Woeful Winter Ahead For UK Businesses

With the energy crisis bearing down on the UK, Europe and Asia, there are steps you can take to use less power at home plus improve your income with a side hustle. Let’s take a look at the energy crisis and what you can do to get through it.

The UK and Europe have seen a massive jump in the cost of natural gas. China has experienced power cuts as they cut their reliance on coal, and parts of the USA also worry they will experience an energy crisis.

Why The Energy Crisis

There are many causes for it, including Brexit, the pandemic and commitment to meeting climate change targets.

Climate Change

Commitment to low carbon fuels, i.e. gas and renewables, have played a significant role in the energy crisis. For example, the mild, calm summer had not been generous to wind power farms in the UK.

Gas has been the lower-carbon fuel of choice, and many countries have switched from coal to gas. Everyone wants gas, and China has been beating other countries on price to secure supply. The spike in demand for gas in the UK, Europe and Asia has caused hyperinflation. In one month the cost of gas surged 298% in the UK.

Brexit

The switch to gas and renewables alone is not the cause of the energy crisis. Brexit has its part to play. With the UK outside of the EU, it no longer has the protection of membership to help it secure better prices when buying gas from EU members like Norway. European nations have also seen prices double too albeit not as high as the UK.

Pandemic

Post pandemic lockdowns have businesses rebounding, and Governments pledging to build their way to economic growth.

The surge in production, particularly in heavy industries like concrete and steel, is challenging the supply and global energy crisis. From Australia to India, the UK, Canada, and just about everywhere struggle to meet its energy requirements. So much so the UK and Europe will likely endure a woeful winter of food shortages and energy shortages.

In the UK, households are protected from massive energy price spikes with the Energy Price Cap (EPC). However, businesses are vulnerable, particularly SMEs, many of whom are already struggling to stay afloat. Without access to funds to see them through the tough months ahead, many businesses will fail.

Business Confidence

However, the UK Government are remaining stoic and downplaying the shortages. They don’t want panic-buying to empty supermarket shelves. There is already a massive shortage of truck drivers, so a run on the supermarkets would exacerbate the situation further.

Smaller energy suppliers in the UK are failing due to rising wholesale costs and the EPC. For example, Arvo Energy has failed and its customer base was 580,000. Another six small energy suppliers are facing the same fate.

Workers are worried they will lose their jobs as businesses fail to cover their energy bills. Business exposure to the nearly 300% rise in natural gas is far-reaching too. For example, small corner shops and local retail outlets to food and heavy industry.

Consumer confidence and spending will tank the UK economy unless the UK Government reveals its hand, i.e. how it plans to deal with the energy crisis to avert power cuts.

The Blame Game

Was the UK energy crisis preventable? Probably. Fingers point to a lack of early investment in green energy, new nuclear programmes and energy storage.

Did you know four out of five homes in the UK are heated gas, and it’s also the energy source of half of all energy use too?

How To Move Forward

There are ways to keep warm without using power. Plus, ideas to create side hustles and deliver cost savings for businesses.

Work from home over winter

There’s little to be gained from heating a large open plan office that’s half full so if you can – close it over the winter months with all staff working from home. The Energy Price Gap keeps energy costs down for households, albeit usage will be more. Reward your team for working at home with an extra day off.

Exercise

Cycling

When you get cold, you can just put on another layer instead of increasing the temperature on the thermostat. Or better still, get moving.

Did you know when you exercise, your stored energy converts to heat energy? You are your very own heat energy source! 🙂

Side hustle

If you’re an entrepreneur or thinking of a side hustle idea to increase your income, look no further than the current energy crisis.

Here are some products that are sure to be popular in the UK and Europe in the coming months:

  • Home exercise equipment – exercise cycles, gym equipment
  • Online exercise classes
  • Knitting clubs and online tutorials
  • Heat pads and water bottles, woollen blankets

Online exercise classes are sure to be popular. Maybe you can create your own and charge a small fee for attendees to join in. Expect all exercise equipment and tools to be popular as a way to get moving and warm-up.

If outdoor exercise is more your thing. Reach for that bike you got for the lockdowns. A spin around the streets will up your energy levels and keep you warm over the winter.

Sell your knitting at the local fare and online. See how this UK Instagram follower created a side hustle from knitting snoods for pets.

Is the answer in batteries?

Long term energy storage batteries will have a role in stabilising supply, but it won’t be happening shortly.

There are different types of batteries, one that has promise is the cement battery.

Renewables are the answer too, however, no move away from fossil fuels is easy or straightforward.

Shutting off coal and nuclear in favour of renewables is the way forward worldwide as part of saving the planet. However, if there is a lesson to be learned from the energy crisis, it’s to ‘expect the unexpected’ and have emergency supplies.

Also, Governments and businesses need to work together. They will need robust transition programs that plan for every eventuality that challenges the move away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources.

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