May 16, 2020

Don't suffer in silence: 55pc of manufacturers struggle to pay energy bills

Manufacturing Management
Energy Bills
Glen White
3 min
Don't suffer in silence: 55pc of manufacturers struggle to pay energy bills
Data released today by one of the UKs leading energy and water consultancies, Utilitywise, shows that one in three business people working in manufactur...

Data released today by one of the UK’s leading energy and water consultancies, Utilitywise, shows that one in three business people working in manufacturing admit that they don’t understand their commercial energy bill. 55% of manufacturers were unable to identify that E or A readings mean estimated or actual, whilst a fifth (17%) did not understand the term unit rate.

The issue is not confined to micro and small businesses of 1 to 49 employees; almost the same number (1 in 6) of those employing 50 to 249 staff reported that they too don’t have the skills they need to make sense of their regular statements. Those with the biggest issues included business people in Sheffield (60%) and Liverpool (40%) who said they didn’t understand the information provided on utility bills. Manufacturing was the sector where most business leaders confessed their ignorance.

The data also reveals that as many as 2.19 million businesses never, or only occasionally, check their energy bills. This is despite the fact that more than four fifths (86%) of manufacturing SMEs believe they pay too much for their utilities. Whilst 22% of manufacturing decision makers cite lack of time for the reason they don’t double check the bill is correct, a further third (33%) simply trust that the total is likely to be accurate. Yet, Utilitywise’s own information shows over 60% of businesses are reliant on estimated bills.

With 39% of small manufacturing businesses believing that energy prices will go up in the next year Utilitywise is committing resources to help business people get the information they need to make sense of their bills, and the energy market.

Andrew Richardson, Deputy CEO of Utilitywise, said, “Businesses need help to navigate the energy market. That starts with understanding your statements. The terminology can be confusing, but it’s important to get a handle on it because it impacts a business’ bottom line: if you don’t know that you’re paying an estimated bill you can be in for a nasty surprise. With more than 22,000 business customers, the team at Utilitywise believes passionately in making the energy sector easier to do business with. It shouldn’t be complicated, confusing or opaque. Instead, we strive to take the hassle out of managing your energy, and the first place to start is by making bills less baffling.

“That’s why we’re determined to help all businesses to get the skills they need to pay the bills. It’s why we’ve set out all the information businesses need to better understand their utility statements in our Utilitywise guide, and why we’re hosting tweet chats to answer common questions.”

Utilitywise’s top tips for businesses include:

  • Making sure you are up to speed with what all the terms and jargon on each utility bills means
  • Checking the actual meter readings with the bills you receive
  • Understanding your energy consumption across the business and this as a percentage overhead
  • Checking bills month-by-month for trends, administration errors and to manage effectively
  • Working with experts to help you manage your utility bills more efficiently

A Utilitywise guide, which has been road tested by business owners, is available online or you can speak to the dedicated Utilitywise switching team on 0330 303 3313. As part of its Utility Management Plan service Utilitywise helps customers avoid the pitfalls, which can cost time and money, with the following:

  • Regularly collecting meter readings from businesses and passing these to supplier so that accurate, and not estimated, bills can be issued
  • Having an energy expert check the tariff, VAT and CCL rates on businesses’ utility bills
  • An energy helpline to offer free, impartial and jargon free advice to business users

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May 12, 2021

Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing

2 min
Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing

Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing


What is Ultium Cells LLC?

Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”

Who is Li-Cycle?

Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.

As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”

Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?

By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.

“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).

"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.

"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.

Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.

"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.

Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5

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