Red Lea Chickens, an Australian poultry producer, processor and retailer, has been working with Energy Action to manage its energy requirements since 2005, when the company saw value in having expert guidance for what was a complex and costly aspect of its operations — energy procurement.
Red Lea Chickens first used the Australian Energy Exchange, Energy Action's online reverse auction service, in 2008 to procure electricity for several of its farm sites over a three year contract.
The competitive tensions of the reverse auction process saw the final amount paid by the company for its energy decrease by $295,801 over the course of the auction — a saving of 10.9 per cent on the original offer.
Red Lea Chickens again used the Australian Energy Exchange in April 2010 for seven of its large retail sites over a three year term. The auction process saw the company achieve a cost reduction of approximately $20,781 off an annual spend of $153,321 — a saving of 11.9 per cent.
The relationship established between Red Lea Chickens and Energy Action over six years has seen Red Lea Chickens draw upon Energy Action's expert guidance on a regular basis, with the company using Energy Action's metering and monitoring service, Activ8, for several of its farms and factories.
Red Lea Chickens' diverse energy requirements over the scope of its farming, processing and retail operations have seen Energy Action perform forecasting and projections on energy consumption, historical reporting for comparative purposes and make recommendations regarding possible cost reduction measures.
Energy Action has also assisted Red Lea Chickens in its negotiations with energy retailers. One such recent instance occurred when its energy retailer discovered a meter that had not been read for some time and attempted to back charge the company for up to 11 years of energy use, totalling an unbilled amount of $13,383. Energy Action commenced discussions with the retailer on Red Lea Chickens' behalf and managed to have this amount brought down to $3,682 for 16 months.
Moving forward Energy Action will be working with Red Lea Chickens to achieve advantageous electricity pricing for its smaller sites (those that do not have energy consumption large enough to use the reverse auction platform individually), combining these to perform a joint auction and leverage group buying power.
"In going through the process of securing energy by ourselves we found it difficult to contrast different quotes — it was like comparing apples with oranges," Annette Sajkic, Red Lea Chickens' retail administration officer, said.
"The idea of having expert guidance appealed greatly which was why we started working with Energy Action for our energy requirements.
"One of the biggest reasons we like working with Energy Action is the rapport we have built up with the people who have looked after us. We have found our Account Managers to be extremely knowledgeable, personable and on the ball.
"They know exactly what they are talking about, and provide detailed reports for our reference. They are happy to answer all of our questions, coming out to see us and sitting down with us face to face.
"Any problem that we have with our energy retailer we will pass on to Energy Action who deals with it on our behalf, which is a big bonus. They are aware of the rules and regulations in the energy market and advocate in our best interests.
"We realise that Energy Action is behind the scenes monitoring our energy usage and doing beneficial things we are not even aware that they're doing. For instance, if our energy consumption levels spike outside our normal usage range, we receive alerts and then recommendations on how to manage the excess consumption.
"Electricity costs are increasing and it is important for us to keep tabs on all of our expenses. Working with Energy Action has given us the ability to go to market early to secure our energy requirements, allowing us to lock in fixed advantageous electricity pricing.
Sajkic concluded: "I would recommend Energy Action's services to any company in the poultry industry."