Did you know that the average business across the UK spends close to £4,000 each year on energy? With this statistic in mind, it’s obviously a wise move for business owners to analyse both their gas and electric usage and establish ways that they can cut their bills considerably. Become more aware and smarter with your energy usage won’t just help businesses to boost their bottom line though, as the effort can also see firms reduce their carbon footprint by a large margin. Keep reading to learn how to make your company both more profitable and greener…
Understanding the amount that businesses across the UK are spending on energy
In the past seven years alone, average business energy bills have jumped by over 100% as a result of government initiatives and changing usage patterns. For most SMEs, gas and electricity charges now make up a considerable chunk of their monthly outgoings – taking a hefty portion of their profits. The majority of UK businesses are using between 15,000 and 25,000 kWh of power per year, but annual consumption figures for large business and industry can reach in excess of 250,000 kWh.
What does this amount of energy usage mean when analysing the bills faced by businesses. The latest data shows that businesses in the UK are spending an average of £3,061 on their annual electricity bills, and an additional £856 a year on gas. Small businesses in particular fare slightly better – but with the average electricity bill for an SME reaching £2,958 (and that’s before putting business mains gas into the equation), it’s still a considerable outlay.
Tips for business to bring down their energy costs
The numbers provided above may well give business owners a shock, especially if you’re a firm with energy-intensive operations like those found at hotels and catering, healthcare and manufacturing firms. However, there are ways for savvy billpayers to bring their usage and prices down. Business gas mains supplier Flogas Energy shares some expert tips on how companies can slash their energy costs:
1. Have you compared prices?
You could see you bills increase by up to 100% if you leave your current tariff to roll over without taking some time to compare it with others? Ahead of your contract ending, it’s worth finding out how much switching could save you. And, whether you use a broker, online search or go direct, make sure you don’t limit yourself to the Big Six. Switching to a smaller business energy supplier could mean significantly lower bills, and benefits like better customer service.
2. Have you installed smart meters across your business?
Your energy supplier should be sought out for a discussion about fitting smart meters across your business premises? That way you’ll know exactly how much your business energy supply is costing you day-to-day – and because you only pay for what you use, there’s no need for estimated billing or meter readings. As well as saving on monthly charges, it can also help you wise up to your company energy use and make better decisions on where you might be able to curb your consumption. Energy management software can also help provide useful insight for larger businesses.
3. Do you invest with the intent to save?
When investing in equipment across your business, bear in mind the long-term energy performance of the devices. For instance, opt for energy-efficient, A-rated appliances. Whilst this approach might come with a heftier price tag in the first instance, any piece of kit that helps save energy on your everyday operations will pay for itself and more in the long run.
4. Are you aware about your energy usage?
It is crucial when looking at ways to cut your energy costs to know exactly how much energy you’re using at the moment, as well as the precise amount that it’s costing you. The average unit prices in the UK are currently 14.36p per kWh for electricity and 4.25p per kWh for gas, with standing charges on top of this. Finding out your business’s annual usage figures – and knowing when your contract is due to come to an end – means you’re well equipped to accurately compare your current supplier’s prices with others on the market.
5. Have you checked your contract?
Whether you stay with your existing gas and electricity supplier or switch to a better deal, it pays to make sure you have the best possible contract setup for your business. For example, an extended fixed-term contract could help protect you against future price rises, giving some valuable peace of mind and making budgeting easier. Or there might be an additional discount on offer if you opt for a Direct Debit payment plan.
6. Are there ways you can change your behaviour?
At every business, some energy usage will be fixed. However, it’s also likely that there are some areas where you can make changes – and a small change in output can make for a huge annual saving. It could be as simple as making sure computers are switched off outside of office hours, or putting your lights on a timer, but encouraging employees to find more efficient ways of working is a great place to start. Some companies even introduce incentive schemes to help foster better habits, offering staff tangible rewards for greener behaviour.
*Statistics from BusinessEnergy.com