Business energy … It’s not the most alluring part of running a business, is it?! But, for most businesses it’s unavoidable and there are ways you can reduce your expenditure despite rising costs. Just ask yourself a few questions ….

How do you pay?

Most suppliers charge more if you don’t pay by direct debit. The differences are typically up to 7% – that’s over £200 a year for a small business using 20,000 kwh of electricity a year.

Is your meter the best type for your business?

Premises change usage over the years and a single rate meter which was suitable for a building working a weekday 9-5 pattern wouldn’t be right for a bar or club which would benefit from a 3 rate meter offering lower rates for evenings/weekends and nights.

Are you in a contract?

If you are not in a contract, you will be paying either standard variable rates or deemed rates. For the majority of energy suppliers, these rates will be higher than fixed price contract rates.

Do you usually accept your existing supplier’s renewal rates?

I hate to say it but suppliers like apathetic customers. Their renewal rates which they automatically send out close to the end of a contract will usually be higher than if you shop around, even if you shop around with your current supplier!

Is it like Blackpool illuminations in your business premises?

How many times have you walked into part of your premises and found nobody there but all the lights on? Unless you go the full hog and install movement sensitive lighting, it’s really a case of changing the culture of your staff …. but make sure it starts from the top!  Replacing conventional bulbs with LED will save you money on your electricity bills immediately. I’ll be putting out a future blog on the whole area of LED lighting.

Do you have a phantom-temperature-changer in your building?

The issue of temperature in an office can be much like “Goldilocks and the 3 Bears” – for some it’s always too hot, for some it’s always too cold and for some it will never be right! A sealed programmable thermostat set at a constant temperature in line with health and safety guidance will avoid individuals setting it to their own preference and avoid the costs of a system trying to heat the building to furnace levels! And don’t forget to time it so you’re not heating or cooling your building when no-one is in!

Is your office equipment left on standby overnight?

Whilst modern equipment is generally more energy efficient, leaving appliances on, even in standby mode, will cost you in electricity.

Moreover, have a look around your premises. How many phones are being left charging even when they have been fully charged?! My own personal bugbear!

How paperless is your office?

By only printing when absolutely necessary, not only will you save money on paper and toner, but also on the energy to run printers and the life expectancy of your printer!

Is your building energy efficient?

Check your premises on a regular basis for poorly fitting or broken window and door seals as drafts from outside can reduce heating efficiencies. Also are you making the most of natural light with sky lights? And do you have part of the exterior of the building where solar panels could be installed to make the most of the sun (when it’s out!)?

If you have a half hourly meter, is your KVA set at the correct level?

Your capacity charge, also know as availability charge,  is the agreed amount of electricity load in KVA available to you from the grid and your distribution network operator charges you for this availability via your electricity supplier. If your KVA is set too high, you’re basically paying for something you are not using. If it’s set too low, and your maximum demand in the billing month is higher than your agreed amount, you’ll be paying a premium on the extra that you use.

If you need any help answering any of the above questions, please contact me, Justine Doyle, Utility360 energy consultant.