What can I do as a small business owner during the energy crisis?
Small business ·
In the last year, the cost of energy is being constantly discussed, since between February of 2021 and August of 2022 there has been a 349 percent increase in electricity and a 424 percent increase in gas bills. Naturally, households are not the only ones to be experiencing hardship due to this increase. Small businesses throughout Britain have been fearing that the rising cost of energy prices could lead to them closing down or shrinking.
While the news coming from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) that 53 percent of small businesses expect to either close down, downsize, or at best stagnate this year is disheartening, this is not the only negative news that businesses in the UK will have to deal with. Inflation has also led to the general price of goods rising. Still, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t some hope for these small businesses.
For most traders, the first step towards handling the rising energy costs will actually come through negotiating new electricity and gas contracts. Especially for those who’s two-year, fixed-price supply deals are expiring this October, managing to renegotiate contracts with relatively favourable terms in this market could be key. For these companies who have been lucky to remain unaffected during the early stages of this energy crisis in 2021, the preparation period for the increased energy costs has been longer. By saving during the months ahead of winter, they might be able to keep their doors open for longer.
For micro businesses, that is businesses with 10 employees or less and a turnover of up to £1.8 million a year using less than 100,000 kWh of electricity and less than 293,000 kWh of gas per year, you might be able to benefit from rebates on your energy bill. This is because microbusinesses can only be charged for energy, they have actually used in the last 12 months. If you are unsure of your energy usage in the past year, or you think you have been overcharged then contact your energy bill supplier to dispute your bill.
If you are looking for active ways to reduce your energy bill as a business, there are a few different approaches you can take.
Firstly, try to switch off all of your equipment overnight. This includes computers and any other devices that if left on will consume electricity. Similarly, switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and devices in order to reduce your energy consumption.
Secondly, always check your property for any defects that could lead to you paying higher amounts for your electricity and gas. Lack of insulation, as well as windows and doors that don’t close properly, can all lead to higher energy costs for warming up your space. Other property problems could include any leakages from your hot water tap.
Thirdly, try to contact different energy suppliers and see if they have any more competitive prices to offer you. By shopping around, you might be able to shave off quite a bit of your energy bill. If possible, also try to use a supplier that uses a smart filter so that you are always charged for exactly the energy you are using.
If you are a small business looking for ways to make it through the winter, then know that there is hope. Shopping around and directly contacting your energy supplier could be the key to reducing your energy bills or keeping the lights on even during the harsher months. Making quick fixes and repairs around your business could also allow you to save a bit of money each month. While some of your daily habits might need to be changed, these changes will be temporary and could mean that your business will stay afloat during this energy crisis.