Issue #17 - The Energy Issue ⚡🔥

Why are energy prices so high? | A sweet-like-chocolate small business story | What to do if your energy supplier goes bust | Words | Tunes | Podcasts | More

🦾 G O

Gas. Gas. Gas. 👆

If you’ve caught just even a second of the news this week, you’ll know that energy prices are going through the roof.

It’s an unprecedented situation and one we’re going to do our best to explain in this issue.

And if you stuck around to catch a bit more of the news this week, you’ll probably have heard that a number of energy suppliers have gone bust, while others are teetering on the brink.

So we’re also going to take a look at what to do if your energy supplier goes bust

Let’s skip the small talk and get straight into Issue #16 of The Backbone - The Energy Issue…

But first, a relatively topical energy-related joke to lighten the mood a bit…

…we’ll get our coats…


📰 N E W S

Why are energy prices rising? 💡

Energy prices are through the going through the roof. And it’s not all down to energy companies simply pushing up prices or the effects of Brexit, it’s the result of a perfect storm that’s been brewing for over a year.

Here’s what’s been happening…

  • 🥶 Gas shortages across Europe, caused by a prolonged cold winter over 2020 and 2021 that drained natural gas storage.

  • 🚢 A high demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Asia leading to lower LNG shipments to Europe.

  • 🔥 Delays and complications to the Nord Stream 2 pipelines, which is an $11 billion link across the Baltic Sea with the capacity to send 55 billion cubic metres of gas a year directly from Russia to Europe, bypassing Ukraine (hence the complications).

  • 🍃 Low winds resulting in lower renewable energy generation. This, coupled with outages at some nuclear power stations, means that a higher percentage of our electricity generation is using gas during its production. This creates a greater demand for gas and pushes prices up further.

Then there's the fire at a National Grid site in Kent that knocked out a power cable that runs between England and France and is used to import electricity from the continent. National Grid has said this could cut the amount of electricity available to the network until October 13.

The problem with low gas reserves can even be traced all the way back to 2017 when the decision was made to close the UK’s largest gas storage plant. Although it was closed due to safety concerns, it was not considered cost-effective to rebuild or refurbish the site, even though there were warnings that we could be hit with more volatile winter gas prices as we become more and more dependent on energy imports.

And then we have the knock-on effect of the pandemic. Many countries have been emerging from the pandemic more quickly than expected, particularly across Asia, which has led to a huge increase in demand - hence the reason why those LNG shipments are going to Asia and not Europe.

Energy suppliers have also lost a lot of money through ‘bad debt’ over the last 18 months because people have simply been unable to pay their energy bills. One of the reasons Ofgem increased the energy price cap was to help suppliers get back some of this lost revenue. Although the cap only applies to domestic standard variable rate tariffs, an increase in the level of the cap is usually matched by rate rises across the board.

That’s pretty much why energy prices are rising so sharply, but what can you do about it?

Sadly, there’s not much you can do about the price rises, so it’s just a case of sitting tight. If you’re struggling to pay your business energy bills, don’t ignore the issue as it’ll just get worse. Instead, get in touch with your supplier as soon as possible and try to arrange a repayment plan. There’s more info at Citizens Advice.

If you’re struggling with domestic bills, you should also get in touch with your supplier. And it’s worth checking to see if you’re eligible for any grants and benefits to help cover your utility bills. Again, there’s more info at Citizens Advice.

One of the major problems for consumers right now is that prices are currently so high that it’s doubtful you’ll save money by switching. Some suppliers have even pulled out of the market temporarily.

Here at Bionic, we’re currently busy working with suppliers to find a solution, so watch this space.

If you have any concerns or questions about your energy deal give us a call on 0800 156 0899.

For more information on what affects energy prices, check out this guide.

For some useful energy efficiency tips, check out 11 simple ways to help your small business save energy today.

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📊 B U S I N E S S

Get your business costs sorted 💷

Our tech-enabled team will answer all your questions in simple terms, and help you find the best deal on business energy, insurance, phone, broadband, or finance. No jargon. No-fuss. #BeABionicBusiness 🦾

Get business utilities sorted

Check out more ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Trustpilot reviews


🗣  S H O U T O U T

#BionicBusinessStory - Goupie 🍫

Bionic had a chat with Grace Simpson, who helps run her family business Goupie, a delicious sweet treat SME with a difference.

Bionic: How did you start your own small business?

Grace Simpson: “My parents had run a few businesses when I was younger but Goupie actually happened almost by accident, we’d taken some samples to a few local farm shops on a whim, and they’d decided to order some.”

“We kind of had to scramble a bit then to design packaging and make it look like a product to sell, the business grew quite naturally after that.”

B: What’s unique about your business?

GS: “Goupie is something my grandmother always used to make, it’s sort of like a unique chocolate texture, like a mix between a tiffin and a brownie”

B: What’s been your proudest achievement?

GS: “We’ve been shortlisted for a few awards, so that’s been really great, we’ve won taste awards and sustainability awards too”

B: Is technology important for your business?

GS: “At the start of this business, social media was really the only way we could communicate with our customers because we didn’t have a unit to actually welcome them to. We now have a café, so we feel part of the community here. I think technology is important in any business though.”

To find out more about Goupie and to order some of their tasty treats, have a browse of their online chocolate shop. And hit up their Instagram account to see more of their marvellous creations.

To read more from this #BionicBusinessStory, click on the devilishly moreish chewy chocolate confection below 👇


📩 J O I N

We want to hear about you and your business 🗣

💡 How did you end up running your own business?

😟 As a business owner, what keeps you awake at night?

🤩 What’s your proudest achievement as a business owner?

🤔 What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?

Leave a comment to get involved 👇

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🤝🏻 T I P S

What to do if your energy supplier goes bust? 😐

A staggering 46 energy companies have gone bust over the last five years, with seven going to the wall in the last seven weeks alone. But what should you do if your energy supplier goes bust?

Surprisingly, doing nothing is probably the best thing to do.

If your supplier stops trading, there’ll be no disruption to your energy supply and your power won’t be cut off, so that’s one less thing to worry about. And the Ofgem Safety Net means you’ll automatically be switched to another supplier, known (with some dramatic effect) as the Supplier of Last Resort (SoLR).

If you were in debt with your old supplier, you may have to continue making repayment’s to the administrator. If you were in credit, your balance may be paid back to you by the new supplier, but there’s no guarantee it will be and you may need to get in touch with your old supplier’s administrator to work it out.

You’ll also be free to switch from this deal whenever you want, without getting hit by a penalty fee. Even business customers can switch from their SoLR at any time.

So far, so good.

The trouble is, the tariff you’re shifted to won’t be on the same terms and rates as the one you were on with your old supplier. This means your bills could go up even if you use the same amount of energy as normal.

The standard advice is to not switch until Ofgem has switched you to your SoLR. The reason for this is that switching while the regulator is already switching your account could cause unnecessary complications.

To summarise, if your supplier goes bust, sit tight and wait for Ofgem to switch you to a SoLR. Then give the tech-enabled experts at Bionic a call and see if you can switch to a better business energy deal.

You can find out more at the Ofgem website.

If you have any concerns or questions about your energy deal give us a call on 0800 156 0899.

For a quick recap on what to do if your energy supplier goes bust, check out this short video from our friends over at UKPower.

Think this would be useful for someone you know? Hit the share button 👇

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🗞 R E A D

Who is hit hardest by inflation? While rising prices tend to be bad news for most of us, the way it manifests will be different from group to group.

How inflation will affect pensioners, savers, and small businesses

Financial services firm Aviva, has partnered with business support provider Enterprise Nation and Government-backed campaign Smart Energy GB to launch Plan it With Purpose, an initiative to drive sustainability in the UK.

Campaign aims to help 10,000 UK businesses go green


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🎧 L I S T E N

Playlist

Chosen by Les, Content Manager at Bionic, The Altar playlist is the place to go to find some of the more alternative, underground electronic music, all curated by a selection of DJ’s and artists. 

Podcast

Bionic’s very own James Lomas featured on this week’s edition of The Start-Up Diaries Podcast. Listen as he discusses everything from his vision for the future of Bionic as a tech-centric business to flexible working and how treating employees as adults can lead to a more diverse workforce 🦾


🔥 H A S H T A G

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Get involved by using the hashtags #BeABionicBusiness and #BionicBusinessStory.


🏡 H O U S E K E E P I N G

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🚫 S T O P

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