Small Firms Are Overlooking Money-Saving Energy Deals

Small businesses are failing to shop around for the best energy deals, despite a rise in prices, according to Electricity4Business.

An Electricity4Business survey of 1,000 small firms found that energy bills are now the second biggest cost to small firms, behind staff wages, but ahead of rent. The survey also highlighted that one-fifth of small firms spend more than ten per cent of their annual turnover on energy bills.

However, only one-fifth of small-business owners knew when their contract with their energy supplier was due for renewal, and more than half do not read the small print of the terms and conditions.

“In the face of economic downturn, it is small firms that are under the most pressure to remain profitable, and controlling business costs such as electricity bills is an important part of staying afloat,”

said Electricty4Business sales and marketing director Graham Paul.

“There is obvious confusion over contracts and this may account for some businesses’ inertia,” he added. “It is crucial that businesses understand the point at which their contract comes up for renewal, so they can shop around and avoid being rolled into another contract at a higher price.”

However, Lance Pearson, sales director at commercial consultancy Utility Watch, believes small firms can be so focused on their core business that they don’t have time to shop around.

“But, by adopting a similar ‘shopping around approach’ as the consumer sector, savings for commercial organisations could be considerable,” he said.

As well as switching suppliers, SMEs can take additional steps to reduce their energy bills. The Energy Management Advisory Service (EMAS), a voluntary initiative designed to improve companies’ environmental performance, offered the following advice:

  • Ensure employees turn off lights, printers and monitors when they are not in use.
  • Turn down the central heating or air conditioning – a difference of one degree can make a three per cent saving on heating bills.
  • Install utility meters regularly to see how much electricity, gas and water is being used and do not rely on utility bills that estimate usage.

To compare the cost of utility providers, visit the Utility Watch website www.utilitywatchuk.co.uk

For more information about the best and worst electricity suppliers, visit the Energy Watch website

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