It’s been a tough year for small and medium-sized businesses. The energy market has been in flux: prices swinging from low to high; businesses facing crippling increases in their energy contracts. Around three-quarters of UK SMEs on fixed term, one or two year deals are likely to have seen their costs increase by between 30 and 70 per cent. The unforeseen spike will have hit many businesses hard. These increases, rising prices from the supply chain and the impact of the credit crunch, not to mention the demise of energy providers E4B and BizzEnergy (key SME energy providers) has made fuel poverty a real concern for many small firms. In October a publicised shortage in UK energy supplies immediately lead to a price increase. Looking ahead to winter, any cold snaps will push up UK energy demand and impact on prices. Jon Davies has the following tips to help small firms make it through the winter: Careful with your energy use"If your supplier sends you an estimated bill, where possible take a meter reading. You can then demonstrate your actual use and be charged appropriately." Make an energy plan "Consider your energy contracts at least three months before the end of your existing deal to give you time to secure the best deal. Check the existing terms and conditions the contract and make sure you know the duration of your termination period and how and when to notify your supplier." Get an accurate energy quote "Calculate the energy that you actually use and plan to consume going forward. This ensures that when your supplier gives you a quote you can validate it accurately." Watch the energy market "Keep up to date with market changes and compare as many suppliers as possible, this will improve your view of the market and position you better to negotiate with suppliers." Consider your energy choice "Examine and consider the commercial terms of the contract, make sure all aspects are competitive – not just the price." Related articlesHow to thrive during a recessionInsolvency rides outTop ten tips for coming back from business failure Picture source
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