In light of the recent Government campaign aiming to encourage domestic users to switch energy providers, Utilitywise's Michael Dent says that businesses have all to gain from switching too.
Energy switching has topped the news agenda this week. The Competition and Markets Authority reported that consumers can save up £234 on their energy bills by switching suppliers and a national campaign from the Department of Energy & Climate Change has encouraged them to do just that. This is all well helpful headlines, but businesses need to sit up and pay attention too, as they can reap the potential benefits as well.
We've found that 14% of small business owners – a sizeable 684,469 companies – have never actively reviewed their utilities outgoings, and therefore many never have considered the possible deals and savings to be made elsewhere. This lack of knowledge is surprising when small businesses cite that the rising price of utilities is the main source of cost inflation for the future*.
It's not just about being market-savvy, we've also discovered that more than 2.5million SME owners and decision makers do not even know what they spend on utilities, with less than a third (30%) being able to access their energy consumption information. It is important that small business understand their energy, so they can manage their energy. We all shop around providers in our personal lives and now this needs to be brought into business. Those running businesses review their personal domestic utilities provision more regularly than they review the supply to their business (30% versus 20% respectively), so perhaps the switching messages needs to be more business focused.
In recent years it has become easier to switch energy providers in a domestic setting; there are many tools available to help in sourcing, comparing and procuring the best deal for the home, but businesses need support to do this. Every enterprise is different; how it is set up and in the way it is run and it is imperative that a complete picture of the company is reviewed in order to offer the best energy saving solutions. Businesses have enough on their plates every day and owners are time-poor when it comes to studying bills and reviewing competitive quotes. Instead, those running small businesses need experts they can trust. An independent consultant with the knowledge of how the energy market functions will have the know-how to tailor an energy management programme that's bespoke. There are savings to be made through switching, but business don't have to do this alone.
* Federation of Small Businesses Voice of Small Business Index Q1 2014