Operators of combined heat and power (CHP) engines know just how important the smooth running of their equipment is to the overall success of their business, with owners often spending tens of thousands of pounds each year on maintaining and servicing their engines. Having ready access to critical spare parts such as spark plugs and filters from genuine manufacturers is an essential part of successful CHP operation. But with most of the leading CHP component providers based in Europe, getting hold of quality spares at short notice has become more difficult this year, due to a combination of Covid-19 and Brexit. Here, James Thompson, Managing Director of gas engine support specialist Gen-C, reveals how CHP operators can maintain their engine’s performance by buying directly from UK distributors –avoiding border delays, additional costs and bureaucratic red tape.

A perfect storm
According to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), 45% of firms have experienced delays getting goods into the UK from the EU since 1 January 2021, citing new Brexit custom requirements and additional Covid-19 protocols as the main causes of delay. And there are fears that border disruptions will only intensify in the coming months, as the volume of goods being imported into the UK increases. A total of 17% of respondents admitted they were currently importing less than usual due to stockpiling ahead of the Brexit deadline; once this stock has depleted, traffic will increase, and further delays and stock shortages are expected.
This is of vital importance to UK owners and operators of CHPs, who rely heavily on quality components from European manufacturers such as Motortech to keep their engines running smoothly. The new Brexit custom requirements mean that, from 1 January 2021, a UK CHP operator looking to import spares from Germany, for example, must now follow multiple steps.
Increased red tape
First, they need to fill in an online form and apply to HMRC for an EORI number that starts with GB. Then, they must find out the commodity code and value for the goods they want to import and include this on their import declaration. This will determine the rate of duty and VAT they need to pay and whether they need an import licence.
Next, they must check the labelling, marking and marketing rules before attempting to get their goods through customs. If they’ve appointed someone to deal with UK customs on their behalf, this representative can make the declaration and get the goods through the UK border. If not, they will have to make an import declaration and get the goods cleared by UK customs themselves.
If they are VAT registered, they can then apply to claim back any VAT paid on the goods imported, for which they will need an Import VAT Certificate (C79). If they paid the wrong amount of duty or rejected the goods, they will need to claim a refund on import duties or make a claim for rejected imports. Finally, they must keep records of all commercial invoices and any customs paperwork.
Easing the burden
If this sounds too much like hard work for a box of CHP spark plugs, then there is an alternative. UK distributors are perfectly placed to shoulder the bureaucratic burden on behalf of their customers, buying in bulk and in advance to ensure that a ready supply of quality European components is immediately available to UK CHP operators with no red tape, whenever they need it.
As the exclusive UK distributor for Motortech (a German provider of parts and systems for all popular gas engines), Gen-C can supply a wide range of high-quality components to the UK market. We are also the UK partner of RS Motor, a Spanish-based supplier of spares for leading MWM and Jenbacher engines, and we specialise in upgrading gas CHP and genset control panels with Motortech air fuel ratio (AFR) expertise underwritten with ComAp technology.
Next-day delivery
Thanks to a significant investment in stock, our Sheffield warehouse now contains all the key European components that UK CHP operators require, such as spark plugs, filters, HT leads, spark plug gaskets, speed pick-ups, control components, spark view ignition testing units, timing lights, and spark plug cleaning kits.
Purchasing quality European spares from a UK distributor such as Gen-C brings none of the hassle of importing from the EU – no red tape, no border delays (including those caused by your goods being stuck on the same vehicle as items without the correct paperwork), no additional fees, no currency or exchange issues, and no language barrier. Free technical support for every item purchased comes as standard and same-day dispatch is guaranteed for orders placed by noon, ensuring your CHP can continue to run exactly as intended – no matter what’s happening at the border.
To order your CHP spare call 01709 718002 or go to www.gen-c.co.uk