With everyone concerned about inflation and the papers being full of alarming headlines about energy prices rising, businesses need to keep a careful eye on all costs. As autumn and winter approach, there are several actions you can take to minimise the impact of rising costs. For those who need financial help, we have highlighted how to seek advice and find grants.
Check your consumption and what you are paying
Always keep an eye on what you are consuming and what you are paying. Check whether your invoices are based on actuals or estimates. If you haven’t submitted your actual meter readings regularly, it is wise to do so. This will prevent underpayments from building up or result in a credit if they have been overestimated.
Review whether you are on the best tariff from your current provider for the amount of energy you use and when you use it. Sometimes there are discounts for buying both gas and electricity from one supplier, or for using electricity overnight in which case you may be able to change your consumption behaviour to save money e.g. switch to a lower-cost night-time tariff if you have appliances that you can run overnight. However, make sure you do the maths before switching tariffs because the daytime rates are often higher, and you may not save any money at all.
Review switching energy suppliers
The citizen advice website has lots of good advice about the pros and cons of switching energy suppliers.
You may not be able to save money, but you may be able to buy your energy from more eco-friendly suppliers which in turn may help you to attract and retain customers.
Energy audits and being energy efficient
Some councils and other organisations offer a free business energy audit. Check what’s available in your area.
Encourage your team to be energy efficient e.g. making sure the heating isn’t on unnecessarily or on too high. Consider asking your team to elect an eco-champion and brainstorm together about what measures everyone can take to help reduce energy costs. Here are some ideas:
- Install an electric smart meter to monitor how much electricity you are using
- Switch to energy-saving lightbulbs
- Install motion-sensitive lighting
- Don’t switch the air conditioning on too early
- Maximise the efficiency of air conditioning
- Invest in generating your own energy
- Switch off computers overnight
- Only boil the water you need
- Update your technology to more energy-efficient models
- Make sure roofs are insulated and invest in double glazing (but remember that ventilation is important, especially in older buildings because otherwise you may get damp and mould problems)
Consider generating your own energy
Many businesses are investing in solar power. If you can afford the investment, then this is definitely worthwhile considering. You can sell back any excess or buy a battery to store it and use it later. Again, make sure you do the research and maths before you invest so that you know what financial payback to expect and when.
Grants and support to help businesses with energy costs
If you are struggling with costs, always talk to your supplier about payment plans. Also, check out what financial support and advice is available.
Help for employees
The following websites won’t help your business, but they may be useful to help you and your employees save money at home:
Find ways to save energy in your home – GOV.UK
Energy Bills Support Scheme explainer – GOV.UK
Help for businesses
At the moment, the energy price cap set by Ofgem is only for the domestic supply of energy. However, the new government has promised equivalent support for businesses (including charities and public sector organisations such as schools).
What to do next
If all of this is too overwhelming or you simply don’t have the time to work out what action to take, speak to our team. We will review your current tariffs against what’s available and help you to plan how to manage your finances to cover your energy needs.
If you would like help taking action to reduce your energy costs, contact our accountancy team on 020 3488 4811 or use our contact form.