Posted by: Kien Lac
With continuing high oil prices, the uncertainties over the the Middle East and nuclear concerns since the disater in Japan, wholesale energy prices have soared in the last six months, with little signs of it coming down any time soon. The major energy providers have steadily passed these price increases on to business customers, many of whom face energy bills which could be 50% higher than they were paying only two years ago.
However, despite the pressures in the market, there are a number of things businesses can do to manage and reduce the cost of this expensive business overhead.
1. Don’t bury your head in the sand
There’s an alarming gulf in the price businesses pay for what is essentially the same product. On the whole, it’s passive companies – those who fail to take action on their energy contracts – who wind up paying the biggest tariffs.
2. Get up to speed
Make sure you are up to speed on all aspects of your energy outlay so you don’t end up paying over the odds. At a bare minimum, you should at least find out what type of contract you are on and how much you are paying per unit rate.
3. Take control
Review your utility prices on an annual basis. Barely 15% of small businesses know what rate they are paying for electricity.
4. Don’t fall into the rollover trap
Unlike domestic users, businesses are subject to assumptive renewal contracts that only offer a limited window of opportunity to switch suppliers before being rolled over onto a new contract at a higher rate.
5. Don’t miss your window of opportunity
There’s an incredibly narrow period (sometimes just 30 days) in which to act. Take action before it’s too late by finding out when your contract expires.
6. Shop around
Just 7% of businesses switched energy providers last year, and more than half have never changed suppliers. Loyalty doesn’t count for much when it comes to your utilities so be prepared to switch, and switch often in search of the best possible deal.
7. Don’t be put off
Switching is generally perceived as a complicated, time-consuming process; but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you ask the experts.
8. Adopt simple ideas to reduce consumption
In addition to getting better prices, simple ideas can be implemented to reduce energy consumption within your business. Try adopting a switching off policy for lighting and equipment when not in use, turning thermostats down from ‘max’ settings and changing to energy efficiency lighting.
9. Ask the experts
Simplify the energy cost management process by calling on specialist support from an independent savings expert. An impartial advisor will guide you through the utilities minefield, helping to save you valuable time and money in the process. Auditel even offers a no-savings, no-fee service to take the risk away from engaging in our specialist cost management service.
10. Don’t stop at energy
While the headline figures are reserved for energy, managing your costs in this way can also save you money in other business services, such as telecoms and insurance.