to date website with lots of positive testimonials from a range of different industries is essential to ensure that they are not only professional because they update their website, but that they are trustworthy and are known for doing a good job. You can even ask them if you are able to speak to any of their current clients to get a reference of their work from a genuine client.
- Make sure they don’t try to offer you any instant prices, and before they even send you any quotes they should do a full check on all of your previous energy and water consumption so they can find a tariff and price that is perfect for and suits your business’s energy needs.
- They should allow you to request to receive any quotes in writing if they haven’t already done so, and they should also request a letter of authority to act as your consultant when dealing and negotiating with all of the different suppliers.
Benefits and How They Can Save You Money
The difference between a consultant and a broker in the energy industry is that one works for commission from suppliers that they work with and one doesn’t, and the consultants are those who don’t. As consultants are not being swayed and biased by their monetary satisfaction from brokering deals with suppliers they are there to offer you completely impartial and independent advice unlike the brokers, both in the first instance when you initial contact them regarding your business energy and ongoing if you decide to hire them as your consultant long term.
Every energy consultant is there to make sure you get the best deal and are on the right tariff for your energy requirements, but they are also there to give advice on your consumption, so they regularly analyse your energy and water usage. This analysis allows you to review and take a look at your current energy demands to understand if you can make any cutbacks in certain areas to reduce your utility spend. An energy consultant should also be able to show you a comparison of your utilities against other similar businesses, similarly to your consumption analysis this comparison can help you to see what you can do to reduce the amount of energy that you use to help not only your pocket but the environment too.
In addition to dealing with suppliers and advising you on your energy consumption and energy consultant also makes sure you stay compliant with all of the necessary industry regulations too. They make it so that you don’t have to stay up to date with all of the many, constantly changing and updating legislation and standards that to you may seem confusing, after all they are the experts, have a great understanding of the industry, and bring their comprehensive expertise to the table to manage everything related to your utilities effectively and efficiently. It is their priority to make sure that your business is adhering to all industry rules so that you don’t get caught out and have to suffer any fines.
They also take care of other little things that you might not have thought of, for example, they make sure that you are paying the correct amount each month as they constantly monitor your agreed rate against the utility bills that you receive. They will check your actual meter readings and usage against what the supplier says you are using and ensure that you’re being charged the correct rate.
Beth Williams is a freelance marketing manager and is currently working with CUB, an Energy Consultancy Company based in the UK that provide a range of energy services to B2B clients including water audit services and advice on renewables and smart metering.