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Meet the speaker – John Abbott

Category : News

In conversation with John Abbott, Smart Programme Director for SSE Business Energy.

John AbbottJohn’s focus is helping businesses develop a better understanding of their energy use. This can help them save energy, cut costs and drive sustainable growth.

Entrepreneurs and small business leaders, it’s not too late to get your free Festival of Enterprise ticket and join John at the NEC.

How can SMEs make good use of their time at the Festival of Enterprise?

If you’re visiting on Wednesday 23 October, come and see my presentation on the ‘Scale up & Business leaders’ stage, between 12.30 and 1pm. And since every business uses energy, I think everyone can gain something from visiting the SSE Business Energy Spark Café at stand E34.

What will you be talking about in your presentation?

I’ll be talking about how businesses can achieve growth sustainably. It’s about recognising the responsibilities you have to your people, the planet and society at large. As well as those you have to your customers and shareholders.

And what can I learn by visiting your stand?

Our stand showcases our next-generation SMETS2 smart meters. So when you visit us we’ll let you know how a smart meter could help you understand your energy use. That information can help you identify areas where you can save energy, cut costs and lower your carbon footprint.

So what measures has SSE Business Energy taken to achieve sustainable growth?

Our people are our primary asset and we want them to feel happy, valued and included. So we’ve taken a number of initiatives to become a responsible employer. For instance, we pay our people the real Living Wage, at the very minimum, and we extend that policy to all our suppliers and contractors.

We were also the first FTSE 100 company to publish its gender pay gap. And we’re proud to be the first FTSE 100 company to be awarded the Fair Tax Mark for paying our taxes, in full, and on time.

As an energy provider, we’re acutely aware of our impact on the environment. So on top of investing more than £4 billion in renewable energy technologies, we’ve committed to halving the carbon intensity of the electricity we produce by 2020 (using 2006 as a baseline). In doing so, we have the UK’s largest capacity of renewable energy.

That’s all very well for a FTSE 100 company, but how can SMEs grow sustainably?

There are lots of ways for SMEs to grow sustainably. A simple change to make is switching to one of our 100% renewable green tariffs. We’ve recently launched SSE Green Gas, a new product offering companies the option to upgrade to 100% renewable gas, adding to our existing SSE Green Electricity product.

And your sustainable credentials can attract new customers, too. A Harvard study1 has shown that 90% of customers are more likely to trust a company that supports social and environmental issues.

Energy efficiency is another vital aspect of sustainable growth. Steps like insulating your premises and buying energy-efficient models when you replace old equipment pay dividends in the long run. And of course, a SMETS2 smart meter can help you identify the areas in your business where you use most energy. So by cutting back in those key areas, you can lower your energy spend.

Are there any government initiatives for energy that will influence my business in the future?

The government is taking energy efficiency seriously. Most people are aware of their initiative to install smart meters in every UK home and business. But did you know they’ve pledged to make Britain a ‘net zero’ producer of greenhouse gases by 2050? To ensure we hit this target, we’ll all be expected to reduce our emissions and start taking offsetting measures.

Improving energy efficiency is something we can all do to help us reach this collective goal. Installing a next-generation SMETS2 smart meter is a crucial step towards understanding your energy usage. And as smart technology continues to develop, you’ll discover new ways to help you manage your consumption, lower your bills, and reduce your impact on the environment.

What role can smart technology play in driving energy efficiency?

I’ve already said smart meters can revolutionise how your business manages its energy use. And to make the data they produce easier to understand, we offer Clarity: a free, online energy management platform. It takes your data and turns it into user-friendly graphs and tables that can help you identify ways to reduce consumption, save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

In the near future, smart meters will allow us to offer tariffs tailored to your energy use. You’ll soon be able to choose great-value tariffs that will work with smart technology in your premises. And Internet of Things (IoT) technology will play a vital role in managing the increasing demands placed on the grid by the electrification of heating and transport.

So how do I get a smart meter from SSE Business Energy?

You can register your interest for a smart meter online at There’s no additional cost for a smart meter installation2, and when used in conjunction with Clarity – our free online energy management platform – it can help you transform the way you use energy. And when you improve your energy efficiency, you’ll lower costs and reduce your carbon footprint.


1 Harvard Business School Study, The Impact of Corporate Sustainability on Organizational Process and Performance

2 There is no additional cost for the standard installation of a SMETS2 smart meter. Otherwise, metering costs, including installation and maintenance of your SMETS2 smart meter, are covered in the same way as your present electricity meter.

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