Tips for surviving rising energy bills as a small business

Energy bills are skyrocketing across the UK and, with businesses unprotected by a price cap, the significant increases expected when tariffs are renewed in October look set to plunge many businesses into serious financial distress. Consumer sentiment is also likely to continue on a downward trend as the cost of living crisis bites, meaning that UK small businesses are facing the prospect of an extremely difficult autumn and winter.

Despite having been promised by new Prime Minister Liz Truss, government support for businesses impacted by rising energy bills has still not been formally announced and is unlikely to be set out for several weeks at least.

Small businesses, then, may need to start by taking matters into their own hands in order to combat the threat posed by rising energy bills and give themselves the best possible chance of surviving the coming months. Here are some tips for how small firms can mitigate the impact of rising energy bills.

Utilise an energy saving calculator
One of the best ways to cut energy usage and bills is to get a thorough overview of where your business consumes energy. There are several online energy saving calculators that provide a breakdown of where a business uses energy and measures it can take to cut consumption.

Some calculators will provide a specific overview of areas where a business can reduce usage (such as on lighting or air conditioning) and acting on this information can potentially deliver hundreds of pounds-worth of savings on energy bills.

Move to a green provider
As well as boosting your business’ green credentials (something that is increasingly important in a world in which consumers are ever more environmentally conscious), moving to a green energy provider can cut a business’ reliance on oil and gas and help to reduce energy bills.

According to a recent study, one in ten small businesses in the UK has opted to move to a green provider in order to reduce their bills, helping to reverse a trend which has typically seen SMEs lag behind larger firms in adopting green energy. Several sectors within the UK have shown a particular tendency towards green energy adoption, including transport and agriculture.

Get a smart meter
Replacing your energy meter with a smart meter can be a useful aid to cutting bills by providing a more thorough overview of how much your business spends on energy on a day-to-day basis. This can enable you to identify and adjust processes that consume the most energy and to eliminate unnecessary usage.

Installing a smart meter also means you’ll have to spend less time taking meter readings manually and can help to ensure that your energy bills are more accurate.

Price increases
Finally, perhaps the most obvious response to rising bills is to increase prices to help offset the additional cost of energy. Indeed, for many small businesses in the UK, price increases will be inevitable and necessary over the coming months, due to the sheer scale of the expected rise in energy bills. A recent poll found that one in four small business owners have already increased prices due to rising costs.

However, businesses are not the only ones feeling the squeeze, with consumers also contending with rising energy bills and higher prices for essentials such as food and fuel. As a result, small businesses will need to think sensitively about how they institute price increases to ensure that customers understand the necessity and don’t feel that prices are rising too steeply.