Get more from your supplier, questions to ask at your next tender…

With procurement of energy becoming ever more complex and fraught with risk you need to be an “intelligent client” when the time comes to go out to tender for your energy supplier.

The more questions which are asked and resolved ahead of placing the contract the less problems, and more benefits, you’ll experience from working with your supplier.

Here are a few hints on what you might want to ask them:

1) How can you help with managing my energy demand and mitigating peak pass-through charges like DUoS?

This is becoming an essential fact of life – pass through charges are growing faster than RPI / CPI and are likely to continue on this track. Who should know more about your demand profile than your supplier…

2) What can you do to help ensure that I receive low- or zero-carbon rated electricity?

Most organisations are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and energy usually forms a significant part of this. Suppliers have access to far more information in this space than the average customer and also have the ability to deliver improvements…

3) How can my supplier help with projecting the future impacts of energy regulation and legislation on my business?

Again, an increasingly important area. With both EU and UK rules changing almost by the week, it’s important to know what’s coming next and what you’ll need to do to maximise benefits and minimise negative impacts for you…

4) Reporting requirements are also becoming more stringent, as well as using a lot of internal resource. What can my supplier do to make this more pain-free?

With the Carbon Reduction Commitment, Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting and new measures like the EU Energy Efficiency Directive all placing demands on energy customers, help from suppliers is vital in ensuring that data accuracy is high, penalties are avoided and reputation is maintained undamaged…

5) Last and probably most important of all, how can my supplier help me ensure that the budgets I put together are accurate, often for 3 years ahead, and what can they do to ensure that I meet them?

Energy budgets are often very large and even small overspends have a devastating impact on businesses – usually with overspends on energy having to be met by unexpected cuts elsewhere. It’s vital that suppliers pass on their astute management of the complexities of the energy market and infrastructure to their customers.

These are just 5 areas where suppliers can make a huge difference to their customers – and not all suppliers are the same. They all potentially have strengths in different areas so it’s really important that you choose one that precisely fits your needs.

Whilst it will always be a contractual relationship it also presents many opportunities to work in partnership with your supplier and look to the long term, where both parties understand, and are flexible enough to accommodate, the other’s ongoing needs and aspirations.

This is definitely an area for working closely together rather than creating conflict.

Posted by Mervyn Bowden, Managing Director at Intuitive Energy Solutions Limited

Mervyn Bowden is the Managing Director of Intuitive Energy Solutions Ltd, a consulting company which works with market leading service providers in the energy sector to help organisations drive reductions in both consumption and cost within their energy and carbon footprints using learnings from many years involvement with energy. Mervyn is a regular and enthusiastic blogger as well as a sought-after chairperson and speaker on the energy conference circuit.