Energy bills are rising, how to cut costs for your business

Local News 19 Aug 2022

As energy prices continue to rise here's some help to keep those bills as low as possible

Energy bills are rising, how to cut costs for your business

The news is full of predictions regarding the rising cost of energy, it’s impact on all of us as the costs of making or doing anything are also rising. We asked FSB Members Energy Oasis, an energy consultancy based in Harrogate, to share some of their top tips that may help you deal with the increases. They follow a simple mantra in their approach to helping businesses:

Understand – Reduce - Generate

What can you do? Have a Plan. Do you need to save money and prove that you have cut your carbon? Look at it holistically from the reduction to the creation at the end. Every business goal should be to be self-sufficient for 6 to 8 months of the year. It might be the only way you will survive.

  1. Contract Expiry. The very first thing is to know when your current energy contract expires. If it’s due in the next 6 months, don’t wait, thinking energy prices are going to reduce, they won’t. Get the best deal you can today, for your electricity, gas, and water. If you have 6 months or more you have a period of grace to get your consumption down, don’t wait act now.
  2. Take or Buy Clause. Some electricity companies may try and get you to agree to a ‘Take or Buy’ clause in your contract. This is where they try to make you commit to buying a certain amount of electricity, then effectively forcing you to buy this amount even if you haven’t used it. They are not allowed to do this.
  3. KVA Load. The KVA Load is the amount of electricity you are supplied within your contract. Most businesses don’t know if they actually need the electricity capacity they are supplied with. They are charged for this in their bill. If they exceed the KVA allowance they will be fined for doing this it’s called a reactive power charge. You need to understand how much electricity you actually need to operate, agree this with your provider and thus avoid any reactive power charges.
  4. Reducing Consumption. This is by far, the quickest and cheapest saving you can make. Turn Things OFF. While this sounds simple, but it is the thing we all find so hard to do, it doesn’t matter if it’s a light switch or a PC, turn it off at the plug. Standby is just a trickle of electricity that when you add it up over a year can be a small stream or a river.
  5. Energy Monitoring. Knowledge is key and if you don’t know where your electricity is being consumed you won’t be able to get rid of all the waste. It’s not difficult but you need to have the right kit. It’s like anything in life, if you buy rubbish it won’t last and ultimately it will cost you more. So get the right advice and buy the right equipment for your business.
  6. Voltage Optimisation and Power Factor Correction. Electricity can be dirty, and not at the correct voltage when it comes in from the grid. This will damage your machines and computers, lights etc. It will also cost you more in your energy bills. It’s easy to identify once you have commenced energy monitoring, it’s also easy to fix.
  7. LED Lighting. Installing LED lights is often presented as the easiest way save money; however, if done correctly as part of a co-ordinated arrangement the savings can be even greater. Intelligent LEDs need to be fitted, they come with their own controls so that they turn themselves on and off, adjust themselves automatically depending on the availability of natural light and last a long time. Their failure rate is very low. Even better than replacing conventional lighting with LEDs is commissioning a lighting design done, this usually results in a lower number of fittings giving you even bigger savings. Getting the controls set up and commissioned by a qualified installer will save you even more.
  8. Motors and Compressors. There can be substantial savings to be had with these, changing motors for variable speed drives can save up to 30% of the consumption, get the motors checked, and stopping air leaks can have the same or a bigger impact. It is often better to get a new compressor as it will be more energy efficient.

Energy Oasis brings together energy management and carbon reduction technologies, to help organisations reduce operating costs, whilst making a significant and practical contribution to tackle climate change. They work with businesses throughout their sustainability journey. The Energy Oasis team of zero-carbon specialists work closely with clients to design bespoke installations that integrate the most appropriate up-to-date technologies, to provide value-adding solutions, that in turn deliver a world for future generations.

FSB also has it’s Sustainability Hub on our website. We’re encouraging all small businesses to understand how they can play their part in the work towards carbon neutrality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Both of which should have the added bonus of cutting your energy consumption without affecting your bottom line. There are a range of resources available; guides, videos, reports; sector specific information plus links to local support.

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