New report shows huge rise in British businesses using flexible demand to cut bills

Our new Energy Matters report reveals that there has been a stunning rise in the number of retail and food and drink manufacturers offering flexible energy demand, or demand side response (DSR).

Energy Matters aims to demystify new and proposed pieces of legislation to explain their impact on the bottom line of UK businesses. For this issue, we are focusing on how developments in the energy market will impact the business world.

We surveyed 100 food and drink manufacturers in companies with 250 or more employees on the rise in the Smart Market. We asked about their ability and willingness to offer more flexibility in when they use electricity, and their interest in providing distributed generation and storage capacity.

The findings were striking. Since we surveyed retail and food and drink businesses last year, there has already been a significant increase in businesses that use DSR to manage their energy spend, with 82% doing so today compared to just 26% last year.

Interestingly, 46% of business believe the move to a low carbon economy is the most important element of the smarter market; nearly twice the number of businesses who believe affordable energy to be central to this (26%). Businesses are clearly becoming greener, and have a growing appetite to reduce their carbon footprints.

A comfortable majority of food and drink businesses (85%) know about the call for evidence on developing a framework to make our energy market smarter, and 70% will be contributing to it. In a finding that will reassure policy makers, a stunning 99% of businesses believe that the expected benefits of introducing a smarter energy market will be worth the investment from government.

The findings come as the government prepares a call for evidence on a “smart” energy market. It is looking to boost incentives for those who can flex their demand at short notice. National Grid has a 2020 target of achieving 30-50% of grid balancing from demand-side sources rather than large power stations, as a number of power stations are taken offline and intermittent generation rises.

David Reed, Head of nBS, is responsible for overseeing the development of energy products, services, and solutions for some of Britain’s largest businesses. He said:

“New technologies and business models allow businesses to take control of their energy management. The food and drink industry for example can use refrigeration load to flex demand, with just a few small on-site additions to the infrastructure, resulting in significant savings.

He added:

“At nBS we are continually innovating to empower our customers. We are the first energy company to develop an in-house DSR aggregation facility, which we will be taking to market in Q4 2016. We aim to become the energy supplier with the widest range of DSR products in the market place, making us first choice for our customers for all things energy.”