"The pot calling the kettle black" is an idiom used to claim that a person is guilty of the very thing of which they accuse another.

So why do you find the consultant calling the broker black?

Well, to be honest, in the energy sector the word 'broker' has become an overused word that has on occasion represented dishonesty. We actually avoid entering awards such as 'broker of the year' to avoid association with this. I'm sure this statement is going to upset a few 'brokers' but then there are some very good brokers out there it's just a few that we've come across that are ruining it for the good ones.

However, are consultants any better? Well of course not. You'll be aware that you can change your company name and trade as anything you want so the important thing to remember here is what is the actual relationship between you and them? Where is money earned in the relationship? & what makes your chosen third party just that ? do they do a really good service or offer particularly good value for money or is it that they've helped you in difficult circumstances.

The answer should always 'boil down' to a 4 simple things:

A clear transparent relationship.

A return on investment.

An improvement to an in-house procedure (could simply be time, expertise, service levels, or higher returns).

Who is taking the risk on the markets; is a new way of purchasing or energy management been offered?

Once you know exactly how the industry works and you've gained the transparency in point (1), you can measure (2), see whether it gives you what you need in (3) and then decide on when to replace your current set-up with a new one as it enters the market at (4).

We're taking new clients through the process ourselves to make sure they can see the value and we set the relationship up correctly. This way, we can do exactly the right thing by the client and their business. Sometimes competition in complex sectors can be un-healthy as well as healthy. A number of times we've found it to encourage competitors to represent offers in a way that skews the result in their favour; despite the offer not being the best for the business.

Taking control of energy in your business means understanding the relationships you are entering into first.