Why UK businesses are switching supplier

The latest news from Energy UK is that more than 660,000 customers switched their electricity supplier in February 2018; a 60 per cent rise on February 2017. This is the highest number yet, according to industry figures, which reference both home owners and business customers. The trade association also said that the figure continues to rise, as over a million customers have switched so far (12 March) this year.

Energy UK cited one reason as the cold weather during the month, and another reason for the record number of switchers as the publicity campaigns by suppliers and switching websites. Read between the lines: businesses want to save money!

Interestingly, a fifth of the switches in February were away from the so-called Big Six energy firms to smaller or mid-sized suppliers, and according to Ofgem; the biggest savings are achieved by moving from the expensive standard variable tariffs to cheaper fixed-term deals.

Like so many other businesses, are you thinking about switching energy supplier in order to save money? Fortunately, recent changes to legislation mean that this switching window (and the rules surrounding it) has been altered, giving businesses more leeway.

The new rules mean switching windows have effectively been abolished. As such, businesses are free to inform their current supplier that they’d like to switch – and free to arrange that switch – at any point from the beginning of a contract up to 30 days before it expired (the notice period, mentioned above).

What’s more, the process of rolling businesses onto more expensive contracts – and tying them into these contracts if they hadn’t arranged a switch or renewal – has been stopped.

To take full advantage of these freedoms, read “Switching your business energy supplier” and contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc if you have any practical energy queries relating to your home or business.

Source: bbc.co.uk – “Record numbers switching electricity supplier

 
Posted on 25 March 2018 under: News
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Top business trends for small businesses in 2018

When planning your business strategy for the year it’s important to affiliate your goals with current industry trends. Technological advances, hiring practices and marketing strategies, for example, will all have an effect on the ambitions you have for your company and how you go about achieving them. Have a look at these topical business trends as you rethink your strategy for the forthcoming year:

Micro-influencer marketing – Micro-influencers are influencers with less than 100K followers, who can actually be a more effective marketing tool for your small business (as opposed to macro-influencers) as they have a more attainable lifestyle, and are thus easier for your target audience to relate to. It might be worth reaching out to this type of influencer as a marketing partner in 2018?

Artificial Intelligence – AI is the next big thing, everyone’s talking about it. If predictions are correct – that by 2020 AI will be a top five investment priority – then it’s time to start strategising. As a small business owner, this could mean investing in data collection, integrating AI into your small business and training your team for AI.

Cashless payments – While cash is currently the most popular means of payment, mobile payment is on the rise (and checks on the decrease), with 56 per cent of customers likely to pay in this way by 2020. Your business can keep up to date by adopting mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay; also offering in-app, in-browser and person-to-person (P2P) payment platforms.

Outsourcing – A growing trend, outsourcing is particularly useful for small businesses, which can outsource work in areas that are beyond allocated expertise – a bookkeeper, accountant, marketing strategist or social media manager are all examples of some such skills that might thrive on a pay-as-you-go hiring initiative.

Hiring ‘Gen Z’ employees – Born after 1998, Gen Z is making its presence known in the workforce but unlike ‘needy’ Millennials, Gen Z is more likely to be motivated by a steady salary than the pursuit of happiness, and will adapt quickly to technological advances (more so than any other previous generation).

Employees working remotely – This has the potential to save your small business money, as a result of an increase in employee productivity and a decrease in employee turnover (as per resent research).

For more information on any of these topics as well as other business trends to watch out for this year, read “10 Small Business Trends to Watch Out for in 2018” – Huffingtonpost.com.

Contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.co.uk if you have any energy queries relating to your home or business.

 
Posted on 25 February 2018 under: News
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How energy efficient lighting can save your business money

We might be on our way to summer but in spite of the fact that days are getting lighter we’ll be using lights for a while yet because let’s face it; the days are still dark (morning and evening especially). But that doesn’t mean we can’t be thrifty!

Lights left on at night and a lack of attention to the number and placement of fittings in an office or business premises can not only be the cause of light pollution (no, really!) but is likely to hike energy costs way beyond what is necessary.

According to the buffs at the Energy Saving Trust; for the individual business, a lighting upgrade can bring quick payback. On average, 25 per cent of an organisation’s electricity costs come from lighting but a switch to lower-consuming LEDs can reduce this amount, in some cases by as much as 80 per cent.

A further benefit of LED lighting (as opposed to other options) is the controllability factor, which is great in an office where, for example, lights left on when everyone has gone home can be dimmed or even fully switched off remotely to make huge savings on overheads.

Whether you’re a coffee shop, a school, an office block or the local Oxfam, the benefits of LED lighting are tantamount to exceptional savings. Businesses and many local authorities are currently engaged in LED upgrades, and if you’d like to find out more the Energy Trust is running a series of workshops in 2018 through the Premium Light Pro project. The workshops aim to equip installers, planners and decision-makers with the knowledge and tools to drive an LED upgrade plan to completion – CLICK HERE to register.

Source: Energytrust.co.uk – “Bringing a brighter start to 2018”

If you’d like further information, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

 
Posted on 24 January 2018 under: News
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Preparing to shut your business for Christmas? Check out these top tips:

For a business owner to well truly relax over Christmas (is there really such a thing?) it’s important to plan for a succinct company closure over the holiday period. Deadlines must be met, work finalised, employees paid…all of the typical things that need to happen at the end of the year. And don’t forget to let your clients know!

But then there’s also the equipment, which must be switched off to enable an easy re-start in the New Year. If an ‘electrical shutdown’ is not done properly, you may face issues on your first day back and this will result in lost productivity…and money! This can easily be avoided with some forward thinking.

To properly shut down your production line (including all equipment such as computers, printers and other machinery as well as data equipment), you’ll need to take into consideration how different pieces of equipment and systems interact…i.e. what happens to A and B when I switch off C? In order to initiate a ‘shut down sequence’ that will ensure you don’t lose/damage important documents or compromise the functionality of your equipment, make sure whoever is manning the closure has a clear understanding of what needs to be turned off first, and thereafter.

Finally, make sure lights are off and plugs turned off at the socket to avoid the electrical charges incurred when products are left on standby.

For more useful hints and tips relating to the shutdown of your business this Christmas, read “Planning and preparing your business for Christmas shut down” on Britishgas.co.uk.

And have a very merry Christmas…from the team at CH Systems!

Contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.co.uk if you have any energy queries relating to your home or business.

 
Posted on 22 December 2017 under: News
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Monitor your energy use with new Baxi technology

For company owners eager to improve the efficiency of the heating technology that drives their business, Baxi’s newly launched smart control solution will certainly pique some interest.
It’s a uSense smart control that can connect to a boiler with a downloadable app that allows users to control heating from a smartphone or table (from anywhere) as well as monitor energy use and costs so optimum money-saving settings can be calculated.

The smart control is compatible with all Baxi combi boilers that make use of the 230V switch live in a drive to provide more efficient technology in line with a growing focus on sustainable heating for homes and businesses.

Baxi has also launched a new combi boiler designed to weigh under 30kg! The Baxi 600 is small enough to fit into a cupboard and comes with new accessory; the Easy-Fill, which allows consumers to easily repressurise their boiler themselves. Perfect for small businesses! Customers will also benefit from a seven-year warranty with Baxi’s newbie.

H&V News writes that Baxi’s announcement of the launch of the new model and smart control solution reflects a broader push from boiler manufacturers to integrate or offer smart controls with their products.

If you’d like further information, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

 
Posted on 25 November 2017 under: News
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Why self-sustaining gyms are on the rise in the workplace

As a business owner, have you ever thought about a self-sustaining gym? As in…you and your employees expend energy and save the business energy with simultaneous effect?

Britishgas.co.uk recently wrote about a health club in Bristol – The Cadbury
Club – that has become one of the first gyms in the world to the ARTIS Technogym machines.

ARTIS uses unique technology that reduces energy use, recycling and renewing energy. The energy expended by people using the equipment is rerouted into the network and renewed to feed the gym – hence the term ‘self-sustaining’ gym.

So, why a gym at work when there’s one around just about every corner? Well – just becausethere are gyms, it doesn’t mean people will use them. A healthy lifestyle may improve workforce productivity and by hosting a gym at work, the ‘convenience factor’ could encourage employees to get fit, which in turn should increase work ethic – exercise produces endorphins aiding employees with more self-confidence and energy. As long as it’s fun and
voluntary.

The idea behind self-powering gym workstations is that you can use them easily to include a ‘little and often’ exercise routine into your normal working day. And if they don’t cost the business money to run…why not?

If self-sustaining gyms take off in the office environment, they could reroute workforce energy to feed the business, not just the gym! Certainly something to think about.

Contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc if you have any energy queries relating to your home or business.

Source: Britishgas.co.uk – “Worlplace workouts: Self-powering gym workstations”

 
Posted on 25 October 2017 under: News
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Five top tips for choosing new office space

Choosing a new office space for your business is exciting but also stressful. There’s a lot of pressure to choose the right space and the move itself can be taxing. Britishgas.co.uk has some great advice on how to choose the best office space for your business:

The first is LOCATION – where will make your business a success? A few questions you could ask yourself include:

  • Is it the right location for my key employees?
  • Is the location convenient for clients?
  • What is the parking situation?
  • Are there amenities nearby?
  • Are there good transport links?

Next on the list is TECHNOLOGY FACILITIES & SUPPORT. Most businesses, whether small or large, cannot function without technology; speedy computers, reliable internet and all the support needed to make business happen. Choose an office that is conducive to the IT needs of your company.

Also consider where your COMPETITORS work – if, for example, you might share a building with your enemies, and whether this could pose a problem.

WORKSPACE is also essential. Is there enough space to accommodate the potential growth of your business? Does the layout work and how much freedom do you have to decorate the office as you would like? Your new office needs to fit the personality of your business and the needs of your employees.

Lastly, the COST. Probably the most annoying aspect of the search for a new office but it’s important to be realistic; what can your business afford? There’s no point putting your business in jeopardy before you’ve even moved!

Think realistically but also remember to accommodate the dreams you have for your business, in your new office space!

Source: Britishgas.co.uk – “Choosing the right office space for your business”

 
Posted on 25 September 2017 under: News
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Why business owners are worried about “switching off”

New research by outsourced communications provider Moneypenny has revealed that millennials are more likely to want time offline than other generational groups.

The amount of time spent with phone and email access is a particular problem for 25-34 year olds, 73 per cent of whom would like time switched off from their devices, compared with 53 per cent of 45-54 year olds, and 40 per cent for over 55s. The survey also revealed that millennials are more proactive than their older work colleagues in trying to spend time disconnected from work: 38 per cent of 25-34s compared with 21 per cent of 45-54s.

And yet in spite of the desire to disconnect there is a persisting worry over the consequences of switching off – a trend shown to be more prevalent in millennial business owners, of whom only 9 per cent were not worried about disconnecting. In the older age group (45-54), 40 per cent of business owners had no worries about time away from technology.

The reason business owners might choose to keep connected even when they’d prefer a break is because they’re concerned they’ll miss customers (22 per cent), that the admin will pile up (21 per cent) or that they’ll be held responsible for something going wrong when offline.

All valid concerns and yet business owners  frequently ignoring their mobiles, with 28 per cent ignoring calls from clients and 56 per cent ignoring calls from friends and family.

Joanna Swash, MD of Moneypenny, commented: “Fortunately there is a wealth of solutions available to ensure business keeps working during the holidays, from virtual PAs to automated answering systems, so there’s no reason to be taking calls from the sun lounger.”

If you have any energy queries relating to your home or business, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Source: Phamnews.co.uk – “MILLENNIALS MOST LIKELY TO SWITCH OFF”

 
Posted on 24 August 2017 under: News
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What if Wimbledon could power your computer?

Federer did it again. Of course he did; the man’s a machine! With eight Wimbledon championships under his belt Roger Federer has broken the record for most championship wins.

It’d be interesting to know exactly how much energy the tennis star has had to produce over the years as he’s wacked his way into the annals of sporting fame. In fact, Britishgas.co.uk has investigated this very idea. OK, not relating to Federer per se; more about the amount of energy generated at Wimbledon from crowds cheering in the stands to tennis pros burning mega calories as they play.

Apparently, men’s finalists burn an average of 2100 calories per championship match; an energy output of over 2.50kWh! A woman’s final produces more than 150kWh. How does this translate practically (hypothetically)?

Well – on average, your laptop computer uses between 50W – 100W when in use, which means that the power of seven men’s finals would generate enough energy to power your laptop for a year! Five men’s finals could keep an LED lightbulb (typically lasting between 20,000 to 50,000 hours) shining for more than two years!

One woman’s final could keep your iPad charged for a year.

Impressed? Just wait. The London marathon – you know it, right? Before the race (which took place on April 23), a total of 253,930 people were expected to participate. With this statistic in mind; if a single participant competing in the marathon uses an equivalent 3.045 kWh of energy, then the total amount of energy consumed by the entire marathon is a mammoth 752.3 mWh.

Imagine your business could employ its own personal Roger Federer or better yet; a team of pro runners, to create enough energy to power the workstations on your premises? Sustainable and cost-effective, surely? Nice to dream. But who knows – we live in a world where anything and everything is possible!

If you have any energy queries relating to your home or business, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Sources: Britishgas.co.uk – “Wimbledon: How much energy can tennis pros generate?” and “The power produced by runners competing in the London Marathon”

 
Posted on 24 July 2017 under: News
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Plumbing advice for business owners moving property

Is your business moving to a new property? If so, it’s important to check that the plumbing, pipes, taps and fittings on the new premises are in proper working order – to avoid time consuming inconvenience and the costs incurred there from.

WaterSafe, the UK national accreditation body for approved plumbers, has created an easy five-step guide to help property owners ensure that their plumbing is in top notch condition. The advice is based on the invaluable experience of the approved Watersafe plumbers who are often the first port of call when there is a problem, and aims to facilitate a smooth transition into a new property. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Find the internal stop tap (usually found where the water supply enters the premises) and make sure it’s working properly and you can turn it on and off easily, in case you need to in an emergency.
  • Check your boiler’s service history – how old it is and how regularly it’s been serviced. If there’s a cold water tank in the attic, make sure it’s clean and that it has a lid fitted.
  • Look out for leaky taps, toilets and radiators. Tell-tale signs to look out for are: loss of pressure, rust, water stains on the walls, floors or carpets, or mould on ceilings and walls.
  • Find out whether the property has lead water pipes – usually a dark matte grey pipe that turns shiny when scraped with a screwdriver. Drinking water that has passed through lead pipes can be harmful so you might want to replace them with copper or plastic ones.
  • Check if there’s a water metre, which could be in the ground outside the front of your house, or inside near the stop tap. If you have a water meter you’ll be charged for the amount of water you use rather than an estimated amount.

If you’d like further information or plumbing advice, feel free to contact the CH Systems team on 0208 302 8149 or info@chsystems.cc.

Sources: Watersafe.org.uk – “Moving home? Our plumbers’ top tips” and “New home? Check your plumbing”.

 
Posted on 25 June 2017 under: News
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