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Words by Paul Linnane, Head of EMI

Earlier this year, when COVID-19 started spreading in the UK and the government issued guidance to lock down, ElectraLink began monitoring the downturn in industrial and commercial electricity consumption.

This shows just one area of the economy where the pandemic has impacted nearly all UK businesses in ways we could never have predicted this time last year.

As the country re-adjusts to the incoming new normal, many businesses are taking the opportunity to switch energy supplier or re-negotiate the energy deal they are on.

Recovery of UK economy showing as switches completed starts increasing in June

However, estimating energy usage to get the correct price quotes for energy deals is already difficult. There is no such thing as an “average” business. Even worse, given all the instability, previous methods are now often incorrect or not representative of properties’ expected usage. This is making it particularly difficult for SMEs trying to find better rates to manage their cost base during this period of uncertainty. But why is this happening?

The devil’s in the data

Two years ago, ElectraLink began providing data to suppliers, PCWs and TPIs to help improve the processes and experience of switching supplier and signing up to new energy deals. We do this through a tool called QuoteRight which sits on our Energy Market Data Hub (EMDH).

Underpinning this service is energy settlement data which central industry bodies use to anticipate electricity consumption of properties.

However, the industry-wide algorithms that generate this settlement data were never designed to account for the peculiarities in energy usage patterns that have occurred due to the varied impact of the lockdown across the country and between distinctive sectors.

In specific instances where customers have provided meter readings during the lockdown, businesses are indicating reduced – and in many instances zero – predicted consumption.

This is creating obstacles for switching. So, how are we helping?

QuoteRight API to the rescue

Following customer feedback, ElectraLink has rapidly created an additional API service for our current QuoteRight customers to help them temporarily solve this problem until the world settles into the new normal.

In addition to current industry-predicted consumption, ElectraLink is now also providing the predicted consumption of a property prior to lockdown. This will support TPIs, suppliers and PCWs, and enable them to better serve their customers and provide the right energy solutions for UK businesses.

If you are a current QuoteRight customer, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] if this API solution can help you.

If you would like to sign up to use QuoteRight to improve the accuracy of consumption forecasting, please get in touch with me or visit the QuoteRight page to find out more.