Businesses waste £6bn in energy bills

Wasteful energy use is costing UK business £6bn a year, according to a report out yesterday. And the authors claim that this figure could rocket further as Ofgem estimates that […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Wasteful energy use is costing UK business £6bn a year, according to a report out yesterday.

And the authors claim that this figure could rocket further as Ofgem estimates that energy prices could climb by over 40% over the coming decade.

The report, Energy Efficiency: The Untapped Business Opportunity, has been written by independent, not-for-profit thinkthank Carbon Connect.

Carbon Connect said that for the 4.8 million small businesses currently operating in the UK – which account for approximately 45% of total business energy consumption and employ nearly 60% of the private sector workforce – tackling inefficiency represents significant savings.

And big businesses are also missing out. “The business case for energy efficiency is clear and compelling. Few other investments get anywhere near that rate of return” said Hugh Jones, managing director of Carbon Trust Advisory Services.

“Yet our data suggests big businesses are leaving around half the investment opportunities on the table and continuing to waste billions of pounds on unnecessary energy use every year.”

Speaking at the launch of the report at the House of Commons, Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said: “Energy efficiency is an untapped opportunity for all UK businesses, whatever their size. By saving energy, businesses can slash overheads and boost the bottom line. What’s more, by cutting carbon, the private sector can play its part in reducing the UK’s emissions. Carbon Connect’s report is a welcome addition to this debate.”

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Teverson, who co-chaired the report, stressed how crucial these energy savings could be for SMEs.

He told ELN: “It’s estimated that energy costs are going to rise by some 40% in real terms in the next decade. So if it isn’t a critical cost factor now, it certainly will be in the future. It’s estimated that six billion pounds worth of energy is thrown away each year. If you’re in an SME, you can’t afford that sort of waste.

“During these hard economic times, it could be the difference between failing and success.”