Throughout most of 2021 we looked forward to 2022 thinking ‘it can only get better’ but as we head firmly into the New Year I can’t help thinking that we still have a way to go before we hit those ‘better times’. Granted we are in a better position than we were last January – we are allowed out for a start! But I think we all still feel like we have stumbled into the New Year blindfolded.
If we set aside the issue of parties (was it or wasn’t it) and whether we do or don’t need to have wine and a cheeseboard at every work meeting (it gets my vote by the way) there are some rather more worrying headlines around soaring energy prices.
Chris O’Shea, Chief Executive of British Gas owner Centrica, has gone on record to say that soaring energy prices could last up to two years and he “saw no reason to expect that gas prices would come down any time soon”.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) also recently highlighted the fact that households with typical energy usage face a £600-700 rise in annual bills without government intervention. That would put a typical annual energy bill close to £2,000.
This has led to a lot of advice about how to save energy over the coldest months of the year. Some of this advice has been somewhat dubious with (a now very apologetic) OVO Energy boss, Stephen Fitzpatrick suggesting you cuddle your pet. Other advice has been somewhat more useful with replacing lamps with LEDs high on the list of energy savers, alongside turning your thermostat down a couple of degrees and draught proofing your home.
But it isn’t just homeowners who are affected and major news sources are highlighting the warning signs from industry about the effects of price rises on businesses of all sizes.
As wholesalers you are going to be affected because you are now faced with a rise in energy costs on top of Brexit, the global supply chain issues and a rise in product costs – some of you may be at the point where you’re wondering if it is all worth it.
But don’t be too despondent because you are also in a position to help and take advantage of the increased focus on energy efficiency – after all you are the ones at the sharp end with the most knowledge about which products will help to save energy and which won’t…..and you are the ones with the stock on your shelves.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry at the moment, but one thing which I think we can guarantee is that energy prices are not going to drop in the near future. It is therefore up to you to guide your customers in the direction of the products which will prove to be the most energy efficient option both now and in the future. After all – if we are to make a difference then this is the route we must take and you are in a prime position to lead the way.
See you next month – Tracey Rushton-Thorpe Editor
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