In our everyday lives we like to be given a choice. We operate in a capitalist society where choices drive markets. We take it for granted until this freedom of choice is threatened and then we may even go to war over it. For the small choices, we all have our own selfish or altruistic criteria, mostly a bit of both. When I go to the supermarket to choose my breakfast cereal, my criteria is based on least calories for the largest portion and I secretly hope that the lard laden option will suffer as a result of my more healthy purchase.
To move it up a notch, this year is 'new car year' in our house where my husband can replace his old company car with a new company car - this choice is, for him, bliss. Although the car isn't due for a change until November, the tyre kicking and review reading has begun, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Choice is good, enjoyable even.
On a more national scale, I am happy to enter into a collective choice with my neighbours to choose a political representative that roughly represents the views of my community, who in turn will enter, on our behalf, the biggest 'Choosing Place' of them all: The Houses of Parliament.
What about choosing other items? I'm thinking critical services, education, health. Do you want this choice? Are you qualified to make it? We have certainly managed to live reasonably happily without having to make these choices in the past, previously we left it to our representatives in 'The Choosing House'. However, we can now select our children's school, although you might not get your first selection; this culminates in some 'school swatting' and a lot of school gate gossiping and a 'hope for the best' scenario. Yet, it's a choice we are asked to make, and we do.
So, what about the choices affecting your business when it comes to energy? Was this something you used to lie awake grinding your teeth about because this choice was not open to you? (I thought not). Did you worry about the rising cost of your energy? Probably.
The choice you didn't get to make was between a publicly funded monopoly or privately funded business, that one was made by 'The Choosing House', but as that has already been implemented on your behalf, there is now a whole world of decisions that you are now entitled to make that can affect your day to day energy running costs and new connections.
Within the day to day management of your energy needs, there are a host of choices to be made. Most of which, unless you are properly advised, will follow the gossip at the school gates and hope for the best scenario. For example, if you are constructing a new development you can choose the type of utilities you require: traditional water, gas, electric or perhaps grey water harvesting, combined heat and power and photovoltaic generation, you can select who installs them, who owns them and who operates them.
There are currently 54 active energy suppliers (this excludes the new entrants into the commercial water market), 273 registered electricity utility infrastructure providers, 131 registered gas utility installers and 155 registered water self lay operators in the market place at the moment.
The possibilities are endless, just like the car, but unfortunately maybe not as satisfying.
So how do you rate your energy supplier in the grand scheme of things; breakfast cereal, new car, school?
It's not life changing but it is life altering. It will make a difference to your budget, it's a long-term commitment and you want to know you have made the right choice. How do you know that you've make the right choice?
Let us be your 'Choosing Place'.
For information on how the connections team at amber can help your business, drop Sara a line: Sara@amberenergy.net
Sources: Corporate Watch WeOwnIt House of Commons Briefing Paper 8081 Oct 2017 Lloyds GIRS,WIRs and NERS register