Arts venues form energy buying ensemble

20 April 2012

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21 April 2012 | Adam Leach

Three of London’s premier arts venues have formed an energy procurement collective called ‘The Arts Basket’ to benefit from bulk purchase wholesale prices.

The National Theatre, Royal Opera House and Royal Albert Hall are teaming up with energy procurement consultancy Power Efficiency to drive down costs by leveraging their buying power. Currently just the three venues are involved in the buying group but other theatre and arts venues with charitable status or membership to the Arts Council are also encouraged to join.

The collective grew out of an existing relationship between Power Efficiency and the Royal Opera House and was prompted by the Arts Council as a way to lower energy costs across arts venues in the UK. Power Efficiency will present The Arts Basket to suppliers for tender with a view to agreeing a three-year framework agreement for half-hourly rates on both electricity and gas.

Carrie Simpson, account manager at Power Efficiency, said: “By combining forces, The Arts Basket enables us to bulk purchase their energy at favourable wholesale rates giving significant cost savings cost savings to these institutions.”

A spokesman for Power Efficiency explained to SM an aspect the collective is looking to drive benefits from is the unique energy usage pattern of such venues, low usage during down time and high usage during performances.

Sally O’Neill, director of finance at the Royal Opera House, said in a statement: “The Arts Basket is a major opportunity for venues like ours to cut energy costs which are a significant overhead. We want to encourage other arts venues and theatre managers to consider applying to join the basket.”

Before going out to tender, the energy usage patterns of each venue will be reviewed and a risk management purchasing strategy will be agreed.

As part of his campaign for Mayor of London, Labour’s Ken Livingstone has suggested the creation of a London-wide energy purchasing collective. If elected he pledged to combine the buying power of Londoners and London-based businesses with Transport for London to drive down costs.

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