Thursday, 15 March 2018

Is the National Grid running out of juice?

With the recent hit of the 'Beast from the East', and the small bursts of cold weather since, questions have been raised as to whether or not the National Grid is prepared. As temperatures drop the instinct is to crank up the heating to keep warm, but can our supplies keep up?

The question pops up every year, if not mulitple times a year, but this year the Grid was hit with infrastructure problems around the same time as the cold snap which put extra pressure on an already stretched system.

Our largest gas storage system in the UK, Rough, requires maintenance. Gas prices aren't as high as they once were, which means that the repairs were looking costly and the decision has been made to close it down. It was due to supply the last bulk of gas to the UK during the 'Beat from the East' but the cold temperatures actually caused a fault in the system.

Shortly thereafter, South Hook also suffered problems. South Hook is the UK's largest LNG (liquified natural gas) plant. This, in addition to three power stations being out for most of the day, caused the UK to go back to coal powered energy for the most part of the 24 hour problems.

Energy experts have been monitoring this situation for a long time, which is why we didn't suffer any shortage of power through the bitterly cold weather. We have an agreement in place that allows us to import energy when we need it and peaks costs over short periods of time when extra supply is really needed.

We also saw a lot of the extra energy being picked up by wind turbines over the snowy weekend, with nuclear power being the fourth in line to provide the power.

The best way to ensure that your house is kept warm during future cold spells is to take the time and make sure that it is adequately insulated. An advantage of this then means that you don't need to put the heating on as high, you'll get warmth that lasts longer by using less power. It will be an investment at first, but you'll find the savings appear in the long term.

Friday, 9 March 2018

March's Top Five Energy Deals

Which? have published its monthly update of the best energy deals out there this month.

Now that we've all made it through to the other side of 'The Beast from The East', we hope you've done your monthly meter reading - and the chances are you may have gotten a bit of a shock from the amount that you spent. Days at home blasting the heating sure do add up!

You might now be wondering if perhaps it wouldn't be so high if only you'd switched suppliers, so what are the best deals out there for domestic customers this month? These are annual costs, based on a series of averages and a monthly direct debit.

  1. £807 - Outfox the Market
    Zapp! December tariff medium - paperless
    Variable tariff with no exit fees
  2. £816 - Outfox the Market
    Whack! January tariff medium - paperless
    Fixed 18 month tariff with £50 exit fee per fuel
  3. £826 - Usio Energy Supply
    Lite 0.1 - paperless
    One year variable tariff with no exit fee
  4. £826 - Usio Energy Supply
    Home after 7pm Green 0.5 - paperless
    Variable tariff for smart meter customers only, with no exit fees
  5. £831 - Breeze Energy
    Fixed Saver 2018 - paperless
    One year fixed tariff with no exit fee
As appeared on the Which? blog.

For free and impartial advice on your business' energy spend, and to find out which tariff is best for you, call 0800 915 1800 and speak to one of our energy gurus today. Alternatively, visit and fill in our comparison form.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Saving money in a cold snap

The 'Beast from the East' has arrived on UK soil. Whether you're prepared or not, there's a few things to keep in mind with the cold front on our doorsteps.

First thing's first - what is it?

The current cold snap is what's known as a polar vortex. It's cold air that sits above the north and south poles and is controlled by low pressure, moving in different directions depending on which pole it is at. This weather has come over to us from Russia, with Siberian winds.

How can I keep warm?

Jumpers, and lots of them! Other than the obvious layering up, try and make sure any gloves aren't woollen where you're using your hands a lot outside. You may have seen when deicing the car that the ice sticks to the wool, this means that it then melts and makes your fingers even colder - there's a reason ski gloves aren't knitted.

Should I blast the heating in short bursts, or keep it low?

The verdict is always out on this one, some believe that keeping the heating on low all the time is more efficient, and others believe you should only have it on a little before you need it and only a little after it's reached the desired temperature. While there's no ultimate answer, having the heating on low does mean that everything is circulating through the pipes and there's less chance of the system freezing.

Be draught proof

It doesn't need to cost a fortune to prepare the house - padded strips can be bought from DIY stores at little to no cost; line your doorframes and block out any unwated chilly breezes. If you're not using your open fireplace then consider getting it temporarily filled so that no warmth escapes up the chimney, and no cold breezes come down! 

Check in on your neighbours

The cold is difficult for everyone, but particularly elderly neighbours, if you have anyone vulnerable living in your neighbourhood then consider dropping in and saying hi. It doesn't need to be a massive gesture taking up your entire evening, but pop in and make sure they have anything they might need. A good deed makes everyone feel better.

Be prepared for the energy bills

If there's any costs you can cut back on during this time, then do because your heating bill is going to rise. Consider the little things like making your own coffee to take to work (and keep your hands warm), have a packed lunch, plan your food shop with similar ingredients - your bank account will thank you later, even if you have to be a little boring for a couple of weeks.

If you have any questions regarding the price of your energy bill, or if you want to know if you could be saving money by switching to someone else then give us a call on 0800 915 1800 and speak to one of our impartial gurus. Visit for more information.