What steps, from the point of view of the shopping centre manager or owner, are most important when optimising electricity purchase costs?
In every conversation with our customers, we always start by explaining that energy prices have several elements - two of them being the cost of electricity itself (sale) and the cost of delivering it through the grid (distribution). On the sales side, the price is mostly influenced by the purchase time (and to some extent by the length of the contract). Buying energy for many properties at the same time, or using companies that buy energy wholesale, has a significant impact on cost reduction. It turns out that for many property owners our most important advice is at the same time the simplest: "check with many suppliers and try to negotiate; do not accept the first price offered by a local supplier". On the distribution side, there are a few points that we draw our customers' attention to. The first step for each owner is to make sure that their ordered power is not higher than actual consumption. Reducing the amount of power you order can significantly increase your savings.
What can be the yearly annual saving from this?
This is a difficult term, as savings will vary depending on the project, energy consumption and type of savings achieved. I can give you an example of a project where we have saved nearly half a million PLN in one year by selling energy at a lower price than at a local distributor and reducing the cost of electricity distribution.
What exactly is the scope of services offered by you?
Our starting point is the client's needs, comprehensive advice on cost optimization and electricity tender processes. We have implemented our distribution model in several locations, and our specialty is to provide property owners with the opportunity to earn money on their electrical infrastructure, often with little or no change in the final price for tenants. Of course, we also sell electricity to our partners at competitive prices.
What makes you able to guarantee more competitive energy rates for your customers?
This is a very good question. The challenge is that it is not always easy. What are the comparison points? Previous years? An offer from a few months ago in a dynamically changing market? A project with a different electricity profile? On the contrary, our "guarantee" is that in the vast majority of cases we can help our partners to achieve better conditions than they could achieve themselves. In a few cases, when our preliminary analysis indicates that we cannot help, we inform our partner about it and the investor does not incur any additional costs.
How important is it, already at the stage of designing a new facility, to pay attention to energy efficiency issues?
We could conduct a separate interview focused on this single topic, so I will try to answer briefly. Already at the design stage we consult with our partners who are building new facilities. Many of the issues related to electricity have to be solved by the investor from the business side. For example, by paying more for better glazing or roof of the building, they can significantly reduce current heating and electricity costs for tenants. Mechanical installations usually generate the highest electricity consumption in commercial buildings, in order to have lower electricity consumption the owner can spend more on, for example, more energy-efficient HVAC systems. But are these the best investment decisions for a project? That's why at this stage our advice focuses on getting the right level of access to the meters and enabling TPA (third-party accessible) reading.
We spend time with the electrical engineers from the project team, who consider how to minimize the power ordered for the building without posing any danger or risk. We have noticed that the power ordered for new commercial buildings is almost always higher than it should be. Our experience shows that often the difference in power is up to 30%, which translates into significantly higher entry costs. The challenge is to minimize the ordered capacity in such a way that it does not pose a risk to the investment.
Energy efficiency and environmental friendliness is increasingly important when designing new commercial buildings and modernising existing ones.
Ecological and strictly economic solutions are to some extent tangential to our core business, although we cooperate with partners who specialize in such products. While these factors can affect the design, achieving the correct structure of distribution invoices can have a greater financial impact. Over the past few years, owners have become much more aware of possible solutions. In fact, it is rare for us to come across an investor or owner who does not know our business models. There is a growing demand for greener and more profitable buildings, but also a demand for more active energy strategies. And this is where you can see what the benefit of business cooperation with Plus Energia can be.
Interviewed by Christopher Sweeney, Co-Founder and Member of the Management Board of Plus Energia.