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How Energy Bills Affect Small Businesses

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More than sex in ten small businesses say they spend up to a fifth of their total costs on energy consumption, while eight percent spend up to 35 to 50 percent.

And seven in ten businesses believe the cost of their energy bill has an impact on their business growth, a view particularly felt by businesses in the East Midlands.

This was revealed in a survey of 500 businesses by Tyl by NatWest, whose research revealed that SMB owners face several hurdles when it comes to implementing them.

A third admitted they didn’t have enough time – or information – to spend on implementing more sustainable measures. Of those who did, a quarter said they were not financially able to consider other energy-saving efforts.

The government offers various initiatives to help SMEs implement more sustainable practices, such as environmental tax breaks, the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme and capital allowances for energy efficient equipment. But many small business owners said they were unaware of this support.

Business owners know they can improve the sustainable measures they have in place, but financial concerns and lack of information are holding them back

Among the companies making the most positive progress, the most popular sustainability practices include using LED light bulbs, shutting down production equipment at the end of each workday, and using smart meters to examine energy consumption.

Whether big or small, making such energy-efficient changes can bring tangible benefits to a small business, according to Tyl. Almost a fifth save between £2,000 and £3,000 a year through energy efficiency measures, while a third save between £1,000 and £1,999. At a time when energy costs are rising, SMEs can really benefit from such savings.

CEO Mike Elliff said: “It’s clear that UK SMEs are finding the cost of energy to be a barrier to growing their business. Improving energy efficiency in the workplace may be the most effective way to reduce these costs, while also playing a key role in the UK’s journey to net zero.

“Fifty percent of business owners Tyl spoke to know they can improve the sustainable measures they have in place, but financial issues and lack of information are holding them back. Small businesses need more support and information on ways to save money and implement initiatives.”