Targeted Charges delay and help for Energy Managers

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Scanned whilst home alone… 

The last time I sat and put fingertips to keyboard, the world was a very different place. We worked in offices, met friends in person and toilet roll had not yet become a tradable commodity.

Now that’s all changed, and I feel like a terrible person. It wasn’t too many weeks ago when I exclaimed to a friend that I just wanted the world to stop. To slow down for a while; let me catch up on things.

Words are powerful and we should be careful what we wish for, but I never wished for a global pandemic.

The current situation certainly presents some challenges, not least for businesses that are unable to trade at the moment which is why every energy manager should be keeping tabs on the discussions between BEIS and Energy UK to see whether they can provide loans for homeowners and businesses struggling with energy bills.

A representative from Energy UK spoke to my team and confirmed that the talks do encompass non-domestic supplies so we will be checking in regularly and reporting back.

Ofwat already beat them to it, announcing measures to protect business water consumers. A change to the Central Market Operating System means that sites which have closed due to coronavirus can be marked in the industry database as “vacant” and avoid accruing charges.

This is a temporary change until the end of June and SPIDs will be reset as “live” two months after that date (i.e. by end August) unless the Water Authority gives further direction. Mindful of the retailers, Ofwat has also approved partial deferment of payment by retailers to the wholesalers, in an effort to protect the water market.

Of course, if you are closing sites, this presents a great opportunity to check for water leaks and areas where power and gas consumption is not reflecting what you believe your Building Management System is controlling. Especially in times of economy, identifying anomalous consumption is a very prudent activity.

Energy Managers to the rescue!

If you would like assistance with out of hours profile alerts, get in touch – ICON can’t offer this, but we know some good companies who do.

It’s not just business demand profiles that are different right now, things have changed across the whole country. Elexon – the company that looks after system balancing – held discussions last week on how to handle the sudden shift in consumption patterns as we work from home. They’ve decided against reprofiling the Profile Classes for electricity (for now, at least) but have stated that data quality checks are being relaxed, which could have implications for metering if this situation lasts.

On the subject of non-commodities – and a little relief – the changes to Transmission Demand Residual charges that were due to come into effect next April have now been pushed back a year.

This means both the distribution and transmission charges will change to the banded structure on 1st April 2022.

Participants in the EU ETS have also been calling for a deadline extension, but this was rejected last week by the European Commission.

The carbon allowance surrender date of 30th April will stand, although good news for any business that missed the 30th March reporting deadline because they are struggling to find a verifier – “conservative estimates” will be accepted provided these are submitted by the end of April.

This is speculation, but ICON believes this decision was taken, not to make energy managers’ lives harder, but to keep the carbon markets operating effectively. Money may not make the world go around, but it sure needs to stay in circulation.

Of course, when working from home, thoughts shift to personal budgets and home energy efficiency.

In Warwick last week, the council cancelled a referendum to introduce a local Climate Levy through the council tax bills. And in Scotland, energy efficiency legislation for Private Rented Housing has been put on hold.

The new standards were due to come into effect from 1st October.

Scottish MPs are also calling for fairer energy costs as residents in the Highlands pay the highest average unit price.

I guess the Assistance for Areas with High Electricity Distribution Costs isn’t working. Does that mean another line item on the bill needs to go up?

The people that will know are National Grid ESO. They published two reports last week – a Forward Plan and an interim update from the Future Energy Scenarios team. This identified that the biggest challenge to meeting Net Zero will be delivering electricity to meet peak heat demand as domestic heating becomes electrified.

Is this a good opportunity to update your Carbon Management Programme and rethink the heating strategy? I’m sure the CHP manufacturers would say so!

The nation overall is doing quite well against our Carbon Reduction plans. The latest stats have been published and emissions in 2018 were down 2% on the previous year and a massive 43% below the 1990 baseline.

We have now met the first two Carbon Budgets.

Most of the reduction comes from the energy sector where emissions are now 62% lower than in 1990 (pause to give the industry a clap).

Transport however remains our biggest challenge, representing 28% of total emissions.

The clear air across Europe right now shows what a difference it makes when road transport is restricted. However, the Foreign Affairs Committee has suggested that the COP26 Climate Change Summit, scheduled to take place in November, should be postponed.

Personally, I think now Boris has got the hang of working from home, he should be teaching his environmental staff how to video-conference.

Protecting the health of our nation is crucial.

Protecting the health of our planet should be afforded, if not the same urgency, then at least the same importance.

Before I go, let’s end on a happy note. If you’re looking for new ways to keep entertained, how about a virtual trip to the zoo?

This link lists all the UK and Irish zoos we know of with livestream cameras. I could get used to watching the monkeys at lunchtime!

Take care and stay safe,
George

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