Flexible energy revolution for energy-intensive businesses

Flexible energy revolution for energy-intensive businesses

Businesses using large amounts of electricity can now get round-the-clock access to wholesale electricity prices, thanks to an innovative new service from British Gas Business.

Flex 24/7, the first service of its kind in Britain, allows companies to manage their demand by buying and selling electricity as little as four hours ahead of actual use.

The enhanced flexibility could save high users in manufacturing or heavy industry hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, as well as cutting the ‘imbalance fee’ currently paid to energy suppliers when actual electricity use doesn’t match a company’s predictions.

“This product could be a revolution for an electricity-intensive business that spends tens of millions of pounds on electricity a year,” said Nicolas Grant, Managing Director of Corporate Markets at British Gas.

“The benefits of the flexibility it gives over increases or decreases in demand could be significant,” he added.

Flex 24/7is aimed at customers who have expertise dealing with large, flexible volumes and who want the ability to manage their own market risk and demand forecasting. It will also benefit companies who generate their own energy, allowing them to sell excess electricity back to the grid if their demand drops.

The service will also provide protection against unexpected events.

“A factory spending £35million a year on electricity that had to close for a week’s maintenance unexpectedly, for example, would have saved £150k at one point this year, compared to the next most sophisticated product currently on the market” Nicolas Grant said.

“Equally, a company with unpredictable surges in their orders, meaning their electricity use increased unexpectedly, could also benefit” he added.

The flexibility offered by British Gas’ new service has been welcomed by one of the UK’s largest energy consultants.

“Flex 24/7 takes flexible purchasing to a new level and provides large energy users with the opportunity to minimise their exposure to volatile cash out markets if their demand changes,” said Stuart Lea, Head of Energy at Inenco Group.

The new service is also a response to calls from Ofgem for increased liquidity in the energy markets. The regulator is currently encouraging market participants to improve liquidity in the wholesale market and facilitate access for small participants.


  1. The example saving is based on figures taken from a high usage customer currently on the monthly flex product and market prices taken from February 2012.
  2. Flex 24/7 will not be suitable for all business and will only be suitable in some circumstances.