Opus Energy Signs Halfords To Reach A Total Of 50,000 UK Business Sites

Opus Energy, the independent supplier of electricity to UK businesses, has recently signed Halfords, bringing 

the total number of UK business sites it supplies up to 50,000.

Now the largest electricity supplier to UK businesses outside the Big Six, Opus Energy has expanded further in the last 12 months:

  • Electricity supplied to an extra 10,000 UK business sites in the last 12 months
  • 26% year on year growth

Halfords has entered into a two year contract with Opus Energy, with the supply starting in April 2009. Opus Energy will provide 52GWh to the bicycle and motoring specialist chain, across 440 sites.

Opus Energy is attracting a growing number of large corporate customers through the development of a unique wholesale purchasing platform, Opus Evolution.

Opus Evolution gives companies control of their energy purchasing strategies, enabling them to choose how much energy they purchase and when. For example, in a volatile market companies using Opus Evolution have the flexibility to purchase a smaller percentage of their total energy demand over a number of purchases rather than being restricted to one buying opportunity per year. Opus Evolution offers an alternative to a fixed price contract for the first time to this sector,

Andy Taylor, Commercial Manager at Halfords said: “Opus Evolution will be a very useful tool for us. We can control our energy purchasing across the whole portfolio, but also monitor the consumption levels at each site using the online reporting tool. This is really key for us as a retail company with a large number of active sites to manage.”

Steve James, Commercial Director for Opus Energy said: “We’ve drawn on extensive retail sector experience to provide a tailored solution for Halfords. Opus Evolution will give Halfords control over their energy needs and projected spend, but we as a team can also help them on a day to day basis. They will benefit from a single point of contact at Opus to simplify account management, and as Halfords are a growing company we can help by quickly connecting new sites to their expanding portfolio.”

On the news that Opus Energy is now supplying 50,000 business sites across the UK,Charlie Crossley Cooke, MD and founder of Opus Energy said: “It’s fantastic to reach this landmark. Customers are our core business and we re-sign a very high number of our accounts as a result of a focus on excellent customer service. We’ve grown the Opus Energy business by listening to our customers’ needs and finding solutions. The Opus Evolution product is a great example of this – a unique answer to a market wide problem. It is this type of innovation which will help us continue to expand into 2009.”

About Opus Energy

Opus Energy is a leading independent supplier of electricity offering tailor-made solutions for the UK SME and corporate markets. Its market-leading innovations are driven by customer needs and the company is committed to helping businesses reduce their carbon footprint through procurement of energy from cleaner sources.

Opus Energy supplies 50,000 UK business sites across all sectors. Large customers include: Stagecoach, Thorntons, Farmfoods, FirstGroup, Cumbria County Council and Deloitte & Touche.

Over the last two years (between April 2006 and March 2008), 62% of the energy supplied by Opus Energy to its customers came from cleaner, low-carbon sources – 54% from renewable generators and 8% from cleaner Combined Heat and Power (CHP) produced by CHP generators. These CHP generators have been awarded accreditation by the regulator, Ofgem, for producing cleaner, more environmentally friendly power.

Opus Energy’s management team has a 50 percent stake in the business, while International Power Plc (LSE:IPR.L) holds 30 percent and Telecom Plus Plc (LSE: TEP.L ) has 20 percent. With offices in Northampton and Oxford, it employs 200 people.

For further information about Opus Energy, please see www.opusenergy.com For further information about Opus Evolution, please see http://opusevolution.opusenergy.com

About Halfords
The Group employs in excess of 10,500 staff and sells over 10,000 different product lines, ranging from car parts and cycles through to the latest in-car technology, alloy wheels, child seats, roof boxes and outdoor leisure and camping equipment.

Halfords’ own brands include Ripspeed, for car enhancement and Bikehut, for cycles and cycling accessories, including the Apollo and Carrera brands. Two further premium brands were added during 2008; Boardman cycles and accessories, where Halfords has exclusive UK distribution rights, and URBAN Escape for camping equipment. Operating from 455 stores, including four stores in the Czech Republic, 25 smaller format, neighbourhood stores and six standalone cycle stores, Halfords offers a “wefit” service for car parts, child seats, satellite navigation and in-car entertainment systems, and a “werepair” service for cycles. Halfords: shop in store, buy on line, or use the new “Reserve & Collect” service to acquire products on line at www.halfords.com.

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Npower Announces Top Engineering Award Win For Tilbury Apprentice

Tilbury Power Station is delighted to announce that Katie Lester, a third year npower electrical apprentice, has been awarded the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) Mary George Memorial Prize for Apprentices.

The apprentice award is a category in the wider IET Young Woman of the Year Engineer Award, and celebrates the very best young female engineers in the UK – not only highlighting their achievements but also encouraging others to enter the profession. The Apprentice award is valued by the engineering industry and highlights Katie’s commitment to her chosen profession.

Miss Lester, currently an apprentice at npower, was given this award as a result of her flair, charisma and experience which allowed her to present engineering as an exciting career. In achieving this prestigious recognition, she will now take on an ambassadorial role in the industry, giving her a real opportunity to demonstrate what she loves about her job.

Nigel Staves, Tilbury Power Station Manager, commented: “We are so proud of Katie. She is a fantastic apprentice at the station, and has always contributed beyond the realms of her normal duties. She demonstrates real innovation in her approach to engineering, and is clearly very committed to furthering her career. Katie is a true example to her peers – and I hope that she will encourage other young women to enter into a career in this very rewarding industry.”

Katie added: “I’m really chuffed to have won the award – I was totally shocked when my name was called out! Engineering is a brilliant career and I want to inspire other people to consider it. I couldn’t have done any of this without the help of all my colleagues at the power station – they have trained me and given me guidance the entire way through my apprenticeship.”

This isn’t the first award of Katie’s career – she was RWE npower Apprentice of the Year in 2007, and Engineering Student of the Year 2008 for Rotherham College of Arts and Technology. She was also recently involved in setting up an Apprenticeship Open evening at Tilbury Power Station, with the aim of encouraging young people into applying for the Tilbury Apprenticeship scheme.


About npower
npower is one of the UK’s largest electricity suppliers and draws on 50 years experience in supplying electricity and gas. npower offers a range of essential home and business services to 6.6 million customers across the UK.

RWE npower has been awarded the prestigious CommunityMark from Business in the Community (BITC). npower is the only utility business, amongst 21 other companies in the UK, to receive this accolade. The CommunityMark is a new BITC standard which has been created to recognise companies that are good investors in local communities and who have brought about real and positive changes.

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npower Opens its Doors to Help Local Businesses Expand Skills Training in the North East

npower opened its doors to local businesses yesterday, to showcase their award-winning training programme and to highlight the need to build a stronger, regional skills base for the North East of England. This event was supported by Business in the Community’s Business Action on Skills campaign.

npower’s contact centres are predominantly based in East Durham and the training programme provides a comprehensive range of support for its diverse population of staff. This includes a dedicated space for employees to pursue tailor-made skills training as well as offering literacy, numeracy and vocational courses.

The Opening Doors event gave other regional employers the opportunity to see learning in action and meet some of npower’s learning team. With 63% and 85% of the local population identified as having significant needs in literacy and numeracy* respectively, the company realise the importance of making a long-term commitment to the employability of the future, as well as the present workforce.

npower firmly believes that staff training is fundamental to the on-going success of the business. npower is working with Business Action on Skills to help make the case for organisations to keep focused on the learning needs of the workforce, and not to cut training budgets at a time when many companies may be tempted to do so.

Lesley Blower, npower’s Learning Resource Centre Manager, said: “We are very proud to be showcasing our award winning training programme to local businesses in the area. The Open Doors event has given us the opportunity to highlight the importance of investing in our employees, despite the current economic climate.”

In 2008, npower won a prestigious Business in the Community Award for its efforts in upskilling its people, bringing it both business benefits whilst helping it to play a positive role in the wider community and providing opportunities for non-employees.


* Learning Skills Council North East figures for East Durham 2007

About npower:
npower is one of Britain’s largest electricity supplier and supplies gas, electricity and related services to 6.6 million customers across the UK. npower is a market leader in renewable energy and sources the green energy for juice directly from renewable sources, at no extra cost.

RWE npower has been awarded the prestigious CommunityMark from Business in the Community (BITC). npower is the only utility business, amongst 21 other companies in the UK, to receive this accolade. The CommunityMark is a new BITC standard which has been created to recognise companies that are good investors in local communities and who have brought about real and positive changes.

For more information about Business Action on Skills and the work it is doing to support large employers on skills training, contact Caroline Melton, Skills and Workplace Account Manager on 0113 205 8219, or email caroline.melton@hotmail.com

For more general information about the campaign please go to: www.bitc.org.uk/skills

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Brigadier General (Retired) Robert Crear Joins Free Flow Power Corporation

Free Flow Power Corporation announced yesterday that Brigadier General (Retired) Robert Crear has joined the company as Chairman of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Free Flow Power Development LLC. Free Flow Power Development is a hydropower developer that is using Free Flow Power Corporation’s proprietary technology to extract energy from moving water without building new dams or diversions or causing other adverse environmental impacts.

General Crear retired from the Army Corps of Engineers in 2008 after a distinguished career that included service in the Pentagon as the military assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, as the Chief of Staff of the Corps Headquarters in Washington, DC, as commander of the Corps Vicksburg District, Southwest Division and Mississippi Valley Division offices where he gained invaluable experience leading soldiers and civilians in large, complex operations during times of peace, combat, and natural disasters.,

• most recently as Commander of the Mississippi Valley Division and President of the Mississippi Valley Commission (a Presidential appointment, confirmed by the Senate) where he was responsible for the Nation’s water resources program in the entire 370,000 square miles of the Mississippi river valley with 5,000 employees and an annual budget of $7.5 billion.

• on the ground in Iraq as Commander of Task Force Restore Iraqi Oil in 2003, which was a first-of-its-kind mission employing 130 Army Corps volunteers, 600 contractors and 60,000 Iraqi oil workers working together to execute a $4 billion budget to extinguish all oil fires and then to restore Iraq’s oil infrastructure;

• as the organizer and leader of Task Force Hope, which employed 3,800 civilian and military personnel to restore vital infrastructure on the Mississippi and Louisiana gulf coasts after the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Of his new position, General Crear said, “I followed Free Flow Power for awhile and was impressed by their approach to the challenges they face. As I got to know the people on their team, I became really excited about being a part of what they are doing.”

Dan Irvin, CEO of Free Flow Power Corporation commented “We are thrilled that Bob has joined our company. We are building the company’s leadership team and I don’t think you can point to someone with more leadership ability than General Crear.”

Ramya Swaminathan, the Vice President of Project Development at Free Flow Development added, “In addition to his experience, which speaks for itself, Bob is an inspiring leader and a great person to work with. I’m really excited to be working with him.”

General Crear’s responsibilities will include helping to build out the management team at Free Flow Power Development and moving the project development process through important regulatory milestones. “This just seems like a very logical extension of my past service. I love big challenges that will positively benefit our nation, and the team we are building is capable of surmounting the challenges we face,” he added.

General Crear’s numerous military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal and the Bronze Star Medal. He was inducted into the Society of American Military Engineers Academy of Fellows in November 2002. In 2006 he was awarded the Infrastructure Security Partnership award for distinguished leadership. Other awards include the 2004, 2006 and 2007 Black Engineer of the Year Award for Professional Achievement in Government, Alumni of the Year and Stars and Stripes Lifetime Achievement awards (respectively), and 2006 Rock of the Year award for his contributions to the Army and the nation.

Born in Vicksburg, Miss., he graduated in 1975 from Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi, with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a Regular Army commission as a second lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers. He holds a master’s degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

General Crear is currently serving as a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of Applied Engineering, National Security and Homeland Security at Jackson State University and President and CEO of The Crear Group, LLC.

He is married to his high school sweetheart, the former Reatha Hall and they have four adult children.

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Npower’s Green Energy Fund Helps Cover Costs Of New Log-Fired Boiler

npower’s Green Energy Fund has helped fund a new log-fired boiler, which has been installed at Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire. The log-fired boiler is expected to save £5,000 a year in fuel bills.

The sustainable system – which will provide the Chalet Pavilion with hot water and heating – will also reduce the property’s carbon footprint by 10 tons a year.

Around eighteen tons of logs, which are to be cut from National Trust woodland at Wenlock Edge, will be burnt annually, as part of its ongoing woodland management scheme.

The £43,000 project was funded by several partners including the National Trust West Midlands Sustainability Fund, npower Green Energy Fund, South Shropshire District Council and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – Shropshire Development Fund.

Peter Carty, Countryside Property Manager for the National Trust, said: “This has been a major project identified in the Marches Energy Agency Energy Audit in 2006. It will save £5,000 in fuel oil and reduce our Carbon footprint by over 10 tons per year.

“Thanks to some hard work we currently have three years worth of logs cut and stacked by the trackside from where we can easily collect them. These are currently seasoning and a further five tons are cut and drying in our tractor shed at in Carding Mill Valley. A dozen volunteers and four members of National Trust staff were involved in this work which improves woodland management at Wenlock Edge.”

Robert Harper, Sustainable Technology Manager at npower, said: “The National Trust is to be applauded for the sustainable nature of this project, which will ensure that Carding Mill need not ever rely entirely on fuel oil to provide heating for the property. npower’s National Trust Green Energy Fund has contributed a significant amount towards this project and we are delighted that the project has come to fruition.”

Kathryn Warren, National Trust Environmental Practices Adviser, added: “The boiler will provide the Chalet Pavilion with all of its heating and hot water requirements. It is a sustainable source of fuel, which promotes better woodland management and results in increased nature conservation.”

She continued: “Installing the log-fired boiler will remove the need for heating oil at the property; it will significantly reduce its carbon footprint by moving to a carbon neutral fuel. The property will also be self sufficient for heating fuel and no longer exposed to increasing oil prices. More long-term sustainable energy initiatives are planned at Carding Mill’s Chalet Pavilion including hydro-electric power and rainwater harvesting.”


About npower:
RWE npower is an integrated energy business, generating electricity and supplying gas, electricity and related services to customers across the UK. We operate and manage flexible, low-cost coal, oil and gas-fired power stations – generating over 10.3 GW of electricity. npower serves around 6.6 million customer accounts and produce more than 10 per cent of the electricity used in England and Wales. In 2007, the company’s turnover was £5.9 billion.

About National Trust Green Energy:
National Trust Green Energy – in partnership with npower – was launched in September 2007. Through this partnership, the National Trust and npower have created a renewable energy tariff – National Trust Green Energy – from offshore wind and hydro-electric sources. When a customer signs up to National Trust Green Energy, npower makes a payment in the National Trust Green Energy Fund which is invested in small scale renewable energy generation and other carbon saving projects at Trust sites. npower’s National Trust Green Energy customers also receive an energy saving tips booklet and money off products such as insulation and PV panels to encourage them to save energy and money in their own homes.

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