Manufacturers overlooking chance to save £000s on energy

Posted on 11 Apr 2012 by Tim Brown

Nearly half (47%) of businesses are overlooking simple opportunities to cut their energy bills, despite more than two thirds (68%) prioritising operational efficiencies in 2012, according to new research by British Gas.

The few businesses focusing on driving efficiencies from their energy spend are seeing savings of up to 20 percent on their bills through simple efficiency steps like installing a smart meter, according to the research.

The findings come at a time when 75 percent of businesses say rising energy costs are their number one concern in managing their overheads. But when asked about the biggest barriers to taking steps to make savings on their bills:

  • 80 percent of businesses say they want to keep the time they spend managing energy to a minimum and;
  • 51 percent of businesses say they need help identifying options for reducing their energy costs.

Smart meters can help businesses tackle these barriers and make significant savings to their bill. Businesses can use insight from their smart meter to identify wastage and implement no or low cost efficiency measures. According to the research, two thirds of businesses with smart meters have used its insight to invest in efficiency improvements such as boiler optimisation and building insulation that are allowing them to make significant savings to their bills.

Smart meters also save businesses valuable time by putting an end to estimated bills, allowing them to pay for the energy they use, as they use it.

Despite these benefits, take-up of smart meters remains low with just 29 percent of businesses saying they have had the new technology installed.

The research comes in follow-up to British Gas’s launch of Business Energy Insight in February – a free smart meter based service that gives businesses the tools and support to understand their energy usage and implement measures to reduce it. British Gas is the leading supplier of smart meters to UK businesses with over 200,000 smart meters on its customers’ walls, and a further 200,000 installations planned for 2012.

Mike Bebbington from JEB Precision Ltd, a manufacturing business from Northwich, Cheshire, has had a smart meter installed and has just started using Business Energy Insight. Mike said:

“Reducing our overheads is always a priority for us, but especially in the current economic climate. As a manufacturer, our electrical motors and electro-discharge machining processes use up a lot of electricity so any insight our smart meter can give us into how we can become more efficient is valuable. We’re now working with British Gas through Business Energy Insight to understand what our smart meter is telling us and start identifying the options available to us to make savings.”

Marc England, Managing Director of SME Energy, British Gas Business:

“Our business customers tell us that controlling costs is their number one priority. And we recognise that energy costs are a big part of this. Smart meters can play a vital role in saving businesses time and money by allowing them to pay for the energy they use as they use it and by giving them the information they can use to reduce their consumption. With 200,000 smart meters planned for installation this year and the launch of Business Energy Insight in February we’re committed to giving our customers the technology and support they need to make energy savings a reality.”

By signing up to Business Energy Insight, businesses will have:

  • A smart meter installed on their premises that will put an end to the hassle of estimated bills.
  • 24 hour access to an online dashboard showing hourly, daily, weekly and monthly electricity usage that can be used to identify up to 10% savings through behavioural changes. With simple efficiency measures, the savings will be even more.
  • Support from over 100 account executives specifically trained to help customers implement energy saving measures.

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