Power cuts to effect UK business?

It is not the first warning, for sale but last month Ofcom once again highlighted the increasing risk of power cuts in 2015. As we become more reliant on technology in our personal and business lives, what is ed the demand for energy to power our lives is increasing dramatically. At present there is a sufficient buffer between demand and supply, but predictions suggest that this differentiation could be as low as 2% by the middle of the decade, so at times of higher demand there is a risk of outages.

Domestic power cuts are a major inconvenience, especially during cold winter months, when higher risk families such as the elderly are more likely to suffer without heating. National Grid has stated that they would cut power to businesses and industry before domestic clients, so what is the risk to our business energy supplies and is there any solution?

Industrial representatives have warned of the seriously damaging effects for the larger energy consuming businesses. There have been discussions about managed incentives to pay larger businesses to switch their power off at core times, such as evenings, so the rate of demand is reduced and businesses rewarded. The response from business is that for the highest users, switching off power is not a case of clicking a switch. It is a complex process that can take hours, in some cases days, and that degree of downtime could lead to losses of millions of pounds. At a time when the UK needs to see growth to move out of the recession, this could be devastating to the country as a whole.

As pressure mounts to find solutions that reduce the extent of this problem, it could be that we see other incentives being discussed to encourage and reward energy efficiency in business. It is possible for more companies to reduce their energy use, but without incentives, it is not a priority for most. The advantage of undertaking measures such as a business energy bill audit now is that in most cases savings can be made without a cost. By reducing energy bills, profits can increase.

Whilst looking at ways to decrease the levels of demand, the energy companies and Department of Energy and Climate Change are looking at what realistic options are available to increase supply. There are disused power stations that are currently not profitable, but with investment and the installation of new equipment to reduce emissions, some of these could be re-instated.

Fracking (discussed in my May blog: https://www.utel-audits.com/energy/could-fracking-lead-to-cheaper-business-energy-bills/) is another option, as is the option to build significantly more alternative energy or nuclear power stations, however, these are all longer term solutions that would not be in place for 2015. All of these options have benefits, but also strong opposition, so decisions are not easy to make and gain support for. There is also the option to import more gas from abroad, which may be one of the more realistic short term options, however increased reliance on imported gas is more expensive and less reliable.

The fact is that our current demands for energy, in both our personal lives and businesses is very close to exceeding the resources available to generate this power. If we want to continue to be able to click a switch to power our homes and industries, we each need to look at where we can make small changes to lower energy use.

If you would like a business energy bill audit, contact Utel Audits today on 01442 832034. We will find you savings, or you don’t pay for our services, so there is no reason not to get in touch!

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