Bracing for winter's utility surge by prioritising operational efficiency

October 27, 2023

As the northern hemisphere prepares for winter, three factors loom large: the ever-climbing cost of energy, the anticipation of colder temperatures, and spikes in utility demand. These concerns are not only pressing but also intertwined, each influencing and exacerbating the other. The rising energy costs are a particular worry for many, with implications that stretch from opex budgets to the broader economy. Meanwhile, the colder temperatures not only bring discomfort but also drive the increased utility demand, placing additional strain on already stretched energy resources. To ensure preparedness in the face of these challenges, owners and operators of commercial property are urged to take decisive steps toward ensuring operational and energy efficiency. This proactive approach is essential not only for mitigating immediate impacts but also for contributing to long-term sustainability and resilience.

Key points

  1. The cost of energy remains upward trending and volatile
  2. The UK is set for a very cold winter
  3. Your energy and gas use spikes in winter

The escalating cost of energy

The global trajectory for energy prices remains undeniably upward. Since 2010, electricity prices in the UK have swelled by 95%, and gas prices, even more concerning, by 130%. Highlighting the volatility, last August saw electricity and gas prices touching an astounding 764% and 560% increase compared to a decade prior, respectively (UK Office of Gas and Electricity Markets).

Anticipating colder temperatures this season

Experts at Real Weather UK predict a distinct shift in weather patterns,

"Based on current long-range data, UK Winter 2023-24 is likely to be generally drier compared to previous winters and colder, increasing the risk of more snowfall events." (Real Weather UK).

Such forecasts of unusually cold temperatures and increased snowfall events underscore the critical importance of preparedness. This means ensuring not only efficient usage of energy but also making sure that infrastructure is ready to withstand the harsher conditions. It's a call for heightened vigilance and proactive measures to ensure safety and functionality in the face of the predicted colder winter.

Energy consumption rises with low temperatures

There's a clear U-shaped relationship between electricity demand and temperature, as illustrated in Figure 1. As temperatures either soar during scorching summers or plummet in chilly winters, electricity demand escalates. This observation, supported by a study from the International Monetary Fund, affirms,

“At both low and high temperatures, electricity demand is high.”
Figure 1: Temperature vs energy globally aggregated. Source: International Monetary Fund

In the UK, the difference in electricity demand between an average winter's day and a summer's day stands at a notable 36%, with winter consumption outpacing its summer counterpart (Monarch Partnership). This isn't just limited to electricity. Gas consumption data from the Australian Energy Council shows that gas usage peaks during the winter, driven primarily by heating demands, while the US Energy Information Administration reiterates that

“natural gas consumption is typically highest in the winter months, when residential and commercial demand for heating fuels increases."

The Solution: CIM's AI-powered PEAK Platform

Amidst these imminent challenges, the need of the hour for property owners is to act swiftly. The answer might well lie in harnessing technology, specifically, CIM’s AI-powered analytics software. Designed meticulously to bolster energy efficiency, our software offers invaluable insights and actionable data, positioning you to adeptly navigate both the sweltering Australian summers and the biting UK winters, ensuring optimal energy consumption and efficiency.

In a world oscillating between volatile energy costs and impending extreme temperatures, now is the time for property owners to invest in solutions that not only curtail financial stress but also tread a path toward sustainability.

Cillian Casey
October 27, 2023