Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
How can you help us reduce costs?
Our emphasis is on delivering long term strategic benefits to customers, not just the best prices for energy supply. The process we work through with our clients to meet their needs is the best method for securing the most beneficial contract terms.
The procedure can be summarised as follows:
- Energy audit, working from existing bills, establishing consumption patterns.
- Reviewing the market and conducting a risk analysis.
- Defining the energy requirement for the new gas or electricity contract.
- Strategic procurement through market exposure and negotiation with suppliers.
- Securing contracts on the most favourable terms, adopting the preferred structure for fixed and variable pricing selected by the client.
- Performance reporting and monitoring, including smart metering and energy management.
Customers benefit from reduced costs, less risk and having the flexibility to select the contract structure that most closely meets their needs. While obtaining low prices is the headline objective, securing the best terms offers the best package of benefits to our clients.
What makes Nationwide Utilities unique?
Bespoke - There is nothing standard about our customers, the only commonality is the requirement for energy to be supplied on good terms. There is no task too big or small for our team to handle, while our objective is to make the energy procurement and management process as simple as possible for the client to manage and make decisions about the most favourable option. As many organisations will have an energy procurement partner or team, our services can be used in part or as well a whole to deliver the package of support services required.
Skilled personnel - Our company has a hands-on approach to management and our directors are frequently involved in procurement negotiations and problem-resolution directly with suppliers. We share market knowledge with our customers in the same way we do with each other. Our team have a diverse and multidisciplinary range of skills that allows all of us to take accountability for the service we deliver to our customers.
Technology - We host and develop the technical delivery of all our solutions, enabling us to deal with a range of complex situations that can arise in energy markets between customers and suppliers. All our voice communications are recorded over VOIP networks, our email records date back 10 years, all our inbound faxes are received via email in PDF format, important paper documents and contracts are scanned in-house, and our computer systems run virus free Apple systems.
Thinking outside the box - 'No' is not an option. As suppliers can use this word quite often, we no longer ask questions that generate 'yes or no' responses. The challenge for us is to avoid the problem arising in the first place, or to resolve early signs of difficulties arising, so that the problem is tacked before it even exists. This requires a pro-active and forward thinking approach to energy management, alongside continuous development of service delivery options for our customers. Some of our most valued customers are low consumers of energy, in both relative and absolute terms. We encourage and promote innovation on both the contractual and technological sides, and this inspires us to become ever better at what we do as a business, and the specialisms on which we focus.
Negotiation - We do not operate a standalone quotation service for customers. We do not seek to win business purely on energy unit costs. A customer or energy consultant can obtain prices directly from suppliers however this is not the same as negotiating the most favourable terms to meet customer needs, and specific requirements, in any sense of the word. Prices rise and fall and in certain market conditions some suppliers will appear to be offering better prices than others, but without the full picture, it is not possible in a volatile market to know the implications of these price offerings, where there are so many pitfalls and issues to check before entering into a contact. Knowing which suppliers to approach, when and how are vital to obtaining 'below the curve' prices, that are below market norms.
BSI 15001 - We are proud to be the UK's first energy broker to obtain the 15001 Energy Management Systems Certification. Through this process we have learned how to deliver real energy management systems and processes delivering tangible measurable savings. These certifications form part of our service delivery to customers and combined with the latest energy monitoring systems, will ensure customers can meet the energy reduction targets that may be set internally, or imposed from external Carbon Reduction Commitment obligations.
Which energy supplier would you recommend?
There is no 'one supplier fits all' response to this, as the answer depends on how much energy you consume, in what part of the country you are based and precisely when (in relation to market cycles) the question is asked. For organisations with sites in multiple locations and with varying patterns of energy consumption, the question is almost impossible to answer without obtaining portfolio quotations and assessing a range of permutations.
Even though Nationwide Utilities is fully independent of energy suppliers, this does not mean that we always have to be completely impartial without giving any form of steer or direction. We would prefer it if the reputable well known suppliers were the most competitive and we will usually provide existing providers with the opportunity to retain their customer before migrating to a new source. Of course, there are cases where the existing supplier has a poor track record either with the customer directly, or with us specifically or within the industry generally.
The direct answer to the question as to which is the best supplier to go with is to recognise the preferred position of any supplier who provides genuinely competitive prices, offers a competent level of billing and service, is financially stable and well established and does not always place profits above the needs of their customers. We believe access to energy is a right not a privilege. While the best suppliers carefully balance the need to be profitable with the requirement for good housekeeping and the need to be ethical and environmentally responsible in conducting their business.
Why would Nationwide Utilities provide better value than our current broker?
To answer this question the first action is to review and assess the services you are currently receiving from your current energy consultant, to act as a benchmark. We will not claim to be offering better value without developing an understanding of the services you are already receiving. However, rarely does any organisation put into place the most effective procurement that it could be delivering, without making compromises one way or the other.
Equally, a business is not always able to operate the most efficient energy management system, in that whatever strategy may already be agreed, the implementation plan is usually compromised in one way or the other. From our point of view as bespoke advisers and experienced energy mentors, we will assess and review, digest and understand before offering our client a choice of options as to what is the most effective solution to meet their needs, both shorter and longer term. Meeting carbon reduction requirements forms part of that process, not just securing favourable energy contract structures. As we undertake these tasks, we will point it out if we see weaknesses or failings, equally we will pick up and develop all positive aspects.
Our expertise lies not just in procurement. It also encompasses energy management systems including smart metering and microgeneration technologies. We have solar installations at commercial airport sites and advanced metering solutions operating across a network of individual and portfolio sites. Rarely is so much expertise assembled under one roof - taking into account that our whole range services is designed to be delivered on a bespoke basis, meaning that customers are free to select those specific areas where they want to engage, with the option to leave other functions or activities undisturbed, if these are well catered for already. The result is to dovetail our bespoke solutions into the range of services required by our customers, leaving the choice open as to how wide or specific the service offering needs to be. Value for money is best derived from this approach.