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organisations with sufficient capacity is on getting processes and procedures right internally so that they are equipped to sustain the efficiencies that have been identified. That includes bespoke training, and practical briefings designed to improve staff knowledge and energy understanding. “In a particularly technical area like energy purchasing, it’s also about providing ongoing support via our team of expert market analysts and buyers who are examining the markets every day using state of the art risk management systems and market screens with live prices,” Walker points out. Much has been made of the fact that so

Magnus Walker, head of energy services at Inprova Group discusses why it pays to seek expert advice when it comes to streamlining your business and in securing the best energy deals available to you


hether it’s buying clubs or ‘Big Switch’ schemes, the appetite for delving into

the energy markets in search of a better deal shows no signs of abating. We have seen it happen across both domestic and commercial customers with the catalyst until fairly recently being rapid rises in the price of utilities. For any organisation – particularly those

with large estates – the need to find ways to exercise greater control over energy costs is understandable. But all too often it’s skin deep and the approaches taken rarely get to a depth where significant savings can be secured. Ultimately, this is down to a failure to recognise the complexity of energy markets. Buying energy is not like putting in a stationery order in fact it’s unlike pretty much any other commodity an organisation will purchase. Companies like Inprova Group, provide support to a wide range of public and private sector organisations on everything from buying IT systems to major building projects. One of the key reasons the company has expanded its offering around energy procurement is the degree to which potential savings are being missed. The organisation has acquired three companies in the last six months to bolster its energy division and address both the demand and need for expert advice and support around what is a critical area of spend. Magnus Walker, currently head of energy

services at Inprova Group, previously held a position as head of trading for the Government Procurement Service with responsibility of purchasing wholesale


Inprova’s consultancy services provide you support to evaluate your procurement capability and performance to maximise your

organisation’s energy spend

electricity and gas for the public sector. Walker advises: “I can testify first hand to the difficulties you can face in driving a good deal for purchasing wholesale electricity and gas even when you’re spending huge sums of money. “This complexity is often not appreciated and there is a lack of understanding about how the energy markets work. Feedback from clients often reveals misconceptions about the basics, such as what influences energy price changes. It’s a market that’s frequently driven by what’s going on in other international markets and is not related to UK inflation.”

A RANGE OF SERVICE OPTIONS In response to the apparent uncertainty and confusion in the market, Improva has developed a range of service options. “With so much confusion out there, we’ve developed tailored energy services to give our diverse range of organisations a helping hand”, Walker advises. Inprova supports its clients across every category of spend to help them gain a clearer picture of where money is going and to highlight inefficiencies such as duplication of invoices. “We have a multitude of agreements in place to ensure organisations can benefit from the added value generated by aggregated spend. For example, our energy procurement and consultancy framework has in excess of 7.5TWh of energy contracts under management for more than 60,000 gas and electricity supply meters”, highlights Walker. “But as a full service procurement and services provider, the emphasis for

many domestic customers spend years paying over the odds because they are too daunted, or perhaps ill-informed, to switch suppliers. Are businesses any better? “For far too many organisations, the only time they get round to thinking about the price they are paying for gas and electricity is when their contract comes up for renewal”, says Walker. “Organisations with a leading edge approach to procurement, review key areas of spend continuously as a matter of course. They don’t wait until the contract renewal reminder arrives before attempting to negotiate a better deal. That could be too late to move to a more competitive price,” Walker adds. “The company will also have a firmer grip on another crucial element to energy purchasing: risk management. Are your circumstances likely to change in the next 12 months? Do you need to buy for all your energy needs now, would you be better holding off or should you spread your purchases over time? These decisions can have a significant impact on your bottom line. This is where you need experts that spend their whole time supporting customers to find the best answers, Walker advises. “It can also bring a fresh approach to issues that run to the heart of the organisation and its ethos, such as environmental goals. If you have embraced an intelligence driven approach to energy procurement backed by expert support, securing green energy at no extra cost as part of your contract becomes an awful lot easier”, says Walker. “A key aspect of Inprova’s approach is to

build a relationship with clients in advance of any decisions that need to be made and be on hand for continued support. Once a contract is signed there’s still much work to be done, such as providing invoice analysis and using energy usage data to drive further savings, analyse trends and identify opportunities that in the long run can fundamentally change an organisation’s approach to energy,” Walker concludes.

Inprova Group 01925 282360


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