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Jessica Nicholas, Nicholas Electrical, East Grinstead
Billing & Tariffs
Reviewing the particulars of energy tariffs can often identify immediate opportunities for cost savings.
So found several businesses that took part in the Energy Efficient East Sussex programme, which was funded by East Sussex County Council and offered free Energy Audits and grant funding to install energy efficiency measures.
Authorised Capacity Availability Charge
Similar to most large electricity users, Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, pays a monthly Authorised Capacity Availability Charge; a payment to guarantee a certain amount of electricity is always available for the building at any point in time.
In the gallery’s case this was 0.976 p/kVA/month, which for a guaranteed capacity of 320 kVA cost £3,750 per year.
Reviewing a full year’s electricity bills, the Maximum Demand at the gallery (the most electricity used at any one point in time) was only 141 kVA. They therefore reduced the authorised capacity to 230 kVA, saving £1,050 per year (whilst still leaving sufficient spare capacity should activities change and electricity consumption increase).
At Marshview Care Home in Hailsham, the Energy Auditor spotted that full rate VAT (20%) and the Climate Change Levy (CCL) were being paid on electricity supplied to the site.
As the electricity was being used for ‘domestic use’ however, the care home was eligible to pay reduced rate VAT (5%) and for an exemption from the CCL. Not being VAT registered, this equated to a saving of £400 per year.
De Minimis Supply
Even if for business use, reduced rate VAT can be paid on all fuel and power supplies that are below a ‘de minimis’ limit. For electricity the threshold is 1,000 kWh per month and for natural gas it is 4,397 kWh per month. The correct rate should automatically be used on your bill.
This provided additional incentive for Eastbourne Heritage Centre to replace halogen lighting with LEDs, for which they received a £1,000 grant towards the cost. Previously their monthly electricity usage had averaged at 1,013 kWh, just above the limit!
Energy Efficient East Sussex helped SMEs reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by over 150 tonnes. It was delivered by the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC.