Research shows that a third of small businesses consider the cost of energy as a barrier to growth and success.* Energy is often the remit in someone’s role that doesn’t get an awful lot of focus, it’s seen as an expected necessity to keep the business functioning.
However, not giving your business the time to consider its energy usage can result in missed opportunities to save money. Spending a small amount of time reviewing your energy usage will help identify small business energy efficiency opportunities which can save both time and money.
According to Ofgem, energy prices are set to increase over the next few years. This means that right now is the time to start thinking about how to reduce your energy bills.
We’ve identified 3 key places where you can review your energy costs and usage:
- Energy consumption behaviours in your business
Ensuring that you take control of your energy and understand how and when you are using it will, in-turn, identify areas in which you can cut back energy usage. Using less energy results in cheaper bills. Ask yourself:
- Can you be using more energy efficient commodities and equipment?
- Do you switch off all unnecessary equipment overnight?
- Are you able to take better control of the thermostat and heating usage?
- Do you need a smart meter to better monitor your energy consumption?
- Are you eligible for any tax incentives or government programmes offering support for energy saving initiatives?
- What can you do to motivate employees to think about energy saving?
If these questions have already got you thinking about real ways you can reduce your small business energy consumption, take the opportunity to introduce some energy saving initiatives and assess the results.
- Your energy bill
Most small businesses are unsure on how much energy they use, with a third not understanding their energy bills.
Energy bills can be an insightful source in highlighting why you are paying as much as you are, and whether that can be reduced. Reviewing your energy bill is the best place to start in ensuring you have the best deal for your business.
This information will also become vital when it becomes time to renew or renegotiate your energy contract. Our top 3 things to look out for on your energy bill:
- Tariff: Finding out exactly what energy tariff you are on will help assess whether it is the right one for your business.
- Terminology: Take the time to understand the terminology in your bill to ensure you aren’t missing any information
- Price: It may sound simple, but examine the amount you’re being charged, as well as the price per unit and how much your projected energy consumption is over the coming year.
- Your energy supplier
Energy prices can creep up and small businesses often miss their energy contract renewal period, seeing themselves locked into a high tariff and paying more than required. Sometimes, businesses are unaware that they are even in a contract. It may seem like a lot of work, but there are real savings to be had by comparing energy suppliers. Find out when your contract ends and book time at least 5 weeks before to look at available offers.
Contact your current supplier to establish their best renewal tariff, as well as undertaking energy comparisons with other suppliers to see if they can beat their price or offer a more suited package for your business. Asking the right questions to energy suppliers before signing up to a contract will also ensure your energy bills are as low as possible.
However, if you don’t have the time to understand the different energy supplier contract, tariffs and USP’s, there are some free energy brokers available. Their advice should be impartial and they can search the market to present their findings based on your requirements.
Dedicating the time within your business to initiate simple and cost-free actions to become more energy efficient will soon present many benefits for your business. Using less energy will not only results in cheaper bills but also contributes to your brand image as a sustainable company, radiating a positive and valued message to both new and existing customers.
Download our FREE Energy Efficiency Guide for SMEs and discover tips and advice on reducing your business energy usage
*Federation of Small Business (FSB), February 2016