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February 2024 Newsletter from Nationwide Energy

february newsletter

A Message From Our Operations Director, Gerry O’Hara…

“I’m delighted that 2024 has got off to a positive start and once again hospitality businesses have shown how resilient they are to the challenges they face.

The great news is that energy prices have fallen markedly and customers coming to contract renewal are finding that their new rates are a lot cheaper than previously.

Similarly, customers taking on a new business face lower energy costs than was the case over the last few years, which is a massive boost.

It’s still a difficult trading environment, but everyone at Nationwide Energy – our Field, Renewals, Contracts, and Billing & Metering teams remain ready to support our customers with any challenges they face with utilities, telecoms, merchant services, or EPOS

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Your Energy Update…

The sharp decline in commodity costs has continued throughout the coldest months. Each episode of rapid price falls ends with a modest upswing reflecting the changing dynamics in the European energy supply context. The continuing positive picture of high levels of gas in storage, good supplies, and gas demand levels which are approximately 20% lower than pre-crisis has led to prices coming closer to pre-crisis levels sooner than was previously predicted.

While current costs are little changed over the last two weeks. One positive is that the highest rates that some customers are paying have fallen and the variation between the best and worst prices has reduced. The averages now cover a span of 20 – 25ppkW for electricity and 5 – 7ppkW for gas.

While commodity costs are unexpectedly closer to pre-crisis levels, it seems unlikely that suppliers will reduce their contract rates in the same way. Massive levels of customer debt will be the explanation provided by suppliers and accepted by Ofgem and the government, who will want to avoid any more suppliers failing. The massive profits made by suppliers in the last few years will be conveniently forgotten.

Many hospitality businesses continue to struggle with high energy rates agreed in the last few years. These costs have undoubtedly contributed to the failure of many pubs. Ominously British Gas has recently announced plans to pursue customers who exit contracts early. While their main focus is on larger business customers, the prospect of them pursuing small & medium-sized businesses such as pubs can’t be dismissed. Other suppliers may follow suit.

The clear positive message is that any new business or those looking to renew energy contracts can achieve rates much lower than were available in the preceding 2 years. There are still suppliers who impose additional conditions on pubs and those who offer long contracts of up to 5 years, which appears more in the supplier’s interests than the customers. Nationwide Energy’s field consultants and renewals advisors can provide customer-focused advice, a market review, and updates on available prices.

Any customers struggling to pay current rates or who are at risk of default can contact our Billing Team for support and advice on their options. Please contact us on:-

02476 328995

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energy guides

A Week In The life of James, Our Sales Manager

nationwide energy sales

On Monday, I had the pleasure of catching up with familiar faces as Emma assumed management at the Horton Arms in Oldham, accompanied by my colleague Anthony Byrne, Senior Energy Consultant for North of England.

The following day, I travelled to Kent with Jason Cross, Senior Energy Consultant for South East England, where we had the opportunity to meet Keisha at the Fruitier (it took me a while to pronounce that one correctly!).

After spending a few days in the office, I concluded the week with a meeting with one of our esteemed partners, Greene King, alongside Operations Director, Gerry O’Hara.

Each conversation presented its own unique challenges, yet everyone exuded optimism, reminding me why I find working with people in the hospitality industry so rewarding.”

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Customer Story; The Lamb Inn, Farnham

nationwide energy newsletter

“In 2017 I signed an agreement with another broker, on the premise that they would find the best price gas/electricity contracts without my having to compare suppliers and brokers.

For a while it worked, never the cheapest deal but reasonable enough. Until this broker merged with another broker (seeming without telling their customers) and the best deal for me became the highest commission for them. At the worst point in the energy crisis, October 2022, this broker signed an extortionate gas contract supposedly on my behalf with British Gas Lite. They signed me in to a 3-year contract for my gas on 23.3p per kWh a rate that was completely unaffordable. I knew Nationwide Energy Consultants through my landlords, Shepherd Neame. For various reasons, I hadn’t used them after moving in. Now, desperate for advice on how to deal with the situation, I reached out to them and was put in touch with Nicole.

After investigation, Nicole confirmed that this broker had used a letter of authority I signed in 2017. She advised that usually, letters of authority are only valid for 12 months, but this broker had amended their terms to state that this letter of authority was valid until the point of the customer cancelling the agreement.

Luckily, we had a few months to argue this before the contract was due to go live. Nicole supported me in composing a complaint to this broker, as well as British Gas Lite, to argue that their terms were unfair and unjust. In the complaint Nicole had requested the contract be cancelled without any penalty or fees and for the letter of authority to be terminated. After some back and forth, the broker agreed to apply a ‘Free 2 Go’ on the account which meant I was free to leave British Gas Lite and I had 30 days to do so.

Nicole gave me a range of contract options with different suppliers, and I agreed a 1-year contract that was less than half the British Gas Lite rates. I am extremely happy with the outcome, being on a much cheaper rate has really helped my business. As I have agreed a 12-month contract this gives me a chance to see where the market is in 12 months’ time and potentially agree something even cheaper, an option I wouldn’t have had if I had stayed in a 3-year agreement via the other broker.

I can’t thank Nicole enough for the help she provided. The other broker only seemed to be doing what suited them regardless of its impact on me, whereas Nationwide Energy put me first.”

David Squier, Lamb Inn, Farnham

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