Energy Procurement Factsheet

By Claire Buckley, Director Energy and Environment, Julie's Bicycle

Green Tariff Electricity

There are a number of more sustainable options for energy procurement:

  • Buy ‘green tariff’ electricity from your current provider. Green tariffs are sometimes more expensive than standard tariffs, but if your organisation can afford to do this, you will be contributing to increasing the market demand for greener energy and pushing the ‘big six’ energy companies (i.e. British Gas, E.ON, EDF, Npower, Scottish & Southern, Scottish Power Business) to meet their legal obligation to source an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources each year.
  • Switch to a 100% renewable energy provider such as Good Energy, Ecotricity or Green Energy. While the ‘big six’ provide a mix of ‘brown’ (fossil-fuel based, e.g. coal) and ‘green’ (renewably sourced, e.g. wind or solar) electricity, there are a number of companies that provide 100% renewable energy, which tend to contribute to renewable energy generation in a more ethical and innovative way.
  • If your landlord has control over your electricity supply, ask them to switch to one of the above.

Joint Energy Procurement

An emerging option is that of joining together with a number of other organisations to negotiate joint energy procurement. This will only mean a more sustainable supply, if the organisations involved are jointly procuring ‘green tariff’ electricity or from a 100% renewable energy provider. Otherwise the main advantages of this approach are more cost and risk related, by securing a better price over a longer-time period. However it can free up an organisation’s resources for investing in energy savings measures or onsite energy generation.

‘Arts Basket’ Case Study

The National Theatre, Royal Opera House and the Royal Albert Hall have been collaborating to form an ‘Arts Basket’ for the purchase of electricity, and subsequently gas, working with the energy broker Power Efficiency. A contract for what is known as ‘joint flexed purchase’ of electricity has been signed for three years starting October 2012. Under the contract, Power Efficiency will monitor the wholesale markets and when indicated by the risk strategy will purchase electricity. Power Efficiency will buy if prices rise or fall by an agreed percentage to ensure certainty of price. In a market where prices are falling, Power Efficiency may advise to unlock (sell purchased electricity back to the market) and relock (buy) at a lower price. Some of The Theatre Trusts’ Ecovenues are already joining the ‘Arts Basket’ and other arts organisations are welcome to join the ‘Arts Basket’, as long as they can provide half hourly meter data. For further information and contact details for enquiries about joining see the Power efficiency website.

Arts Council England Energy Procurement Frameworks

In August 2012, Arts Council England announced a new service to give arts and culture organisations access to lower energy costs by joining the Government Procurement Service’s (GPS) energy procurement frameworks. The service is open to all not-for-profit arts organisations, museums, galleries and libraries, whether funded by Art Council England or not.

In purchasing energy through GPS, organisations will also have access to a number of energy reduction services, such as automated meter reading and IT power management. GPS is an executive agency of the Cabinet Office, responsible for delivering efficiency savings to the public sector through procurement. It is the largest aggregated energy buyer in the UK, spending £1.4 billion purchasing gas and electricity directly from the wholesale energy market, with more than 1,400 energy customers.

GPS energy frameworks are open to any arts organisation, museum, gallery and library, whether funded by Art Council England or not. To be eligible an organisation must be based in the United Kingdom and one of the following types of organisation:

  • Limited companies registered at Companies House (including individuals trading as a Limited Company);
  • Community Interest Companies registered with the CIC Regulator;
  • Charities or Trusts registered with the Charity Commission;
  • Limited Liability Partnerships registered at Companies House;
  • Partnerships established under a Deed of Partnership;
  • Industrial and Provident Societies or Community Benefit Societies subject to regulation by the FSA;
  • Royal Charter Companies;
  • Statutory Bodies.

The following are not eligible: an organisation aimed at making a profit to be distributed to members or shareholders and an individual. For further information on who can apply and the conditions see the ACE website and GPS website.

Government Initiatives for Consumers and Local Authorities

The Government has been working to build momentum behind collective purchasing in the UK over the last year. Its focus has been more on the consumer side – individuals and households - and energy suppliers, but the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has more recently agreed to work with the Local Government Association on developing advice for Local Authorities interested in collective purchasing. For information see DECC’s May 2012 press notice on collective purchasing and its collective purchasing and switching working group recommendations.

Energy Procurement Guide

  • 3 Pages
  • Size 608KB
  • Language: English
  • Published: 2012
Sustaining Creativity