Hipperson Consulting offers secretariat, organizational and administrative support to organizations of all sizes in the energy industry, in an effort to drive better outcomes for energy consumers. We got to chat with managing director Tim Hipperson to learn about his passion to improve the energy market.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I came to energy and energy efficiency quite late compared to many of my colleagues, only taking my steps into the world in 2008 as a result of the financial crash of that year. Before that time I had run a business undertaking building ‘searches’ for the legal profession, which saw me research the history of houses and buildings prior to a purchase taking place to ensure they were sound and there was no risk with regard to planning or building control.
The property bubble bursting in 2008 meant I needed to change direction. At the time I was working more and more with energy assessors who were undertaking EPCs and saw the potential these had to provide real visibility of energy efficiency and cost savings to home and business owners. And, after entering an education program on the Energy Performance of Building Directive(‘EPBD’) (the regulation that underpinned the EPCs requirement) I began a career in energy. I established a small consultancy providing support on all things EPBD (AC inspections, Display Energy Certificates, EPCs) and extended into CRC and CCA advisory services.
It was at this point that I entered back into employment after an energy brokerage approached me to create an added value service set of regulatory compliance for their customers. I joined this consultancy as the Energy Services Director and spent the next 8 years creating additional service sets across the UK and its newly created European division, providing regulatory compliance to businesses of all types.
In 2018 I left the PLC consultancy to set up Hipperson Consulting, an energy consultancy that occupies a unique place between central government/Code Manager and the commercial sector. We provide services to UK businesses allowing them to understand the regulatory horizon to better invest in RnD and ensure processes are aligned to best practice. We also provide insight to central bodies who manage the energy market to ensure they understand what the commercial world is doing in order to consider if innovation is accelerating faster than regulation. The majority of work at the moment is in the non-domestic TPI space, supporting in defining regulation for better consumer outcomes and protection, while also supporting brokers in amending their sales processes to align with the regulatory horizon.
What is a fun fact about you?
I have a vintage Vespa Scooter that I purchased in lockdown to renovate; 18 months later and it still doesn’t run….it does look good though!
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
Climate change is having a clear and obvious impact on the way we live our lives. In the UK, towns and villages that have been safe homes for generations are now finding themselves subject to consistent flooding and damage, while hotter summers are increasing heat related deaths significantly. But there is now the additional challenge of higher energy charges, exacerbating the social impacts of climate change further still.
Sustainability will not only have a positive impact on CO2 levels and the global warming crisis, but also a positive impact on energy cost. The cheapest kWh is the one you do not use, homeowners and businesses should make energy efficiency a priority now and look for grants and financial support to help them achieve the triumvirate of energy, o2 and cost savings.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
If we take the non-domestic TPI market as ‘my industry’, I think we will see it under the same kind of regulatory scrutiny that the insurance or mortgage industries find themselves under from the Financial Conduct Authority. BEIS, OFGEM and the Retail Energy Code have all placed some kind of review of TPIs in their forward work plans and the a type of regulation is already underway via changes to Suppliers license conditions that will force TPIs to improve sales practices.
For consumers this will mean more transparency in the costs of service and commissions earned, it will mean a wider view of market prices and far less exposure to pressure selling techniques. Regulation of this nature will support the hundreds of TPI brokers who are doing things te right way and who have consumers best interest at heart, while weeding out those who undertake, what OFGEM call, ‘sharp practices’
What can the average person do to make a difference?
As a business owner who interacts with the TPI, or ‘energy broker’ you can protect yourself be simply asking the TPI to be clear on the amount of commission being earned out of the contract switch. From this you can easily understand whether the cost for he service is reflective of the service provided. If the TPI is not willing to tell you then one can assume they have something to hide.
Equally, I would recommend that you ask the broker how many prices they have received from the market when tendering your supply contract, and whether they can show them. Too often a TPI will only ask for prices from the Supplier who pays them the most meaning you may not always get the best contract offer for your business.
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