John Lewis/Corona Energy Limited
15 January 2008, News release from Corona Energy - Natural Gas for Business
As a leading gas supplier to British business, Corona Energy sees itself, above all, as a service provider. "We sell service not gas," explains Kieron Farry, Corona Energy's Sales and Marketing Director. "We are a relationship-focused business. We like talking to customers."
The John Lewis Partnership is a case in point. The successful high street retailer first became a Corona Energy customer in early 2005. The contract, worth over £5 million annually, means that Corona Energy now supplies 296 John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets and warehouses around the country.
A flexible strategy was agreed at the outset whereby gas is procured on a monthly basis, allowing the retailer to benefit from fluctuating gas market prices.
"Procurement flexibility was a very important factor for us," explains Bill Wright, Energy and Environment Manager for John Lewis. "We no longer have to commit in advance on an annual basis. We just keep an eye on the gas market and, working closely with Corona Energy and others, buy at the most advantageous time.
"Ultimately, our business is all about partnership, and we chose Corona Energy because they offered us the best partnership potential."
Indeed, this insistence on close, ongoing dialogue with customers is fundamental to Corona Energy's operational style. Rather than make the customer fit the product, the company has thought long and hard about what it believes customers should be demanding from their energy supplier, and tailored its product and service offering accordingly.
As always, it's a question of getting the balance right. However, in an ever-changing market, the customer needs a supplier they can rely on to respond quickly and creatively to the prevailing conditions.
"We already offer a wide range of customised solutions," says Kieron Farry, "and have more sophisticated products coming soon. We are extremely customer-focused, to the extent that account management is the key to our partnerships with customers."
"We also liked Corona Energy's electronic billing facility," adds Bill Wright, "which is highly efficient and their flexibility fits well with the way we like to work."
Corona Energy was among the first gas suppliers to offer e-billing which, by eliminating most of the paperwork, reduces the customer's administration time and costs significantly. As such, e-billing is also a green solution.
In fact, concern for the environment is at the forefront of the company's strategic thinking. This is an issue that all right-thinking businesses need to take very seriously now. Saving energy is paramount for Corona Energy and for all its customers. Clearly, this is not just a financial imperative but an ethical one as well. Procurement excellence is not just about how cheaply you can buy your energy.
Kieron Farry, has for many years been a driver behind the introduction of Automated Meter Reading and he now believes that Corona Energy's AMR offering is second to none in the market.
"AMR is another important weapon in the struggle to manage energy more efficiently," he says. "It is an exciting development in the world of gas metering which has made estimated bills and manual reads a thing of the past. AMR helps collect, transmit and manage metering data more efficiently, allowing the user to focus on energy efficiency and procurement matters."
John Lewis was one of the first Corona Energy customers to recognise the benefits of AMR, recently signing up their 300+ meters, and can now look forward to greatly enhanced energy performance.
With over 7% of the UK's I&C gas market, Corona Energy is not only a significant player but is also recognised as a true multi-site specialist. Thanks to its recent acquisition by Macquarie Bank Limited (MBL), Corona Energy now considers itself better equipped than ever to improve its product offer and all-round range of benefits to its customers.
As well as its popular fixed-price, fixed-term contracts, Corona Energy also offers a wide range of flexible procurement options which enable customers to participate directly in the wholesale gas market. With wholesale gas prices changing daily, customers like John Lewis can take advantage of price fluctuations to lower their overall gas price. Corona Energy already offers the widest range of flexible options in the market; now, with access to MBL's trading expertise, it is even better able to tailor its products to an individual customer's energy profile.
Looking ahead, Corona Energy is keen to forge ever closer partnerships with its customers while extending the range of products and services it offers. The company is already leading the way with AMR but also plans to launch a new range of risk management services and related products.
"I believe the UK gas market is ready for more innovative products," says Kieron Farry. "Increasingly, we are providing highly tailored, specific contracts. One size does not fit all; the key is finding the right balance of risk and reward for each customer's unique requirements.
For further information please email Corona Energy - Natural Gas for Business