Could Brexit signal power problems for UK businesses?

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Businesses have lots of priorities but securing a good energy deal should be near the top of the list.  Ultimately, it will allow you to keep productivity high and overheads low, so your business can operate as effectively and profitably as possible.

With Brexit imminent, there are questions for UK businesses about their energy supply. What will happen if the UK loses its place within Europe’s Internal Energy Market (IEM)?

Countries like Ireland, France and The Netherlands have become increasingly important to the UK with regards to energy imports.  This could have major implications if we can’t secure a harmonised energy trade deal – with UK businesses (and homeowners) facing potential power shortages matched with increased energy costs.

A ‘green Brexit’ has been one of the UK government’s promises, yet this assertion is facing scepticism from some quarters.  By leaving the EU, the UK would effectively no longer be legally bound to meet EU climate change targets. This means current measures to build a greener, more efficient energy landscape could in turn slow, or stall.

With Brexit continuing to dominate the headlines, gas installation experts Flogas, take a look at the future of energy supply for UK companies.

So, what is the Internal Energy Market (IEM)?

Established in 1996, the IEM facilitates energy trading between EU countries.  It enables European countries to trade energy quickly, cheaply and easily – allowing them to respond to peaks and troughs in demand and supply. Effectively, countries in need of more energy can access it, whilst those producing more energy than they need can trade it in a common marketplace.

The body also has a remit for tax and pricing policies, as well as setting (and implementing) norms and standards to guarantee the protection of the environment and the public’s safety. 

What is IEM’s role?

In simple terms, it exists to protect customer rights (both individual and business) and to eliminate energy poverty.  One way it does this, is by developing pan-European supply networks that transport energy between countries. It’s also responsible for defining the roles and responsibilities of the key players in the energy market, and acts as a regulator to ensure the security of our energy supply.  

What might Brexit mean for UK businesses?

In the worst-case scenario, businesses could encounter problems keeping powered.   Why? It’s all to do with interconnectors, which enable a cheap and easy flow of energy across borders. Interconnectors form a big part of the UK’s energy mix, and without access to them, the country could experience shortfalls, pushing energy prices up at the same time.

Will the eco obligations of businesses be affected?

The EU has continued to strive over the last decade to make cleaner energy a priority. However, reports suggest that once the UK exits the single energy market, UK businesses will cease to be subject to the same EU rules, regulations and targets surrounding renewables and energy efficiency. Whilst the UK government is adamant it will continue its unwavering commitment to tackle climate change, Brexit has the potential to delay or suspend current energy efficiency measures, pulling us further away from meeting 2030 carbon reduction targets.

How to prepare?

After March 2019, if the UK does experience energy supply problems, it might not be able to rely so easily on EU countries.  With this in mind, experts expect the UK to become more vulnerable to power shortages – whether that’s due to extreme weather events, or generation outages in the pipelines or electrical interconnectors.

Post-Brexit energy deals should be a consideration for UK businesses now.  The silver lining is that the switching process can be straightforward by moving to a dedicated business energy supplier who will manage everything (including contacting the existing supplier) on your behalf.

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