The West Somerset Railway has announced that it has been given a boost to its £1m Emergency SOS Fund, which launched in June.
When Meercat Associates heard of the appeal, they contacted the railway and investigated their energy systems, and managed to save the railway £12,800 off their gas and electricity bills.
Like most other railways, the West Somerset Railway has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and this latest appeal comes after a rejection of a £432,000 bid for funding from the Culture Recovery Fund.
The new fund has now raised around £30,000 so far, which is great news for the survival of this popular heritage railway.
“We operate 10 stations, gift shops and cafes, but had multiple energy and other suppliers with an array of contracts ending on different dates,” said Jonathan Jones-Pratt, Chairman of the West Somerset Railway plc which operates the line.
“Managing our supply costs is very complex and time-consuming for us so, as well as the annual savings gained so far which will go towards our SOS appeal, we’re delighted that Meercat is now monitoring our ongoing consumption of core services 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 re-assuring to have this important support and expertise in place, and all of our meters are now aligned with common end dates, and managed through Meercat’s portal.
“This not only allows the WSR full access to all meter details, usage and forecast costings, but also peace of mind when the contracts are approaching renewal that Meercat will drive the prices down for us by approaching all of the energy suppliers again.
“And I’m delighted that Meercat are now keen to offer their free-of-charge services to other heritage railways around the country too who can benefit as well.”
Andrew Childers, CEO of Meercat Associates said: “When we heard about the plight of the West Somerset Railway and their SOS appeal, 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 the one best suited to bring down the WSR’s costs. This is where we get over 40 energy suppliers to compete with each other for supplying their services, driving down the price with each bid in order to secure the business.
“There is no charge for using our services because, like most brokers, we are paid by way of commissions from the supplier. As we can drive these costs down so effectively, and our commissions are low, this ensures the greatest savings are realised for the end user, and we can run our trading model to benefit everyone.
“We’re so pleased the WSR is now making this sizeable saving to contribute towards their big SOS appeal. We wish them well with all their ongoing fund-raising efforts, and look forward to working with other heritage railways.
If you would like to donate towards the West Somerset Railway SOS Appeal, then please click here.
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