Silver Lining To Power Crisis Risk
The wholesale or spot price for electricity is five times greater than this time last year, and the crisis is likely to continue until September. But this could mean cheaper power for businesses able to bring forward maintenance or save electricity just now, advises the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).
The association is recommending its members talk turkey with their power retailer.
"Certain power retailers want to make their customers an offer they won't want to refuse," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.
"They're offering attractive cash rebates for every unit of power you save.
"They want to talk to small and large electricity users. Larger users may be in a position to bring forward routine maintenance, or temporarily shut down some item of equipment. It could be made well worth their while to do so.
"Mercury Energy's current offer to residents and small commercial customers is only one example. Mercury is offering five cents a unit credit where the daily power usage in July and August is less than their daily usage in May and June.
"They aren't doing this for other than sound commercial reasons. Because the wholesale cost of electricity to them is far more than what they can sell it for, since they are contracted to sell a lot of it at a given rate, it is costing more money to sell power than if they didn't sell it.
"They want to extend their offer to larger users.
"Users can benefit if they can use less electricity; they will save money and get paid for saving it. This could have an additional benefit of helping lower the wholesale price if the lakes do not quickly start to refill.
"Either way, being extremely careful with electricity use over the next two months is going to be rewarding.
"The risks to business are enormous when power prices spike exceptionally at a time when businesses are having to renew their supply contracts with power retailers. The options are 'take it or leave it.'
"EMA is investigating what further changes may be needed to achieve a competitively balanced electricity market."