Lockdown has implications for energy market

The operational changes imposed by the Covid-19 lockdown meant that businesses were simply not using as much energy as before. Azar Khan, energy consultant at utility industry expert SK Energy, looks into the effect this has had on the energy market.

The changes imposed by lockdown were met with the lowest energy prices ever on the market, with one supplier cutting its prices by 30%. While this was great if you were looking to renew immediately, it could have serious effects on future pricing. As demand increases with businesses reopening, the need for energy will also rise so this will naturally impact on the purchase price.

‘There is likely to be a greater push for consumers to switch to renewable suppliers’ What we can take as a positive is that natural energy production was

boosted, with the UK being free from coal-fired energy for over a month. This is great for the economy and future self-sufficiency - our current economic vulnerability suggests independence will only benefit the financial stability of the country.

Video to be part of post-lockdown recovery in Peaks

Video content is being used as a tool to bring people back to the Peak District and spend cash with its tourism and hospitality businesses. Business Peak District, a

representative body for the national park with more than 700 members, believes short clips could help promote the area for “staycations” with fewer people expected to travel abroad for holidays this summer. It says more businesses are

now using videos to demonstrate the safety measures they have taken to reopen and prepare customers ahead of their visit – or creating 360-degree footage that showcases the Peak District and attract new visitors. Business Peak District has teamed up video production company Walker Creative to offer a 15% discount to its members. Chairman Robin Eyre said:

“The need for organisations in the tourism and hospitality industry to reassure customers and rebuild their confidence is bigger than it’s ever been. On so many levels, organisations are needing video more than ever.”

Initiative is helping creative firms

More than 100 businesses from across Leicestershire’s art and creative sector have applied for specialist support to develop and grow. Creative Leicestershire, a Leicestershire County

Council initiative which offers advice, support, and growth for creative enterprises across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, has come together with partners in the East Midlands for another year to offer WebinArt. WebinArt is a one-year professional development

programme that connects new and improving creative businesses with industry giants and mentors. It offers help and support in everything from financial and business growth advice, to confidence building and help with Covid-19 related concerns. Artist Lucy Stevens, who joined WebinArt last year,

said: “It was great to hear first-hand from other artists that I admire about the realities of running a creative

14 business network August/September 2020

business and to know that I wasn’t alone in the challenges that I’d faced. The online resources gave me real motivation to try something new and put the advice into action. “I’d advise any artist starting out or those that feel a

bit lost and lacking focus to take part in WebinArt. It’s a chance to develop your business skills and learn more about how to raise your profile, build a strong brand, grow a sustainable and profitable business.” Nick Rushton, leader of Leicestershire County

Council, said: “It is vital that we as a council do all we can to continue to support business growth, entrepreneurship, and career development, especially during this challenging time for all businesses. “Not only do creatives contribute to the rich culture

of Leicestershire but encouraging them to become experienced in the business market will create jobs and help boost our local economy.”

Artist Lucy Stevens in her studio in Leicester

Suppliers have cut energy prices by up to 30%

What we have seen is suppliers take action to help customers with short-

term agreements to cover the effects of Covid-19. Energy suppliers have provided greater credit requirements from new and existing supply agreements, extending some customer agreements for four or six months to allow businesses to focus on the challenges at hand. SK Energy has noticed the impact Covid-19 had on the leisure and food

industries led to suppliers wanting more financial guarantees from businesses. Little action can be taken to avoid this, but it is looking like these industries will recover in the long term. Knowing that the UK is becoming more adept at generating its own

energy from wind and solar power, and with the Government targeting net zero carbon emissions by 2050, there is likely to be a greater push for consumers to switch to renewable suppliers. Generating energy and becoming independent also means prices can be

lower as transportation charges are reduced. This is great news for all businesses as there is almost no difference in market pricing between brown and green energy.

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