The cost of living crisis and the soaring rise in energy bills has been a major talking point for everyone in the UK.
Poorer households are having to face the heart-breaking choice of ‘heat or eat’ and business owners are worried their firm may not survive if things carry on in this fashion.
At Barings Law, we offer support for businesses in two crucial ways – obtaining compensation for unpaid Business Interruption insurance claims and for mis-sold Business Energy deals.
Whether you have lost income due to the pandemic and/or believe your broker mis-sold or hid commission charges on your energy deal, we can help you retrieve vital compensation to help keep you afloat.
We don’t want that help to stop just on the services we offer though, which is why we have compiled a list of ways your business can reduce energy usage to try and keep those rising bills at bay.
Know your energy usage
Understanding where your business is losing money is integral in making key changes. An energy audit is easy to complete and includes analysing where changes could – and should – be made.
You can also get your business a smart meter – you will have significantly more control in seeing where you are using and wasting the most energy. Your readings will also be able to give you more accurate bills instead of estimates, meaning you can challenge any bills that don’t look right when you get them.
Swap your lighting
Keeping the lights on in your workplace can work out rather costly. In fact, your business could be using up to 40% of energy on lighting alone.
Swap your bulbs to those that are more energy efficient such as LEDs. They’ll last a lot longer than your current ones and cost significantly less.
If your workplace has lots of windows with natural light shining through, take advantage. Ask yourself why all of your lights are turned on during the day when your space is bright enough with the sun beaming through.
Swapping to a programmable thermostat might seem like an additional and unnecessary cost but, in the long-run, it will save your business a fortune, and is in fact one of the easiest ways to lower your running costs.
You can heat and cool your workplace more straightforwardly by adjusting the temperature to suit your workspace and working patterns. With a programmable thermostat, you can make sure the heating is turned off when nobody is working, such as on a weekend. You can even schedule the heat to turn on and off in time for your employees arriving and leaving.
If you can lower the average temperature in the workplace by just 1°, you could save up to 10% of your annual heating bill.
Switch your energy supplier
You could be missing out on a deal that is more suited to your business by sticking with your current energy supplier. Many suppliers nowadays offer many different tariffs; including rates for use at certain times of the day.
Be careful when choosing your supplier though. Some electricity companies may try to get you to agree to a ‘Take or Buy’ clause in your contract. This is where they will get you to commit to buying a certain amount of electricity, disguised as a better deal, when in fact you won’t be needing that amount in the first place.
You can use a broker when choosing your supplier. However, businesses are owed hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation after discovering they could have been overcharged. We are in the process of claiming back compensation for these businesses which could provide invaluable financial help in the current crisis. You can find out more information about how we can help you here.
Turn things off
It may be simple, but the portion of appliances left on at the end of the day could amount to a sizable sum on your bills. It’s second nature at work to make a cup of tea and leave the kettle switched on for the next person, or to put a computer to sleep for a quick start the following morning.
This is where your employees need to work together to remember to unplug or shut down equipment when not in use. That kettle might go unused for another hour. Add that up over a week and it is precious pounds leaving your business. Something as small as turning computers off at the end of the day can reduce the energy consumption of these devices by up to 75% a year.
If you’ve got lots of appliances on one bank, you can invest in a power strip that means you can turn everything off in one flick. That way, you’re not having to worry if someone has left something on and it saves time.
Take advantage of tax breaks
Be aware of the resources out there designed to give you relief. For example, you could be eligible for tax relief or exemption if:
- You use a lot of energy because of the nature of your business,
- You’re a small business that does not use much energy,
- You buy energy-efficient technology for your business.
Environmental taxes are designed to encourage your business to operate in a more environmentally friendly way. You can find out more information on the gov.uk website.
Ask for help if you are struggling
It is understandable to be concerned about the future of your business in these uncertain times. Do not be shy in asking for help if you need it.
All businesses should be able to receive help with energy bills from the government as part of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.
Alongside other various options such as business debt and budgeting charities, you can also contact your local council about small business support funding, including sustainable business growth grants.
The most important thing to do is contact your supplier as soon as you can if you are worried about your business energy bills. Your supplier may be able to work with you to agree on a payment plan you can afford more easily. You can ask for the following:
- Reviewing a plan you have agreed to before,
- A review of your payments and debt repayments,
- Payment breaks or reductions,
- More time to pay,
- Access to hardship funds.
You can find more information about what help your business could receive on the Ofgem website.
And if you would like to speak to one of our customer service agents to find out how Barings Law can help your business, give us a call on 0161 200 9960 or click the icon at the bottom right of this page to start a webchat.