Conditions remain tough for businesses despite the ongoing economic recovery and it’s important that firms continue to look for ways to reduce their overheads and remain competitive. One way in which firms can achieve this goal is by keeping a close eye on their energy expenditure and ensuring that they are using energy efficiently and paying as little as possible for their gas and electricity supply.
There are a number of initiatives for improving efficiency that will help a business to save money on their electricity and gas. Firms can use energy efficient lighting, improve their insulation, or adopt energy-saving policies, such as ensuring that computers and monitors are switched off when not in use. Firms can also adapt their heating or air-conditioning systems to ensure that these are operating as efficiently as possible.
Why Switch Suppliers?
Measures such as these may help firms to cut down on their energy usage, but there may be even greater savings to be made by switching energy suppliers. For larger firms or energy-intensive firms, switching to cheaper rates could make a significant difference to the balance sheet.
Business energy has not always a top priority for firms. It can also seem like a real upheaval to change supplier, because switching hasn't always been the quickest or easiest process. According to a 2012 Business Energy Barometer, 4% of the people responsible for business energy decisions within a firm did not know their supplier, while over a quarter revealed that they didn’t know how much energy their company used.
But it is worthwhile considering these issues, and especially during an economic recovery. Business energy is a semi-variable cost, which means that a firm will normally spend more on energy as it seeks to increase its output. Locking into a new business deal that is not right for the business could result in a firm missing out on major savings over a period of time.
Matching Your Business Energy Needs
Because firms differ greatly in terms of the size of their premises and the number of employees, many business energy suppliers will customise their tariffs for individual companies. Price plans will vary by provider, so firms will need to ensure that they specify their energy needs when they shop around for the best deal.
Some suppliers (as you can see in our table above) only offer one fuel type, so companies requiring only gas or electricity will be able to include these within their search for a new supplier. Alternatively, if a business requires both gas and electricity, it may prefer to shop around with providers that offer both services.
Some suppliers also offer features such as smart meters, which help to monitor energy usage and determine where efficiency savings could be made. The opportunity to cut costs and be assisted in improving energy usage is undoubtedly an enticing one.
But businesses should not feel pressured or obliged to sign up to the first offer they receive. Decision-makers should feel empowered to compare the offers made to them by different suppliers and receive the guidance they need to find the best deal for their business.