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East Midlands Chamber News

Butchers’ bills could get chopped

Britain’s small business owners could see savings of up to a quarter or more on their energy bills by upgrading equipment, improving energy efficiency and changing behaviour.

That’s according to E.ON which today launched a range of tailored measures and advice designed to help companies have greater control of their energy consumption and costs.

Depending on their type of business, E.ON estimates that by looking across the range of energy savings options available, small manufacturing companies might save up to 26 per cent on their energy bills, with office-based firms potentially seeing savings of up to 38 per cent.

From simple measures such as switching off appliances when not in use, or investing in more efficient replacements for energy-hungry equipment such as heaters, compressors and refrigerators, small business owners could see significant savings on their bottom line.

E.ON’s Energy Toolkit is a new package of help and advice for small businesses designed to help companies see where and when energy is used and delivered in a way that doesn’t disrupt normal business.

Customers can request a free wireless energy monitor giving a real-time display of how their energy use stacks up and have access to energy saving advice relevant to their specific industry and company size.

Anthony Ainsworth, Sales and Marketing Director at E.ON, said: “Small business owners are tied up doing lots of things – they are often the boss, sales agent, secretary, procurement department and accountant all in one. It’s safe to say they no business owner wants to waste money, yet that’s what using unnecessary amounts of energy does.

“Our customers told us they wanted help with this, and that is why we’ve created our new Energy Toolkit– to help customers use no more energy than they need and to do so in a way that fits alongside their busy lives.

“With our energy monitor, customers can see at-a-glance how much appliances cost, the potential savings they could make and payback periods for new technologies. And by speaking to our dedicated advisers, customers can take any guesswork out of simple energy efficiency measures or even larger budget investments that could provide greater benefit over a longer period of time.”

Regardless of sector, the top three draws on power for most small businesses are room and water heating, air conditioners and refrigerators. Lighting tends to be another major element. By simply monitoring where energy is used and being able to compare, business owners can learn exactly where they’re using the most power and identify where they can make the biggest savings.

Across all small business sectors, the proportion of energy used for lighting can range from six per cent in agricultural businesses to 28 per cent in retail. But around three quarters of that energy could be saved by installing low energy LED lighting. The proportion of energy used for heating is typically between 35 per cent and 58 per cent with savings of up to a third possible by improving heating such as installing a modern, efficient boiler.

To help with relevant advice, E.ON offers all its business customers a tailored energy saving advice line, where advisers get to know a customer and their business to see where and when they are wasting energy and by identifying areas where changes can be made to improve efficiency.

Customers can also request the latest wireless energy monitor which displays how much energy different devices are using in a business and allows them to measure energy use by cost, kilowatt-hours and even CO2 emissions.

The wireless energy monitor updates every 10 seconds so customers can see the impact of turning appliances on or off almost instantly. It has an innovative memory function that compares energy use by day, week or month and also displays daily averages to show when consumption of higher than average.

E.ON has offered the following general energy and money saving tips:
• Regular checks – make sure bills relate to actual energy use, rather than estimates;
• Measurement - accurate measurement of your energy use is vital in the battle to stay efficient. Counting the energy units you use helps you understand your overall use, so keeping a closer eye on things could lead to savings of up to ten per cent.
• Lighting – more efficient lighting pays back quickly in areas that see long daily use – for example, hotel corridors, shops with long opening hours and 24/7 car parks. Choose high efficiency strip lighting, LED lighting or high pressure discharge lighting to make savings;
• Heating – a high-efficiency condensing boiler converts gas to heat with less than ten per cent waste – whereas older boilers can lose over 40 per cent. Once you have an efficient boiler with programmable controls, make sure you’re feeding it the lowest-priced energy you can;
• Office equipment – before choosing a new computer and screen, check its efficiency rating. This will have a long-term influence on running costs so as well as checking speed and performance, look out for better energy efficiency too;
• Motors – these are generally pretty efficient but as their power to cost ratio is high, choosing a motor that offers just a small percentage higher performance can pay back quickly;
• Refrigeration and air conditioning – older equipment is invariably more expensive to run. Modern equipment benefits from better insulation and more efficient components, making savings of 15-20 per cent in running costs achievable;
• Educating your team about the consequences of poor energy habits is a big part of improving things.