Look Out for Fake Refunds

Fake refund emails 

Following our pieces looking to help keep you safe from scams and phishing, below is a short form guide explaining how to keep yourself safe from email scams and what to look out for when receiving unexpected emails of this type. 

2020 saw hundreds of scam emails offering refunds of up to £400 from the likes of British Gas. These emails provided a link to access your account that instead collect your data in order to gain access to your account and mine details like your card information and regular payment dates. 

The following year, British Gas warned customers that they are aware of such scam emails, and offered information to report this in the hope stop more customers from finding themselves in this difficult position. 

Edinburghlive reported that these fake refund emails on behalf of British Gas specifically have been dating back to 2016, and over a number of years, have the potential to have cost customers millions. They are known to claim that you will only be contacted by your provider via the scam email you have received in order to isolate you from the true provider and give the scammer faster access to your information, due to being able to acknowledge each question or email you may send to those acting as your provider for clarity.  

Many phishing contacts claim that without immediate payment (often within 24 hours to 2 days), the client may lose the rights to claim their money back, or alternatively be billed for a remaining small charge on their account. Truthfully, it is not likely that in the case of an overpayment, you will lose the rights to your money, and instead, this will either be carried on to your next bill, or you will be contacted in a number of different ways, such as by post or a direct call from the supplier. You will never lose the rights to your money as a consumer and most contacts claiming this is likely not to have your best interest at heart. 

Which.com shared a false DVLA email in an attempt to help customers recognise spam, that even threatened home visits to the recipient of these emails. This is unlikely to happen in a real-life scenario if you are not being met by a debt repayment company.  

How can I tell if these emails are fake?

Firstly, checking the email this information was sent from. If it was not one that you recognise and not one that you can find online under the company name, it is likely that you have fallen victim to a phishing email. 

Secondly, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. You have likely heard this phrase across scam TV shows and other media, and have done so for a reason. If you are being offered free money or incredible discounts on your bills, for example, check with your provider to ensure that this is coming from a trusted source. 

Third, most phishing emails start with lines that are designed to make it feel more personal but fail to follow the company itself usual draft email. For example, starting with “Hello” and your name is not something you tend to see in a real email from your supplier. 

Forth, any genuine emails from your supplier should contain your energy account number; if you are not able to find this in your email, it is likely that the recipient is not your provider as they do not have access to that information. 

Lastly, you will never be asked to confirm, update or provide personal details without requesting such changes yourself, unless you believe there is active reason to, for example, recently alerting your provider of a move. 

  • 9485ebc4 9ac8 45fe 9f2f 0a6e5f255ea5You can learn to identify phishing websites built to harvest your information in a number of ways, such as: 
    Checking the URL: You should look for a padlock symbol in the address bar, and check that the address you are using begins with https://“ or “shttp://“. This indicates that the website has been encrypted and secured with an SSL certificate. Without this, any data passed on to the site is not fully secure and could often be intercepted by criminals or third parties. Be aware, though, that this is not foolproof. Over the previous years there have been a number of false sites using an SSL certificate, and so we would not recommend using the padlock symbol as proof of security alone. Instead, look for a handful of signs that your details are safe, including; 
  • 7d84e3f7 60fc 4830 87a3 4bcfdfc9c567Check that the spelling of the web address is correct – A simple brain trick shows that we often quickly skim what our brains believe we are about to read, so if your link says “britishgass.com”, we may not notice the extra s right away, and assume safety in the link that we have been sent. This is seen at www.yah00.org, or similar where fraudsters replace letters with numbers or other aspects such as replacing .com with .uk, in order to make it look as close as possible to the real thing. Creating an “official” looking site is the first step to committing the crime. 
  • Check who owns the website; All domains must be registered with a website owner on the likes of WHOIS and other sites. The free site should provide contact details of the owner, which you can then compare to your utility provider online. If these details vary, it is likely you are on the receiving end of a scam. Websites are usually suspicious if they have been active for less than a year of if you think you’re on the website of a leading brand, that their website is registered to an individual in another country. Keeping these details to hand for reports is another way to ensure that others do not have to deal with the same problems you may. 

How can I protect myself?

If you are concerned that an email you have received may be genuine, a good way to ensure that you are right is to avoid links sent to you in the email itself, and instead log into your account from the supplier’s website as you always would. Here, any notifications or alerts should show on your account naturally. If they are not available to see, you have nothing to worry about. Any urgent information should come as a pop up when you first log in or will be highlighted on your account in one way or another so you should not miss it when you do access your details. 

If you have been a victim to phishing emails, contact your supplier to change your details immediately and lock any further opportunity for scammers to withdraw money from your account or change your details. You may also forward any British Gas specific emails to phishing@centrica.com so that they are able to investigate it further. 

Alternatively, you may report suspected phishing to the National Cyber Security Centre Through their Suspicious Email Reporting Centre (SERS) at report@phishing.gov.uk. Although the NCSC is not able to inform you of the outcome of each review, it can confirm that it investigates each individual report.  

If you have been a victim of cybercrimes in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you should report this to Action Fraud at www.action fraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. In Scotland, you can simply contact the police by calling 101. 

Secure sites checklist Genuine email checklist 
SSL certificates can be seen as a lock at the top of your website address Your account number is added as part of the email 
Website address is spelled correctly You are addressed by name, not under “Dear Customer” or “Sir/Madam”. 
You do not have to login to gain access to all parts of the website There are no urgent warnings, claiming you will lose out if you do not respond within a number of days 
The website link you are using was found organically; you are not following an email or text link No claims that this is the only way your supplier will contact you 
The website is registered to the company you expect, for example, “British Gas PLC” and is located in the correct country. You are not being offered unbelievable deals or refunds that you were not expecting 
Trusted payment methods are being used; credit cards, paypal or online transactions. NEVER A BANK TRANSFER. You are not being asked for details that you have already given your provider in a secure environment, for example, on signing your contact. 

Energy Data Analysis for Business

Why the need for energy data analysis? 

There are two main reasons why there is a growing need for competent energy data analysts. Money, and saving the planet. Two reasons in complete juxtaposition to one another. 

It is possible to save hundreds, even thousands of pounds by cutting down your energy consumption and altering behavioural habits at a personal or business level. For domestic customers or those with excessively high consumption, this is a straightforward task. For businesses and those with normal to low consumption levels, often data is needed to locate and drive improvement in the areas that need it.  

It is maybe a difficult stretch to say that data analysts will save the planet, and it may not hold completely true. But they certainly play their part 

So, keep reading for some tips and rules on how to analyse your energy consumption– you never know how much money you could save! 

The five rules for energy data analysis. 

Metering: Data does not mean anything unless it comes from a genuine reputable source. For energy and consumption data – this means meters. Most utility companies will install consumption meters (gas, electricity, water) which now allow for accurate collection of data.  

This is now ‘the standard’ across the board, with both domestic and business customers having smart meters installed into their properties. Larger businesses with huge facilities are able to sub-meter different areas of their property, collecting incredibly detailed data. 

If you do not currently have a smart meter installed, then contact your supplier! 

Data doesn’t mean anything until analysis: Collecting data is not the same as analysing data. Data collection is crucial – but it doesn’t actually mean anything until it is analysed… 

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that because you are collecting every trackable metric known to man that you are ‘analysing’ anything. Raw data should never ever ever be used to draw conclusions or make decisions. 

Analysis is a comparison of expected vs actual: This is the part where you begin to organise your raw data a little bit better. This tip can be summed up by one word – Context. 

The statement ‘We used 300kW of electricity during Monday morning at 9am’ does not have any real meaning behind it. It tells us exactly how much electricity has been used, on what day, and at what exact time. Think of this statement as your raw data. 

What it doesn’t tell us is if this is good, bad, awful, dangerous, safe, why, what it was used for etc. We need context in order to understand. 

Now, change the statement slightly. 

‘We used 300kW of electricity during Monday morning at 9am, the week prior we used 400kW and decided to try and lower it.’ 

We have added context to our ‘raw data’ by comparing it against historical data and including our desired (expected) results. We can now make statements with a little more  

Sustained deviation from expectation: Nobody is perfect, people make mistakes. This is universal. 

Even within the most advanced data collection and analysis systems, there will still be some element of error. Small, random variances between metered and expected values are entirely normal. So, what do you do if the mistake keeps on occurring

Firstly, you should change your definition ‘mistake’ in this scenario. Small deviation between expected and metered values? Annoying mistake. Small sustained deviation? You have successfully identified a trend within your results – which can signal a change in operational conditions.  

Use common sense: Continuing on from the previous point – people make mistakes.  

What is more likely, you have made a typo when compiling your data spreadsheet – or that your business consumes 1,000,000 kW of electricity at 3AM every Wednesday? 

Data analytics can be a powerful tool when used correctly – but only if it is used correctly. Use your head at all stages of analysis, if something seems too good to be true… it probably is.  

How to analyse data 

Profile analysis: 

Depending on the software suite and/or the data available to you, it is possible to graph your consumption data with time to create consumption profiles. This is a much more visually stimulating way in which to present data that allows for a greater deal of immediate understanding.  

An example of a daily consumption profile will look a little something like this: 

image

Regression analysis: You may be familiar with this technique if you have completed any statistical work before. Regression analysis helps to identify which variable has the most impact on your specific area of interest.  

Data normalisation

Identifying non operational data

Alert by exception 

Why this isn’t the case in the real world 

Realistically – this is all great in theory but not much else. 

If you are a domestic customer or operate a small business, it is likely that you will have found some use from this article. Energy data analysis is a woefully tricky subject and it is horribly difficult to know where to begin sometimes. But, here’s the catch (the first catch, that is).  

When learning anything for the first time there will be a period of ‘trial and error’. This is where an individual has learned enough of the theory to know roughly what to do, but can’t grow their knowledge further without practicing. Domestic customers can do this in a relatively low-risk environment during their free-time. Best-case scenario is saving a little bit of money and learning about consumption habits while the worst-case scenario is simply wasting some free time.  

Is this the same for business customers? In short, no. 

Unless you run a small business, it is likely that there are multiple stakeholders and/or board members who influence operational decisions. Trying to keep all of these people happy when it comes to spending company resources is a tricky act…  

What poses less risk – allowing an untrained individual within your company to complete incredibly complex data analysis that will underpin all future decision making, or simply paying a professional to complete the job? 

What actually happens in the real world? 

The process of energy data analysis often becomes outsourced to another company – often already operating within the energy sector. There are businesses and individuals who have already gained the necessary expertise to wrestle with huge energy data-sets while understanding the context behind the numbers.  

Who would you choose to complete a statistical deep dive and analysis of your company’s energy consumption? Joe Bloggs from the accounting department who has an afternoon off from his work, or a company with well over twenty years of operating experience in the energy sector with employees trained explicitly for this nature of work…?  

It is really a no-brainer. By allowing us to do what we do best, it lets you do what you do best.  

At Energy Solutions we are familiar with all areas of the energy industry – all the way from installing new supplies and sourcing suppliers, to fitting meters and analysing your data for you.  

Simply call us now to organise a quote! Our team members can be reached during usual office hours at 0131 610 1688 or by email: nick@energybrokers.co.uk 

We are happy to answer any questions that you may have for us, all you have to do is get in touch! If you would prefer to reach us in another way you can use our webform or WhatsApp us at 07757 400 788 

We look forward to hearing from you!  

Common Questions 

How should I begin analysing my energy data? 

For domestic customers – you should always begin by checking what type of meter you currently have installed. It is imperative that you upgrade to a smart meter in order to gain access to your consumption data. Traditional meters do not have this type of functionality.  

For business customers it may be too large of a job to tackle by yourself. It is likely you may need to collaborate with other departments or bring in another business to help. 

What is important when analysing energy data? 

There is no one ‘big’ thing to look out for in particular. For anybody looking to analyse their energy consumption you should always ensure: 

  • Data is accurate: If data is not accurate, the whole exercise is a waste of time – you will be led to false conclusions. 
  • Data is comprehensive: The more data you collect – the more you can do with it. 
  • Data doesn’t take precedent over common sense: Just because the data points towards a particular conclusion does not mean you should accept without question.  

What should I look for when analysing my energy data? 

For domestic customers you should look for some sort of profile to analyse. By charting your energy consumption at half hourly intervals throughout the day (or in any way you are able to), it is possible to find consumption habits that you never knew you had.  

Business customers should be looking to complete more high-powered statistical analysis if possible. Try normalising data, looking for regression etc. If not possible then look to bring in an expert.  

Do I analyse my energy data in the same way for my business as I do at home? 

It depends on both the size and nature of your business (as-well as how you analyse your energy at home). If your business and/or dataset is small – then it is quite possible to complete a less in-depth analysis of your energy. 

If you operate a larger business or rely on energy consumption throughout the production process, then it is likely an unsurmountable task unless you have relevant training and time. 

Why do businesses not complete their own energy data analysis?  

Many businesses cannot afford the luxury to invest in this area – deeming it to be a wasted expense. It is unlikely that many staff have the free time or expertise to complete such analysis. The potential returns increase the larger your business/energy consumption is. 

Can I pay for someone to analyse my energy data? 

Yes – you can. There are multiple businesses set up for this exact service. It is important to find a company that has relevant expertise, good reviews etc. 

Business Gas Guide 2021

Now that we have covered the ins and outs of water and electricity for your business, it’s time to consider gas. Just like the rest of your utilities, it is just as important to keep up with the best deals and rates from suppliers that stand out to you, in order to ensure that your business is getting what it needs for a reasonable price; there is a range of thing that will influence the rates you will be given by suppliers, and in order to understand this, we have to consider each influence individually when you are looking to switch.

Understanding your contract

Understanding the business gas contract given to you before making the change is critical to ensuring that you are making the right decision. To do this, we will first focus on a variety of key terms that may pop up as a part of your contract.

The billing period is the time period negotiated for between each payment date, for example, monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Smaller businesses may prefer shorter billing periods to keep a close eye on their spending each month, whereas larger businesses may have the ability to wait longer to focus on these details.

The unit rate is a rate that you will be expected to pay per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of gas that your business consumes. Making this rate as low as possible is where you are likely to find the most savings; a unit rate will vastly depend on your business, whereas the suppliers will differ on what they can offer you dependant on this information.

Household Vs Business tariffs

Unlike what you may find with electricity tariffs, business gas rates will usually be cheaper than domestic ones due to being based on larger, commercial demands. In contrast to this, though, businesses are expected to pay a 20% VAT that homeowners are not, alongside a series of levies and charges in order to comply with regulations. These levies and charges are laid out in the table below.

Usually, tariffs offered to you by the suppliers will be more tailored to your needs, especially if you are a big business. Your contract will be influenced by a range of factors including usage and the business sector. This means that it can be hard to compare tariffs, and instead, you will need to contact each supplier individually. Your supplier may also use your credit profile to consider whether your business will be able to keep up with the expected payments, which is not available for domestic gas.

For businesses, it is likely that the tariffs offered are longer than the likes of domestic gas, and can often last up to five years. Because your energy will be bought in bulk, it is likely to be cheaper, but means that you will also have to wait until your contract is ending to shop for a better deal;

Once you sign a contract with a supplier, there is no cooling-off period in place in case you change your mind. This means that you must be certain before making these decisions and know the details set out within your contract in full. Otherwise, you may find yourself locked in a contract that does not suit your business needs.

What will happen once your contract ends?

By the end of your contract, you will be entered into a renewal period with your provider. They will send you a letter of renewal offering a deal to continue the contract, but you do not have to accept this, and may instead shop around for better options depending on your situation. Going to other suppliers is likely to bring you a more competitive deal elsewhere and lead to saving yourself money.

You will then relieve a final bill based on your current tariff, and may be asked t provide a final meter reading to ensure that it is accurate. If you fail to communicate with the supplier’s renewal or their attempt to contact you, you are often automatically opted into a contracted expensive out-of-contract tariff. It is critical that you inform your supplier of your plans to continue your contract or switch in order to avoid overpaying on your business gas.

Understanding your bill

Your bill will be made up of both your account information, and a more detailed breakdown of your charges as follows:

Account information

  • Account number – an account number unique to you 
  • Your details – your business name and address
  • Contract details – what tariff you are on, its end date
  • Bill date – when your bill was sent 
  • Billing period – the time period you’re being charged for
  • Bill number – a unique reference number 
  • VAT number – a unique VAT number registered to you 
  • Type of charge – whether accurate or estimated
  • MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number) – a unique 11-digit number used to identify your gas supply point
  • MSN (Meter Serial Number) – a unique number that identifies your meter
  • Contact details – a phone number to contact your supplier should anything go wrong

Breakdown of charges

  • Billing period charges – the price for the period
  • Outstanding charges – the amount owed from past bills
  • VAT charges – the amount added for VAT 
  • Total amount due – the above combined 
  • Cost breakdown – a run down of your charges

What costs are included on a gas bill?

Your gas bill is made up of at least two charges, but also includes other levies and charges that are expected to be paid by all businesses.

Charge/LevyWhat is this?
Unit rate per kWhAs explained above, this is the amount that you are paying per unit of gas that you use. The total of this will vary between billing periods depending on what you use.
The rate of this is fixed on a fixed term contract but may vary on a variable contract. This means that it could drop or rise depending on market price.
A daily standing chargeSimply put, the daily standing charge is a charge that covers the management and upkeep of your supply and your account each day.
The Climate Change LevyBusinesses are taxed automatically with a climate change levy with the intention of discouraging carbon emissions. This extra charge is in place to encourage less waste and inefficiency in businesses.   In contrast to this, businesses that consume high amounts of gas but have signed the Climate Change Agreement (CCA) will be given a reduction on the levy.
20% VAT (if applicable)While some businesses might be offered a cheaper rate due to the amount of gas that they consume, if they are over a certain size, they will be subject to paying 20% VAT. Charities that offer residential services are no charged VAT.

What aspects influence the cost of my businesses gas plan?

The business sector

Where a real estate agent will just need gas for heating and hot water, a restaurant will rely on gas to cook for each individual customer. Because the restaurant will use a lot more gas, it is likely that they will be offered cheaper unit rates to make up the vast amount of usage.

Location

The area in which your business is located will influence the unit rates you are offered because some suppliers only operate in limited areas, restricting the gas tariffs you will have access to.

Size

The size of your business is a good way to indicate how much gas it may use. The bigger your business, the cheaper a rate you will be offered as you will be consuming a lot more than a smaller business would.

Usage

The amount of gas your business expects itself to use will affect the supplier’s offer. Often, the more gas you use, the cheaper the unit rate will be, though this may make the standing charge much higher.

Credit Score

Your business will have its own business credit score, that demonstrates to suppliers that you will fulfil the entirety of your billing contract. You will be offered better deals if your credit score is high, whereas poorer scores will limit what you may be offered. You can find out more about how to improve your score and get access to better deals here.

Contract Type

A fixed term contract is a secure contract set to ensure that you will pay a certain amount each month, even when gas prices fluctuate. A variable contract is the opposite, your prices may rise or fall depending on the current market rates. 

Timing

This is something you cannot control but can consider when making your decisions. The market prices for gas will change often throughout the year, and this influences the unit rate for the tariffs that you are initially offered, so prices offered by your ideal supplier is likely to change daily. Timing your negotiations with a supplier can make a big difference on how much you will pay, even on a fixed tariff.

Bill validation, what is it?

What is invoice/bill validation?

Mistakes happen – it is just a fact of life.

This also holds true in the business world. Companies will spend millions on advanced software systems, data analytics, and top-tier employees – but mistakes will still happen.

In the energy business when mistakes are made it can sometimes lead to the incurred costs being passed on to the customer. Bill validation is a practice that helps mitigate against this.

Bill validation is the robust process of reviewing and highlighting any discrepancies to be acted upon and fixed. Usually, this will involve cross-checking charges received against any amounts paid or received. At this point, the practice has been developed to be automated somewhat but most often will involve some manual validation.

What causes inaccurate billing?

Inaccurate billing can arise from a multitude of sources – so there is no ‘quick-fix’ to avoiding this issue.

If you or your business have recently switched energy supplier then there is a slight chance that data has been input wrong at some stage. This can be as small a mistake as mistyping a single character in the wrong section. Because most people don’t often check their account details with their energy supplier, these mistakes often fly under the radar unnoticed for a long time and can lead to inaccurate invoicing.

Depending on the meter-type installed at your premises, it is likely that your bills could be less accurate than they could be. If you do not own or have a smart meter installed, then you will likely still be providing monthly meter readings to your supplier. These meters are liable to produce readings far less accurate than their more modern, smarter counterparts.

Over the last twenty years or so, the UK energy industry has undergone huge changes – deregulation, household names going bust, and huge takeovers. This has created a situation where some suppliers have reached such a scale that they operate several billing departments independent of one another, some operate with archaic computer systems that are incompatible with other departments, and overall chaos.

Some small business owners may not actually be aware of their eligibility for a reduction in their VAT rates. This leads to businesses shelling out more of their cash on energy than they really need to be. It also points to a large problem with the energy industry – many customers aren’t aware of how much they should be paying in the first place!

The ‘Fantastic Five’ of invoice validation

For those who are now worried that they are overpaying on their energy bills and want to do something about it – this next section is for you. It is easy to get lost in all of the industry jargon, buzzwords, rates, fees, and overall complexity of your energy invoice. Some may be wondering where to even begin.

Don’t panic quite just yet – just focus on these five areas.

What to checkDescription
Contract RatesDig out your copy of your contract – and look for the rate per unit of energy that you agreed to pay. This is the most important place to start.
Meter ChargesSometimes you may be charged a fee for the meter you have installed. Often, this catches customers off-guard.
Standing ChargesStanding charges are fixed daily charges simply for using that energy supplier.
Consumption DataThis will vary dependent on what type of customer you are, as-well as what meter type you have installed. Try to find as much information as you can on how much energy you have used.
VAT RateVAT is a governmental tax that you are required to pay. It is worth double-checking the amount you are being charged as not all customers are required to pay the same amount.

Business invoice validation – where to begin?

So far, we have addressed issues with invoicing generally, without spending too much time focussing on any specific customer-type. Now, we turn our attention to business energy customers, and how they can become budding invoice-validators

This is a simple (and very general) four-step guide for business owners who would like to take a more critical look over their energy invoices, but aren’t sure where to begin:

  1. Use the ‘Fantastic Five’ to find the figures needed to attempt to calculate your expected monthly bill. If you do this correctly, you will find the correct amount you should be billed for that month. If your calculations don’t match with you monthly bill – then it looks like you could be being overcharged. Remember to double and even triple-check your calculations, mistakes happen to everyone – not just energy suppliers!
  2. Utilise your supply chain department (if your business has one) to ensure accuracy of charge allocation.
  3. Narrow your focus onto specific errors – highlight these and attempt to find why the error happened. Worst case scenario is wasted time, but best-case scenario is catching an easily fixable mistake and acting upon it so that it never happens again!
  4. Begin the process of reclaiming this amount from your supplier if you have already paid, or contact them with your evidence to show incorrect billing.

That is all well and good, but why do no businesses actually ever do this in the real world?

Because more often than not – they are too busy trying to keep the business running!

With energy invoicing – it’s something that will only ever happen once a month. In order to reach the level of competency to be able to spot mistakes within energy invoices will require a massive time investment. Most businesses are not able to provide the training, find the money, or a suitable individual to ever make this practice commonplace.

This is a shame as so many businesses will be overpaying for energy without ever realising. It is calculated that up to 35% of invoices from energy suppliers are incorrect throughout the year… that works out as three months of bills overpaid for.

Is there anyone to help?

Yes, there is! Luckily there are dozens of businesses who are willing and able to help you.

There are many choices when it comes to invoice validation specialists, and this is not just limited to energy companies. When looking for a company to outsource your bill validation to – it is important to do your research first. Many companies will promise the world but fail to deliver.

Looking for previous customer reviews or case studies is a good starting point. This should provide some sort of insight to whether they regularly achieve you the ‘guaranteed 15% savings!’ plastered on company advertising.

How to find out who is the best-placed to help

It is incredibly important that whoever you choose to partner with has a wealth of experience in your industry. This leads to a higher likelihood of catching any mistakes, and reaching a favourable conclusion.

So, when looking for somebody to help validate your energy bills there really is only one choice –energybrokers.co.uk.

Energy Solutions have been in the energy procurement business for over 20 years – so know invoicing like the back of their hands. Being in the business for so long has led to the development of outstanding relations with all of their partners – which includes big names like EDF, SSE, E.ON, and Gazprom.

Energy Solutions do not overpromise, and typically recover 5% of utility bill value for their customers. Their highly trained staff can operate either on a fixed-fee or on a no-win, no-fee basis. This means that if no savings are to be found, then you don’t have to pay for the service!

So, if you are interested in saving cash on your energy bill – give us a call today.

Common Questions

What is Bill Validation?

Bill validation is a general term for the process of checking invoices for mistakes in an attempt to save money.

How do I validate my own bills?

It is difficult to do this by yourself and it will take time – it is advised to outsource this process to a company that offers it as a service.

Who does bill validation?

There are dozens to choose from! Some offer it as an integrated service alongside other products, so have a google to find out.

How to choose company for bill validation?

Make sure to focus on things like customer reviews and industry experience, as these will give a more accurate portrayal of the company and likelihood of success.

Why is my energy bill wrong?

It is always more likely that your calculations are wrong and not those of your energy supplier – so double check your working! Energy suppliers do get it wrong sometimes, and this can be for a multitude of reasons. This can include recent changes in address or details, administrative or user errors, or a software malfunction

Who do I contact if my energy bill is wrong?

If you think your energy bill is incorrect – then contact your supplier as soon as possible to try and sort the issue and save some cash!

Temporary Builders Supplies – Post COVID

Temporary Builders’ Supplies – Why is there a need?

When carrying out construction work, you will likely need to organise a temporary water or electricity supply. A lot of construction work, both internal and external from a building, can only go ahead with electricity to power tools and equipment. It is often too costly or simply not feasible to proceed without this. Supplies of electricity and water are not just needed for construction to go ahead, but also for powering any temporary office buildings or providing accommodation with safe water.

Some reasons why you may need a temporary electricity or water supply:

  • Building a new property and electricity is needed for construction tools, equipment, and lighting.
  • Temporary onsite generators, accommodation, or cabins need power.
  • Building or renovating a new property and power is needed for any machinery, lighting, site offices.
  • Building is being demolished and temporary power is needed to complete demolition, or for the following build.

It is likely that if you are planning a full demolition followed by a new construction that you will need to remove your existing electricity meter and convert into a temporary supply. Following demolition or construction work, the temporary connection can be converted back into a permanent supply with a meter reinstall.

Not all temporary supplies are the same – why?

The main differentiation between services required usually comes from the scale and nature of a project. Because of this, there are two main customer groups to be aware of (it is likely that you will fit into one of these groups).

The first group are those looking for a small temporary builders’ supply. This group will mainly consist of smaller domestic customers, completing work mainly on residential or small businesses. Overall power demands range from low to average.

The second group are those looking for a large temporary business supply, often for large-scale construction, demolition, or renovation projects. This group will mainly consist of large-businesses who require vast quantities of power.

Small temporary builders supply – about

You should apply for this type of temporary supply if:

  • Power is needed during small scale construction project for basic tools and lighting.
  • Power is needed for a small temporary building such as a site cabin.
  • Power is needed to bridge the gap between demolition and construction.

If you fall into this category then we have some good news for you, most temporary supplies are very straight-forward to organise when compared to larger customers. By following our 8-step guide located later on in this article you will be able to tackle this job easily.

Large temporary business supply – about

You should apply for this type of temporary supply if:

  • You are undertaking a large or multi-unit project.
  • Power is needed for site office(s).
  • Power is needed for heavy machinery or extensive lighting.

You will still be able to use our 8-step guide to help you as the steps for coordinating both supply types are very similar. There are additional requirements for business customers of this size that you will need to be made aware of – like agreeance upon a Meter Operator contract (MOP).

Important information to know for customers looking to organise a large temporary business supply

This list is not exhaustive and will vary slightly dependant on the provider. This list should be treated as a starting point to help customers who are dealing with an entirely new topic. Domestic customers will be able to use this list too, ignoring any information that does not apply to them.

  1. Site address: Find the full address of the location that the work will be undertaken.
  2. Contact info: Provide a contact name, telephone number, and e-mail that you can be reached at.
  3. MPAN number: MPAN stands for Meter Point Administration Number and will be issued when you request a new electricity supply. If you have an existing supply, you will already have an MPAN number – try looking for it on your billing invoices. If you do not have an MPAN, or haven’t applied for one yet – don’t worry.
  4. Preferred meter install date: The preferred date for your electricity supplier to install your meter. This date should allow plenty of time to be completed on construction project, cable installation, and a little leeway for timings. (Construction projects are notoriously difficult to accurately estimate timeframe for).
  5. Preferred meter type: If you would like to take advantage of day/night contracts, or sub-meter different areas of your premises then now is the time to say so!
  6. Confirm the nature of supply: Confirm with your distributor whether your supply is whole current (WC), current transformer (CT) etc.
  7. Calculate AQ: It is important to provide an estimate of annual consumption quantity, especially for large projects. If you are unsure on where to look then try starting with previous billing (if applicable) or any business data you have access to. If you are still unsure on how to tackle this then get in contact with either your agreed energy supplier.
  8. ASC: This stands for authorised supply capacity – and will be set by the distribution company. Try look within the connection agreement with the distributor for this figure (It will be in kVa).
  9. Site plan: For larger projects it is important to provide as much detail as possible to any contractors hired to complete work. This is both for safety and simply due to common curtesy.

I have found a company to complete work on a temporary/permanent supply – what are the steps I should follow?

Most companies will follow the same process for installing a new electricity supply at your premises. There will be variation in price between businesses offering this service, but the overall process from start to finish will remain very similar. We have included a table below on what to expect from enquiry, to installation.

StepActionDescription
1EnquiryGet in touch with a company online, over the phone, or in person.
2ApplicationApply using a new connection form or through business directly.
3QuoteReceive an estimation for the price of work.
4PaymentAccept or refuse quote and send payment.
5Choose Meter SupplierFind an electricity supplier and provide them with relevant information.
6Agree Installation DateAgree installation date with electricity supplier.
7Complete InstallationCompleted work for installation of electricity supply.
8Meter InstallationYour electricity supplier will install your meter and begin supply of electricity.

Who should I contact to organise a temporary supply?

Luckily at Energy Solutions, we have well over twenty years of experience in the energy procurement sector. During this time we have had the privilege of working alongside builders and M&E consultants to deliver the absolute best quality of service for customers looking to upgrade, disconnect, or set up a new utilities supply. We recognise other experts at the top of their field, and enjoy collaborating and growing professional relationships.

We can arrange changes to electricity (Single Phase, Three Phase, Half Hourly and High Voltage), gas (all supply sizes from domestic to heavy industrial) and water supplies – as well as new supply points. If you are looking for a business to provide a temporary supply at incredible rates while maintaining outstanding customer support get in touch.

If you would like to arrange a quotation then please use our online webform or e-mail us at: nick@energybrokers.co.uk

Even if you would just like a quick chat regarding our services and what we offer, feel free to give us a call at: 0131 610 1688

We look forward to hearing from you!

Common Questions

What are temporary builders’ supplies?

In this context – it refers to a temporary electricity supply to a premise that is needed for construction to take place.

Why do builders need temporary supplies?

Builders rely on electricity to power a lot of their equipment – setting up a temporary supply allows for work to begin without installing a permanent electricity supply.

A temporary mains electric supply is not available at my premises, what do I so?

Not to panic – just because you are not able to set up a temporary mains supply does not mean you will be left without electricity. We are able to offer rental of generators or explore alternative options. Enquire to find out more.

What happens to my temporary supply once building work has finished?

In most scenarios – the temporary supply will be converted into a permanent supply as you approach the end of your construction project. Otherwise, it can be removed.

Why would I ever need a temporary supply?

There are dozens of reasons – for both domestic and business customers. Construction projects will require electricity to power lighting, tools, generators, accommodation, cabins, utilities, temporary offices. It is unlikely there will be an existing electricity supply for new builds, or any usable supplies for demolitions etc.