Small businesses fail to monitor energy usage, finds npower

Harvey: untapped potential

Harvey: untapped potential

More than half of small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) have no measures in place to monitor energy efficiency, potentially missing out on major savings, according to research from npower.

The findings from the energy company’s latest Business Energy Index (nBEI) show 53% of the 4.8m SMEs in the UK have no methods in place to manage energy efficiency, and nearly one in five (18%) didn’t know if they had reduced their energy consumption over the past 12 months.

Researchers said this is despite figures showing, where energy efficiency is being measured, 50% of SMEs reported savings of up to 10%; proving there is scope to make significant business savings, while also reducing carbon emissions.

Statistics from the Carbon Trust also highlight the potential for SMEs to reduce emissions further, said npower. The Trust found SMEs have a potential energy saving opportunity of up to 20%, compared to 8% for large businesses.

Patrick Harvey, head of customer loyalty at npower, said: “This year’s npower Business Energy Index found for SMEs, the greatest driver for increasing energy efficiency is cost, rather than the environment. This is why it is surprising so many are still not measuring the positive impact implementing energy efficiency measures can have on their business.

“The results of the research show the huge untapped potential for SMEs to both reduce emissions and increase savings.”

However, the npower Index did find the importance SMEs place on energy management and efficiency is at its highest level since 2005. When asked to rate the significance of energy management to their business out of 10, SMEs gave an average score of 6.7, which is up from just over 5 when the Index began.

In addition, many reported to be proactively measuring their energy usage and recognising the payback of low-cost, quick-win measures such as turning equipment off; which was ranked as the most popular action over the past six months. This was followed by regularly monitoring consumption and reducing heat loss.

Harvey said: “It is really encouraging energy efficiency is working its way up the business agenda but there’s still a long way to go.

“More businesses need to realise through simple to implement and low or no cost measures, they can lower their bills by around 10%. In today’s tough operating environment this is a saving SMEs can’t afford to over overlook. This is why we’ve developed SmartStart – a toolkit and advice service which helps SMEs get energy saving measures up and running and gets them saving on their bills quickly. Smaller businesses don’t have to rely on their landlords or have a big team in place to identify and implement energy saving measures.”

For more information on how npower can support SMEs reduce emissions and cut costs please visit