UK businesses ‘overpaying by £500m on energy bills’

One in five business energy bills contain mistakes, from incorrect rates to meter reading errors. That could be costing firms around £500 million on their energy bills due to errors […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

One in five business energy bills contain mistakes, from incorrect rates to meter reading errors.

That could be costing firms around £500 million on their energy bills due to errors and inaccuracies across the supply chain, according to new research.

Inenco analysed thousands of business energy invoices to find the most common errors and forecast the scale of the issue.

It revealed the retail and leisure sectors were most likely to be paying inaccurate charges – £200 million – due to their complex portfolio of sites with multiple meters and frequently changing tenants.

It found the public sector could be overpaying by £112 million, the property sector by £78.5 million and the manufacturing industry by around £65 million.

Some of the high value errors uncovered by the energy consultants included a major supermarket being overcharged £700,000 in duplicate charges, a food manufacturer paying more than £300,000 in inaccurate network charges and a property management agent paying £775,000 more for incorrect rates for a year.

The report suggests the only way to identify such issues is by conducting invoice validation and bill audits to check for inaccuracies across the supply chain.

However it found only 20% of businesses currently do so on a regular basis.

David Cockshott, Inenco Chief Commercial Officer said: “The size and scale of this issue means this is not just small change being discussed. Collectively, UK businesses could be sitting on half a billion pounds of refunds, at a time when energy costs are rising by 25% and businesses are facing pressure on their bottom line from every direction.

“Paying too much for energy bills because of simple data issues or human error is easily resolved and can result in significant savings for businesses, from direct refunds to preventing future unnecessary payouts.”