Belfast Telegraph

Millions of SMEs missing out on energy-efficiency savings

Many firms fail to manage their utilities, finds Nikhil Kumar

Steep energy price rises from the large utilities are continuing apace. More the pity, then, that so many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seem to be missing the chance to save money by managing their energy consumption more efficiently.

New research from the energy firm npower shows that 53% of the nearly five million SMEs in the UK have “no methods in place to manage energy efficiency”.

Many of these companies could be overlooking an opportunity to make sizeable savings. Indeed, when the researchers looked more closely at firms that do monitor energy efficiency, they found that 50% reported “savings of up to 10%”, indicating the potential benefits.

If that isn't enough to convince managers, consider figures from the Carbon Trust, showing that SMEs could save as much as 20% if they reduced their emissions, against 8% for larger businesses.

Such savings would make a big difference at the best of times, but they are all the more important in light of the prevailing economic backdrop, with many companies struggling to deal with the tough trading environment.

On the upside, the survey's results weren't all bad. They also showed that efficiency is working its way up the agenda for SMEs and that the level of importance small companies attach to energy management and efficiency stands at its highest level since 2005.

Still, Patrick Harvey, the head of customer loyalty at npower, says many more firms need to wake up to the potential for savings.

“More businesses need to realise that, through simple-to-implement or no-cost measures, they can lower their bills by around 10%,” he says.

“In today's tough operating environment this is a saving that SMEs can't afford to overlook.”

Belfast Telegraph