By Graham Cooke, CEO, Zenergi
An energy consultant can help you to understand your expenditure, inform you about market information, and advise you on purchasing strategies and value for money energy supply contract options, usually helping to save you money in the long term.
However, in this competitive market not all energy consultants work in the same way or offer the same services.
Since energy costs can account for a substantial proportion of a school or college’s overheads, it is critical you manage your processes very carefully.
Eight indications that the broker you are dealing with may not be what they seem
An overly assertive manner
If you feel that you are being pressured into signing a contract, consider whether you are being hurried into a decision because the consultant has something to hide and wants to get everything finalised before you have a chance to find out what it is.
We do not recommend entering into a verbal agreement with an energy consultant. You should always have a clear written illustration of the rates, supplier options and terms and conditions of any contract you are signing.
A dubious online presence
Online reviews aren’t always what they seem and fake testimonies can be added to mask complaints from genuine clients. It is always worth digging a little deeper to gain a full insight on the company you are considering working with.
A lack of transparency and information
It is essential to have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of any contract you are entering into; always ask for a full breakdown of all applicable prices that are going to impact your budgets and do not simply rely on the analysis provided.
Phone calls purporting to be from a supplier are used as an underhand tactic to pressure the customer and hurry them into signing a contract. These phone calls could falsely claim that the client will incur out-of-contract charges, or expensive tariffs if they do not sign the contract within a certain timeframe.
Claims that services are free
Energy brokers do not work for free and any who claim to do so should be questioned. It is likely they are recovering fees that are above an acceptable rate.
Comparing apples with pears
It is not uncommon for an inferior supply product to be promoted by some consultants, whereby unit rates are ‘broken down’ and only some elements of the proposal used. When compared with other proposals, which may have fully inclusive prices, they appear significantly cheaper than those of their competitors. If there is a significant difference in proposed costs then something is not right.
A lack of notice prior to your renewal
We often hear of brokers giving only a few weeks’ notice which can pressure customers into renewing with them, or worse, no notice period at all and an automatic renewal. You should always have a minimum of three to six months’ notice to allow you the opportunity to explore the market and consider other options, rather than feel obliged to make a hurried decision to avoid rolling into out of contract rates.
These points are included in our article published on our website here
, which also includes a list of eight key questions to ask any potential energy consultant you are considering engaging to help ascertain if it is the right fit for your organisation.
Zenergi is an ASCL Preferred Supplier. Find out more about how Zenergi can help secure the best value energy contract for your organisation here
Zenergi is event sponsor for the ASCL Conference for Business Leaders on 8 – 11 June. Find out more about this event here