Keep An Eye On The Meter: Electricity

From the newsletter, December 1, 2017 On 15th July 2016, this weekly enewsletter introduced the changes to electricity meters (P272), and the introduction of a kVA (kilo-volt-ampere) allowance, which came into force in April of this year.  Changes affected those businesses that had Maximum Demand meters which were then changed to a Half Hourly (HH) supply. This resulted in a new charge being added to electricity bills called an Availability or Capacity Charge. Those businesses not currently on an HH supply will soon be brought into the same charging system and your supplier will contact you with details of their suggested kVA allowance. Essentially this allowance is your Authorised Service Capacity, measured in kVA, and is the level of ‘apparent power’ reserved from the network to guarantee the provision of a certain amount of power to your site. Your supplier will have given you a capacity/kVA amount for your site, depending on their calculations. This level needs to be set just above your maximum demand which, is twice the highest consumption used in any half-hour period recorded in the previous 12 months. If your kVA level is set too high then you will be paying more than you need to for your electricity and if you have more than one site (clubhouse, greenkeeping, irrigation etc.) then the costs of having the wrong kVA levels will soon add up. On the other hand, if your kVA level is set to low you could be charged for excess capacity which will appear on your bill as an Excess Availability/Capacity Charge. The price of this charge is currently the same as the Availability/ Capacity Charge but will be increased above that from 1st April 2018. Challenging your kVA allowance with your supplier is possible but can be confusing and time-consuming, even if you understand the subject in the first place! However, there are companies who will carry this out for you, albeit at a price, and you may well be experiencing unsolicited calls about this already. If you currently arrange your electricity through an agent or buying group, then it may be worth contacting them to enquire about your kVA charge. Otherwise, if you do employ the services of a specialist company then all the usual steps should be taken to ensure they are reliable and trustworthy.
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