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How to future-proof your energy supply

Writing for The Future of Energy report, published in The Times newspaper, Tim Wynn-Jones of Centrica Business Solutions, explains how organisations can create an energy-resilient tomorrow.

How to future-proof your energy supply

Writing for The Future of Energy report, published in The Times newspaper, Tim Wynn-Jones of Centrica Business Solutions, explains how organisations can create an energy-resilient tomorrow.

Failure to prepare

The article draws on research from Centrica Business Solutions, which shows that UK businesses are not prepared for the increasingly likely event of energy disruption.

A survey undertaken for Centrica's Resilience Report shows that 81% of UK businesses experienced an energy-related failure during the previous 12 months. Although this had caused unscheduled downtime for 39% of these organisations, only 18% had a formal energy resilience strategy in place.

High risk

"While there are many worst-case scenarios in business crisis management, an energy-related failure ranks among the most frequent and most damaging, yet it remains one of the least well prepared for", writes Tim Wynn-Jones.

The lack of preparation by UK businesses is all the more alarming since Centrica's resilience report shows that businesses are risking 17 per cent of their revenue by failing to plan for disruption.

Become an energy producer

Becoming an energy generator rather than an energy consumer that relies on an uninterrupted power supply from a single source provider, is the way forward, advises Wynn-Jones. He also stresses the importance of making the energy go much further through prioritising energy efficiency measures.

Preventing equipment breakdown and downtime

Ageing and poorly maintained equipment is one of the most common cause of energy-related failure, he writes. "But maintaining every piece of equipment and machinery so that it remains in peak working order is an absurdly expensive way for any large organisation to prevent breakdowns."

One solution he offers is equipment-level monitoring via Centrica's Panoramic Power technology. By attaching sensors to energy-using equipment and analysing that real-time data, energy consumption can be tracked at a granular level and equipment failures can be spotted before they actually happen. This is proven to reduce maintenance costs, prevent unscheduled downtime and achieve savings in excess of 50%.

Combined heat and power

Combined heat and power (CHP) is another highly effective energy resilience strategy,  reports Wynn-Jones. Not only does this reduce reliance on the grid, it is also highly efficient as instead of wasting heat as in conventional power generation, it is captured to provide a cost effective heat supply.

The cost saving potential of CHP is becoming more impressive, he argues. This is due to the low price of the gas input fuel, compared to electricity purchase costs, and CHP's ability to mitigate non-commodity energy costs, which now make up more than half of an electricity bill.

Learn more about how Centrica Business Solutions can help your organisation to become more energy resilient.