February 14, 2012
Small firms are wasting up to half of their electricity usage by powering their business premises after hours, research by British Gas has revealed.
Data taken from 6,000 British Gas smart meters revealed that 46 per cent of electricity consumption by businesses occurred outside normal working hours. This equated to firms wasting “around £1 in every £2 spent on electricity”, the energy provider said.
Typical examples of unnecessary use included lighting car parks when staff had gone home, leaving vending machines in offices switched on overnight and over weekends and keeping display lighting on in retail units when closed.
Marc England, managing director of SME Energy, British Gas Business, said small firms often didn’t understand electricity costs and how to reduce them, but stressed that it was possible to save “around £1,200 a year on a bill simply by switching off car parking lights at the weekend”.
To help small firms get to grips with their electricity consumption, British Gas has launched a Business Energy Insight, which aims to help cut energy bills by showing business owners how, when and where they have used electricity.
Firms signing up to the service will receive a free smart meter that gives precise readings rather than estimates, as well as 24-hour access to an online dashboard showing hourly, daily, weekly and monthly consumption. Businesses will also be allocated an adviser who can give guidance on energy saving measures.
Rick Green, owner of the Sydney Arms in Dorchester, said the Business Energy Insight service had “opened his eyes” to energy usage.
“Like most businesses, big investments on energy efficiency measures are not currently priorities for us,” he said. “But this will make us think about how we can manage our usage better to reduce our bills as a result. In addition, the initial energy-saving suggestions from the BEI team have been really valuable.”