Utilitywise alternative Christmas message

Utilitywise alternative Christmas message

Next week people will be gathered around their Christmas trees enjoying the festive period. Before you shut shop for a Bon Noel, however, here’s some things to mull over in terms of your energy use.

Office shut-downs lower energy demand

Closing the office for the last time before Christmas has a huge impact on UK energy demand each year. Like Santa, some businesses will still be working over Christmas, though most will have closed. Energy demand during the Christmas week is typically 10% less than the week before, when UK Plc is still in full swing.

In 2016, over 850GWh less energy was consumed. This is the equivalent of cooking nearly 4 billion Christmas turkeys – not a poultry sum!

The festive season also impacts when energy is used. On a normal December day, peak power demand is around 17:30, when the evening is dark, lights are on, and people are home from work preparing their evening meal. However, at Christmas most of us are sitting around the table in the middle of the day, leaving the evening to watch family-favourite films … or still eating!  This causes a shift in when peak demand occurs to around 13:00 on Christmas Day.

Christmas shutdown 1

Eco-Ho-Ho-Ho-nomical lighting

As you scamper down the high street, in a mad rush to finish your Christmas shopping, you may look up at the Christmas lights and wonder, “Just how much energy do those little iridescent globes of joy consume?” The answer is possibly not as much as you might think, though.

UK energy demand has been dropping steadily over the last few decades. Only a few years ago, it was highlighted that Christmas energy consumption had dropped by a third since 1997. Taking into account more recent data, average Peak demand in December has dropped close to 10GW. This is over three times the output that will come from the planned Hinkley nuclear power station.

Christmas shutdown 2

A proportion of this is down to energy efficiency in the home, including the kind of bulbs used in Christmas lights. Gone are inefficient incandescent lightbulbs in favour of more alternative lighting options, such as LED, which could cut the energy use of your Christmas lights by 75%. If the technology can cut Christmas energy use this much, just imagine how much it could help your business manage and reduce your energy bills!

Expecting a lump of coal?

If you’ve been particularly bad this year, you may find a lump of coal in your stocking – but can you use it anywhere? The UK’s coal fleet has shrunk significantly in the last decade, with forced closures due to environmental legislation, or the technology being priced out of the market.

On Christmas Day in 2012, coal-fired plant was providing nearly 50% of the UK’s electricity. Last Christmas it was only 8%. The Government has stated it wishes to close the remaining coal-fired plant by 2025.

Contrary to comments made by EDF Energy Chief, Monsieur De Rivaz, we will not be cooking the turkey this Christmas with energy from the planned Hinkley nuclear power plant. However, the technology has been providing a large part of our Christmas energy needs – around 30% over the last few years.

Increasingly though, the Brussel sprouts are being boiled by more and more renewable energy. While gas is meeting around 20% of the Christmas energy demand, wind has risen sharply. Five years ago it provided less than 10% of power. In contrast, by 2016 it met nearly a quarter of energy requirements. The ability for renewables to meet winter electricity demand is weather dependent, but it does show the scale of impact it can have on the UK’s energy mix.

Christmas shutdown 3

Unwrap your energy savings potential

So, if you’re shutting down your business over the festive period, remember to:

  • Make sure all non-vital equipment is turned off.
  • Take meter readings.

All PC’s, lights, air conditioners – anything that is not needed when people are not in the building – should be switched off. Otherwise, you may find an unwelcome present in your energy bills.

When you reopen your business in the New Year, take your metering readings again – this will help to ensure there’s no unexpected energy use or water leaks.

Let 2018 be your most energy efficient year! To find out more about how Utilitywise can help you lower your energy consumption and bills you can call us on 01527 511 757, or email corporate@utilitywise.com.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Ross Moffat

Posted by on Wednesday, the 20. December at 15.18

Ross Moffat has been a part of the Market Intelligence team at Utilitywise since early 2014. His responsibilities include delivering Market Intelligence reports to clients and managing the Utility Insights Twitter account. Ross has a first class Honours degree in Business and Marketing from the University of Stirling.