Tackling the price hikes in the energy sector

An Interview with Peter Chalmers (Greener Energy Group)

Posted: 7th September 2020 15:37

If it seems as though you are paying more for your energy bills than ever before that is probably because you are. According to research from comparethemarket.com, energy bills in the UK have risen by 40% in five years, taking the average UK household costs up to a record £2,707 per year.[1]
 
However, consumers now have greater control over the way they access energy with a better variety of products and more service providers available. One company that is helping consumers tackle the price hikes is home energy solutions provider Greener Energy Group. We spoke to managing director Peter Chalmers to find out how this Scotland-based company can set you on the path towards sustainability and help you save up to 70% on your energy bill at the same time.
 
How would you summarise the current energy market?
 
The current energy market for us is very buoyant. This is mostly due to us having a vast range of energy saving solutions – including renewable energy products – in our portfolio such as electric heating, renewable heating (air source heat pump), spray foam insulation, solar PV & battery storage and high efficiency boilers.
 
As homeowners look to reduce their ever-increasing energy bills, they are looking at alternative solutions to, insulating, heating and powering their homes. Greener Energy Group have great products with first class installation teams to satisfy this need.
 
Why has the average price of energy bills increased so drastically in the last five years?
 
As late as 2003, the UK was still a net exporter of natural gas. Fast forward to the present day and we now import more than 50% of the gas we use. First it was piped from Norway, then the Netherlands, now it comes in liquefied form from Qatar.
 
Being exposed to tightening international gas markets has had a negative impact on British consumers, both in terms of what we pay for natural gas as well as the fact that electricity has seen prices go through the roof.
 
The most common way people attempt to reduce their energy bill is by changing their energy provider or payment plan. Why is it important to look at the bigger picture?
 
Firstly, it is and always will be best for consumers to find the most competitive providers and switch to them, we are shocked sometimes by the huge bills some customers are paying by wrongly staying loyal to one large company when ‘cheap electric’ is available.
 
However, renewables and other energy saving products which sometimes can have a fairly large upfront cost is really an investment to protect customers over a longer period. If you are given the correct advice this ‘investment’ will normally pay for itself over a period of time. Bearing in mind that using your same hard-earned cash that you would be spending (or wasting) with your energy provider anyway! So, it is very prudent to look at a longer plan and the bigger picture to help protect yourself from increasing energy bills.
 
Why do so many households still rely on expensive fuel types such as oil, LPG and electric as their main or even sole energy source?
 
There are a few reasons for this. Some people don’t like change and some others can be apprehensive that new types of renewable heating systems won’t work. The good news is renewable heating systems – in particular air source heat pumps – work extremely well. In fact, they work down to minus 21 degrees and are becoming very popular. As this happens consumers get encouraged by the huge savings that are made from this new technology and the government support available to incentivise consumers to move over to green environmentally friendly systems. Whilst being more environmentally friendly, renewable heating is fast becoming the cheapest way to heat your home.
 
To what extent has the development and increased availability of renewable energy sources provided homeowners with greater choice?
 
Homeowners now have a vast choice of products and solutions available to them. The hard part for homeowners is understanding the different types of technologies and what solutions would be right for their homes. As more and more companies try to make the change over to renewable systems, our advice to customers is make sure you find a company that has a great track record installing these systems. Unfortunately, we have had to assist customers who have had systems fitted by other companies who didn’t have the expertise to install the systems property and we have had to correct their mistakes. This can be very costly and stressful for the consumer, so make sure you do your homework first.
 
How can you help the client determine which fuel or fuels would be most effective for their specific needs?
 
Here at Greener Energy Group we have a full range of systems and the expertise within our organisation to advise customers on the best solution for, their home, their needs and their budget. Our surveyors generally carry out an initial assessment, then dependant on the outcome of that assessment, we would follow up with full heat loss calculations and an energy performance report of the property. We then would do a system design to ensure the specified product will in fact work 100% for the customer and their home.
 
Why is it important to also consider the type of heating system used?
 
It is hugely important to consider the type of system used as in some instances where one type of system works extremely well, it may perform extremely poorly within another type of property and is not suited at all in that situation. This again is where it is very important for the homeowner to get advice from a company that has a range of products and is not limited to only one type as unfortunately with some companies, if that is all they supply, that is what they will sell you!
 
How can Greener Energy Group help homeowners implement better energy efficiency measures?
 
It all starts with an assessment where we look at all aspects of the property, the fuel type, the fuel bills and the customers’ needs. After the assessment we can then make our bespoke recommendations for that homeowner. The good news is our initial assessments are free and there is no obligation for the homeowner to purchase anything.
 
In your experience, what is the most common form of energy waste in residential homes?
 
Unfortunately, there are lots of common forms of waste, from old inefficient boilers and electric storage heaters, wet electric heating, a lack of insulation and homeowners on high expensive energy bills and not taking advantage of cheaper electric tariffs.
 
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to homeowners about improving their energy efficiency?
 
First and foremost, get an energy assessment from a reputable company that installs multiple products. Once the assessment is complete you can then make informed decisions on the advice you have received. A reputable company like Greener Energy Group will have access to affordable finance options to help you proceed with any measures you decide to install.
 



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