As bills skyrocket, have businesses curbed their energy costs over the last year?
May 4th, 2023, Stephan Shakespeare

As bills skyrocket, have businesses curbed their energy costs over the last year?

The government has launched a campaign to help organisations “boost their energy efficiency, cut costs, and increase their cashflow”. But YouGov data suggests that the govenrment might have its work cut out for it: a poll of 1,028 business decision-makers can reveal that overall, 17% say their organisations are using less energy compared to March 2022, 44% say their usage has remained about the same – and 26% say their usage has increased.

In businesses with fewer than 10 employees, where decision-makers are perhaps more likely to have greater insight into their organisation’s day-to-day costs, respondents were less likely to say usage had increased (20%) – but more likely to say their usage had remained the same (59%). Just 16% said energy use had declined.

So overall, 79% of micro businesses said their energy use remained roughly on par with last year – or increased. A majority of businesses with 10-49 employees (73%) and 50-249 employees (79%) reported the same. Large businesses were more likely to report an increase in usage (32%) or a decrease (21%), and less likely to say it had remained the same (29%) – although with a higher proportion of respondents answering “don’t know” they may have had less visibility into their utility bills.

We can’t say whether businesses can feasibly reduce their energy costs or not; it could well vary heavily from organisation to organisation. We can say that most have not done so just yet, and with firms worrying that they will have to scale back their operationsPrezzo, for example, was recently forced to cut costs and close branches – they may not appreciate being told to use their gas and electricity sparingly.

Data from the same survey also shows that, when asked if the government was providing too much support, not enough, or the right level of support, 7% said it was offering more than it should, 32% said it had got the balance about right, and 47% said levels of support were too low.