The biggest obstacle to most businesses’ success is covering their overheads. Whether you’re a startup or an established business, it's likely you're familiar with bills of all sorts eating away into your company’s hard-earned revenue.
But there are ways to reduce how much you pay so that you can free up much-needed cash for investing in new avenues, rewarding hard-working staff and generally growing your business. Here are a few quick ways to decrease your business’ monthly utility bills:
Connecting your electrical devices to smart plugs allows you to be in control of your consumption by turning off the power when the electrical appliance is not in use. Using electricity more efficiently will allow you to cut down on wasted electricity and bring down your energy bill.
Smart plugs are an excellent way to minimize non-essential power consumption, but there will always be electricals that cannot be turned off. Our advice is to use essential appliances as conservatively as possible if you can.
Timers and power fobs
Timers and fobs are similar to smart plugs as they can be installed in rooms that are often unoccupied, such as bathrooms, meeting rooms and boardrooms. The idea is that when the room is not in use, non-essential power is switched off.
A timer is best suited to your company’s bathrooms as it will simply cut off the power after a set amount of inactivity. For meeting rooms, boardrooms and other low traffic rooms, a fob system will work better. Team members can fob in and out as necessary so that non-essential power is turned off between meetings.
LEDs are more efficient than the fluorescent light bulbs that dominate offices all over the UK, so it may be worth considering switching over to LED alternatives. While the power consumption of T8-type tubes (the most common fluorescent light tubes) is only slightly higher than what a LED tube uses, fluorescent lights waste energy in their ballasts. This is typically about as much as the tube uses itself, which doubles the total energy consumption. So while LED tubes might be slightly pricier than fluorescents, their superior energy efficiency means they need replacing less frequently and you’ll see savings in your energy bill.
If you’re serious about reducing your company’s electricity bill, investing in photovoltaic panels is a wise long-term move. Solar panels take part of your energy consumption off the grid, so you’ll be saving on what your energy supplier would charge you for the same amount.
Solar panels have a return on investment of about five years, so although they are a serious commitment, they are a great way to take the strain of energy production off environmentally harmful power stations.
While not particularly useful during the UK’s dark months, investing in solar power, or indeed any renewable energy, reduces your business’ reliance on the grid and your electricity bill will reflect that.
Efficient heating fuel
If you are responsible for heating within your office space, you’ll most probably already rely on fuel such as red diesel to heat your premises, which is cheaper than gas and burns cleanly and efficiently.
However, it's worth looking into specialized alternative industrial heating oils that heat your boiler more efficiently and can increase the lifespan of perishable components. As a result, industrial heating oil can reduce how much you spend on heating fuel.
In addition to the above, it's always beneficial to ensure your business' fleet is as energy efficient as possible too.
Switch energy provider
According to the industry regulator Ofgem’s 2018 report, businesses are simply being overcharged for their energy - with microbusinesses overpaying by as much as 27 percent and either remaining unaware of this, or not wanting to go through the hassle of changing supplier. The reality is, switching to a supplier that is right for you ensures you are paying the best tariff for your business, which translates into extra savings.
Fortunately for most businesses, an energy comparison service (also known as an energy broker or third-party intermediary) takes away the hard work of searching for the best tariffs when your contract with your existing supplier is up. You’ll be presented with the most competitive tariffs from a range of suppliers and if your existing contract doesn’t meet your needs, the energy broker will do all the hard work involved in switching.
It is worth noting that a broker does not supply your energy, they simply find the best tariff for you. Not switching simply means you remain with your existing provider, potentially falling into an out-of-contract tariff that results in higher costs.
If you run a business, then bills are an inescapable part of the job. However, there is no reason for a company to pay more to its suppliers than necessary. There are serious savings to be made once you've found the right provider, and when you learn to manage your costs through efficient consumption.
About the Author
Kelly Ivison is the Managing Director of Exchange Utility, an energy comparison service based in Bury. Exchange Utility is dedicated to helping businesses find the most competitive rates for their utility bills by comparing suppliers and helping them find the right supplier for their requirements.