West Somerset Railway

It’s Full Steam Ahead With Big Energy Savings

England’s longest heritage railway received an unexpected boost just a day after launching their new £1 million Emergency SOS survival fund.

The railway was contacted by Meercat Associates, a business procurement service operating across the UK, and after investigating their energy supplies, saved them £12,800 off their gas and electricity bills.

“We operate 10 stations, gift shop and cafes, but had multiple suppliers with an array of contracts ending on different dates” said Jonathan Jones-Pratt, Chairman of West Somerset Railway. “The management of this is very complex and time-consuming, so as well as the annual saving, we’re thrilled Meercat are now monitoring our consumption for us and will give strategic advice as and when we should switch suppliers again in the future. With the cost of energy continuing to rise, it’s so re-assuring to have this important support and expertise in place”.

Like most attractions, the 20 mile long line has received a large trading revenue shortfall due to the truncated operating season with fewer trains running and a reduced capacity resulting from Covid-19 restrictions.

Much of the ‘SOS’ money they are looking to raise will come from donations such as the ‘Fiver’ or a ‘Tenner’ a month schemes which together with other fund-raising efforts, has previously raised them over £500,000.

This appeal comes after the WSR had two formal appeals turned down following the recent rejection of its second round bid to the Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) Second Round for ‘Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage’ (CRFH) financial support.

Andrew Childers, CEO of Meercat Associates says, “When we heard about the plight of the railway, we just had to help. Our Energy Manager spent a great deal of time gathering all the information so he could ascertain the best course of action. He decided that our Reverse Auction platform was best suited to bringing down the price. This is where we get over 40 energy suppliers to compete for supplying the railway, driving down the price with each bid. We’re so pleased they’re making this saving, especially after launching their big SOS appeal. We wish them well with all their efforts”.

Meercat Associates work with businesses to reduce regular costs in key areas such as energy, telecoms, merchant services and pest control, etc. Most businesses need to focus on the daily operation of the business, caring after customers and achieving sales.

Often, businesses struggle to manage these areas of the business so having a procurement partner who can negotiate for you can bring good savings in time as well as money.

For further details on the railway, go to www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk or call 01643 704996.