Business on a budget: how to save money on your energy bills

Andy Yates, entrepreneur and director of Huddlebuy.co.uk, the daily deals site for entrepreneurs, gives Real Business readers regular top money saving tips to help business owners save thousands of pounds.

Energy bills have soared in recent years – enough to give any business an electric shock. Energy bills are now one of businesses’ biggest costs. So keeping electricity and gas costs to a minimum is crucial for any business. But at the same time energy contracts can be more complicated to get out of than Hampton Court Maze. 

Tip 1: Check your contract

Yes, I know, it sounds obvious. But you need to be aware of the oldest and most profitable trick in the book from those cheeky blighters at some electricity suppliers. Often suppliers will lure you in with a really attractive energy rate in year one, only for you to find that it doubles or even triples in the second year when your contract rolls over. 

It is estimated that British businesses are paying £2.5bn a year too much for electricity by being on the wrong tariffs. In other words, the average premised business in the UK could save more than £2,500+ by switching supplier. Some businesses can even save up to 70 per cent on their bills.

Tip 2: Know your switching date

Switching suppliers to the best deals on offer can save you a small fortune. But always check the last date you can switch. And remember – often this isn’t the same as the renewal date. The small print may say you need to tell your supplier if you are going to switch several months before the official renewal date. If you don’t watch out you could find your contract rolls over and you are stuck with extortionate rates.

Tip 3: Working together to get some powerful savings

Huddlebuy has teamed up with energy saving experts Make it Cheaper to launch The Great Business Power Cut campaign, which has already got some strong momentum behind it. 

The concept is simple. Business owners support the campaign. Energy experts use the collective buying power of the supporters to negotiate great deals with suppliers. Supporters choose to switch if they want to. The more support the campaign gets, the bigger savings can be made.

Tip 4: Comparison services

Another good starting point are the price comparison services and switching experts.

I mentioned Make it Cheaper above, which advises on the best electricity and gas deals available and help handle the switch.

Other comparison services include uSwitch and Energy Helpline.

Comparison services can often find alternative suppliers that you may not have even heard of but provide some great rates. 

Tip 5: Going solo

It is often better for businesses to get separate suppliers for gas and electricity as suppliers will usually have different and better rates depending on the utility.

Tip 6:  Save energy – save money

Turning office equipment and lights off at night and over the weekends, having computers automatically switch to power saver mode, using energy saving light bulbs, locking heat in by keeping windows and doors closed (turning the heating down by one centigrade can cut hearing bills by 10 per cent).

All common sense – all good business sense.

Tip 7:  Would you credit it?

Your business credit score can have an impact on your energy bills. Some top tips to improve your credit score can be found here. Paying by direct debit can also help reduce prices.

Tip 8  Get some free help and advice

The website of the energy regulator Ofgem is packed full of useful information for business customers and it’s a good place to start.

And the site includes a fact sheet about the Energy Ombudsman – who you can complain to if all these top tips didn’t come soon enough and you are lumbered with an unfair energy contract and bill.

Next time: Easy ways to save money on hardware.

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