How to Reduce Energy Bills for Business Users
Read our essential guide to the top 20 tips and methods to obtain cheaper business energy bills.
Your bill consists of two main elements, namely contract rates and consumption data. This guide describes ten techniques for each to reduce your costs.
Top 10 Methods for Getting the Cheapest Tariffs
Your aim on your contract is simple; to lower your annual invoices. Almost all tariffs have two elements, the unit rate and a daily standing charge.
Cost vary greatly by each power company, so comparing prices is essential.
Comparing prices is uncomplicated and takes less than one minute to enter your details. Here are our top tips for getting the lowest prices:
1. Check Your Total Quote
Don’t be fixated with reducing only the unit rate per kWh. Some tariffs have low unit prices, but with high standing charges. Therefore, compare the overall annual cost of your bill rather than individual rates.
2. Know Your Contract End Point
All business energy contracts require formal termination so you’ll need to monitor the end dates and terminate it in time when the terms allow. This process avoids rolling over your contract to prices that could increase by 75%-85% depending on your provider. Between 61% and 82% of businesses allow this to happen each year.
3. Search the Market Each Year for Prices
Tender or get quotes annually from all the main six energy suppliers for electric, gas, and dual fuel tariffs. Dual fuel tariffs may not be cheaper for all companies so you should obtain all three quotes per supplier.
4. Check With Your Current Supplier
When you have all the quotes, even from a broker, ask your current supplier to beat the lowest price. In most cases, you’ll be offered additional discounts to stay.
5. Don’t Miss Out on Additional Discounts
Pay your bills by fixed monthly Direct Debit to receive additional discounts. These reductions can be between 2% and 5% depending on the provider.
6. Try a Broker
Consider hiring an energy broker who has a deeper knowledge of the industry and the types of contracts transacted each month. They often have specially negotiated rates that beat the suppliers direct prices.
7. Use Referrals
Speak with your colleagues to see who they use for their energy and ask them what they’re paying. Although regional pricing means businesses in the North of the UK often pay 8% higher than those in the South, using a trusted supplier from a recommendation lowers the risk of expensive rates.
8. Group Buying Power
Considering pooling your purchasing power with other businesses in your area, then approach the energy suppliers as a group to see if you can obtain further discounts. Some brokers offer this type of group buying service with many hundreds of customers to leverage the purchasing power.
9. Fix for a Longer Term
Once you have the best prices, consider a longer term contract if you believe prices will rise. The longest fixed rate contracts are usually for three years, which are on average 12% higher than a one-year contract. Prices negotiated today at these levels will not rise or fall if the wholesale market pricing changes. This could help with long-term budgeting and cash flow management.
10. Get Other Services Bundled
Ask to receive additional services from your supplier. You can access specialist energy managers to help you reduce your consumption or smart meters to monitor and analyse your data. Most suppliers provide these free of charge, but you have to ask to receive them.
Bonus tip: Consider Green Tariffs
By choosing a green 100% renewable tariff you’ll get an exemption from any Climate Change Levy. Although the prices for these tariffs are usually higher than standard charges, your carbon offset requirements will be zero. You may be able to negotiate reasonable prices for renewable fuel contracts; just speak with your energy supplier or broker.
Top 10 Methods to Improve Energy Efficiency
Using less energy is the second key element in reducing your annual bills.
Although some information in this guide is obvious, it’s still worth implementing. Surveys and research undertaken in this area suggest that at least 10% savings in consumption are possible by implementing these changes in your organisation.
The average business on typical tariff rates would save over £220 each year. Here are our top 10 tips:
1. Utilise Feed-in Tariffs
Consider investing in renewable energy sources such as solar panels or wind turbines. You’ll receive payments for the electricity generated via business feed in tariffs from the government as well as not having to purchase traditional fuels.
2. Make Use of Industry Expertise
Make full use of the free expert advisors your energy company provides. They all provide access to professionals who can audit your business while suggesting ways to reduce energy consumption.
3. Upgrade to a Smart Meter
Install a smart metering and data collection system. Most UK businesses are not on this type of meter but can upgrade for free. The meters allow access to usage data on a regular basis so you can monitor peak load times. This data allows you to make adjustments to how you use energy and reduce long-term consumption.
4. Introduce Energy Efficient Lighting
Consider changing all light bulbs to the energy efficient equivalent. The cost of these units has drastically reduced in recent years, and the quality of light produced is in line with traditional bulbs. The energy usage is almost negligible and could save hundreds, if not thousands of pounds per year.
5. Integrate Changes with Staff
Promote best practice with staff and customers by turning off lights and IT equipment when not in use. This simple but effective measure is an easy win for efficiency in your organisation.
6. Opt for Grade A Appliances
When renewing appliances always select grade A+ efficient models. High standards and EU directives mean most are highly graded in any case. All equipment will show how efficient they are on the product labels.
As with residential properties, consider investing in double glazing or insulation in walls to keep the heat in and cold out during the winter months.
8. Manage Temperature Controls
Turn down thermostats by a couple of degrees if possible and ensure that they’re working correctly. Modern digital thermostats are the most reliable and easiest to operate.
9. Swap-out Inefficient Equipment
Consider changing high use energy equipment for the low energy equivalent. For example, ink jet printers use 90% less energy than laser jet printers, and the quality is almost the same.
10. Timing Helps Efficiency
Consider installing timers for heating and cooling systems so they’re off when there is no one on the premises but come on at the right times.
Many of the energy efficiency measures are a lifestyle change for most people and staff. These changes need to be communicated internally with management support.
Perhaps data from your energy consumption reports could be communicated each week so everyone is aware of the consumption in the business. Additionally, targeting improvements together with reward systems where any savings are passed back to the employees could be implemented. Making a few changes on usage and negotiating down prices can have a huge effect on the costs of your annual bills.