Energy firm teams up with university

Commercial energy supplier BES Utilities has teamed up with experts from Lancaster University to undertake ground-breaking research aimed at reducing energy costs for its customers.

Thursday, 9th June 2016, 11:55 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 1:28 pm
Dmitry Ishutim and Rimpy Malik at BES Utilities headquarters in Fleetwood, Lancashire after the firm teamed up with Lancaster University over a forecasting project

The Fleetwood-based power firm has joined forces with the university – Europe’s leading centre for forecasting research – to develop new forecast systems which more accurately gauge gas and electricity consumption across the UK.

Analysing a combination of historical data, including peak usage times and seasonal trends, together with up-to-the-minute weather factors such as temperature and wind speed, the researchers are able to systematically forecast customer demand.

The new data-driven system, which Masters students are helping to develop, will enable BES to more accurately buy wholesale power at the most competitive price.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

This will not only be beneficial for the company, in terms of assisting its long-term planning and efficiency, but should ultimately lead to lower bills for BES’s 40,000-plus gas and electricity customers – the majority of whom are small businesses.

David Ballantyne, BES Utilities’ commercial director, said: “The wholesale gas and electricity market fluctuates massively over the course of any given month, week and day due to demand and so forecasting accuracy is crucial to keep costs down for customers.

“For example, in April, which was actually colder than December, we saw prices fluctuate between £45 per megawatt hour (Mwh) to £500 per Mwh. This shows the need to have systems in place which can more accurately predict customer needs and demand.

“This new collaboration with Lancaster University, which is home to Europe’s leading centre for forecasting research, will allow us to update our current systems and better plan in terms of forecasting supply and demand.”

Lancaster University and its Masters students have recently worked with the likes of L’Oreal, Jaguar Landrover, NHS England, BT, United Utilities and global toy giant LEGO on forecasting projects designed to cut costs and improve processes.