Willcox Bros. Limited

In 2012 Power Direct acquired the business of Budget Control UK, a specialist consultancy dealing with care homes. It was through this acquisition that Power Direct began working with Willcox Bros. Limited to organise their energy procurement needs across six care homes in the Bristol area.

It’s a job that sees us working with father and daughter team Sam Hawker and John Willcox, and since 2009 we’ve provided an in-depth bill checking service for the gas and electricity supply at each home. Our objective: to identify and investigate any possible over-charging, and to proactively look for future contract savings.

Issue

Our client Sam was a very busy person. When we first engaged with Willcox Bros., she was being contacted every month about different queries regarding each of the six sites. This made the task of ensuring her contracts were being properly administered overly complex and excessively time consuming.

Power Direct were also quick to uncover a financial irregularity: a supplier had missed billing for an electricity meter installed at one of the homes. When we raised this issue on behalf of the client, the supplier simply issued a back bill and charged 20% VAT – which resulted in an invoice for over £4,000, and a refusal from the supplier to backdate the VAT correction.

Resolution

To make things easier for Sam, we arranged for the company’s gas and electricity contracts for each site to have a common end date. This action led to an immediate time saving: the contact required to complete the contracting for all six sites fell to just twice a year. In addition, by grouping these smaller supplies together, we helped ensure they were priced through the supplier’s corporate services channel for better prices on renewal.

Then there was the VAT issue, and not backing down in our demand for backdated repayment. Power Direct’s response was described as ‘tenacious’ in the way we pushed the supplier to recognize and acknowledge their failings. We were also successful, and achieved a re-issuing of the invoice at the correct 5% VAT rate. As an added bonus, the supplier also removed 10% from the outstanding balance as a goodwill gesture. Job done.

View from the client

"We have seen a real benefit in working with yourself and the Budget Control Team (now Power Direct). We get numerous calls about energy contracts and it is great to know we have knowledgeable and reliable back up taking care of this for us. It would take hours on end for the six sites if we did this ourselves. Now I know it is all taken care of in a timely way, and if I have any queries on the bills we receive I have Budget Control sort it out for me rather than going through a call centre from the supplier. The saving in terms of time and cost are both very worthwhile and the back up and support you provide for us is first class."

Sam Hawker, Joint Owner

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