Almost £4,000 a year is being spent on energy by the average UK business today, so it may be time to analyse how much gas and electric you’re using at your firm to find some quick and easy ways to cut the cost of your bills. Doing so will help you become smarter and more aware about your energy usage, while working to significantly reduce your carbon footprint as well. Keep reading for ways to make your company more profitable and greener…
The energy expenditure of UK businesses under the spotlight
Average business energy bills have soared by 100%+ in the last seven years alone. 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 effect is all this usage having on our bills? 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.
A six-step guide to reducing the cost of energy
A lot of employers, specifically those operating businesses with energy-intensive operations like manufacturing, hotels and catering, and healthcare, may be surprised to read the aforementioned figures. However, there are ways for savvy billpayers to bring their usage and prices down. Gas installation providers Flogas Energy share some expert tips on how companies can slash their energy costs – read on:
- Increase your awareness in energy usage
You should begin by understanding just how much energy you’re using and the exact amount it’s costing you when aiming to bring your energy costs down. 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.
- Behave differently when it comes to energy usage
Around your firm, there will be some forms of energy usage that are fixed. However, there are other areas where alterations can be made for the better. Bear in mind too that 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.
- Do your research
Leave an ongoing tariff to roll over as opposed to checking just how much the rate compares to other can see bills increase by up to 100%. 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.
- Analyse your current contract
Whether you are looking to continue with an existing supplier or are open to the prospect of switching to a more attractive deal, you should take the time to check that you have the most beneficial contract set up across 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.
- Install some smart meters
All you need to do to get the ball rolling on installing smart meters across your business is to contact your energy supplier. 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.
- Remember to invest to save
Take a look at the long-term energy performance of any equipment that you’re investing in throughout your business. For example, 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.
*Statistics from BusinessEnergy.com