UK plc is losing millions by not checking energy bills

The public and private sectors could be “throwing millions of pounds down the drain” by not checking their utility bills properly. A new report claims that around £147m could be […]

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By Kelvin Ross

The public and private sectors could be “throwing millions of pounds down the drain” by not checking their utility bills properly.

A new report claims that around £147m could be knocked off the public sector deficit if companies simply checked their energy bills.

Outsourced energy bureau service provider Team analysed nearly 200,000 utility bills and found that errors are costing organisations hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

And the report suggests that companies can recover 3.5% of their utility costs just by scrutinising their bills. Team’s managing director Paul Martin said: “If we take just the public sector, with an estimated utility bill of between £3.8bn and £4.2bn, a 3.5% saving could take around £147m off the public sector deficit. That amounts to around 3,000 public sector jobs”.

Mr Martin added: “The public and private sectors could be throwing millions of pounds down the drain by not checking utility bills properly. Utility bills are a rich source of information but are complex and difficult to understand for most organisations. The first place to look for energy cost savings is the bills. Not only can organisations benefit from reducing ongoing costs, but they could also find a nice windfall from historical overcharging.”

The survey found that the greatest number of errors occurred in gas bills, where 6.0% recoveries could be made, followed by water bills at 4.1% and electricity at 2.8%.

Team bureau services manager Viki Thurgood said: “Consumers in general have been confused by energy companies’ billing and the numerous tariffs. Many of them are totally unaware of the saving that companies like ours can make for them. A typical London Local Authority for instance could save £413,000 per year, and in times like today, this can make a real difference to the bottom line.”

In July energy regulator Ofgem ordered all energy companies to overhaul their bills to make them easier to understand for customers.