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The Energy Crisis: The Hidden Costs
With growing energy prices a major concern of all business owners, Chamber Member, Business Utility Refunds, are looking to help small business owners understand these costs and help mitigate them for the future...
With 5.5 million businesses in the UK, the effects of increasing energy prices are dramatically affecting a large swathe of the economy. While the energy price cap only affects household prices, the raising of the cap has caused uncertainty for businesses as it is a consequence of the increasing prices of wholesale gas and electricity. While those currently on contracted rates are protected while in contract, those needing to find new contracts are suffering under these inflated prices.
Following the pandemic, the demand for electricity and gas has risen dramatically, with international production being limited and political conflict creating unease about the security of supply. The gathering of gas and coal for the production of energy has been slow to return to normal accruement speed. In spite of this, consumption of energy produced by gas and coal has increased by 8% & 11% respectively.
Within Europe, the supply of gas from countries such as Russia has been uncertain due to rising political tensions. Russia currently supplied 40% of the EU’s natural gas imports. With tensions high surrounding the potential of conflict in Ukraine, fear that the supply of gas will be cut off or a financial levy to be applied has further spiked prices of gas.
National and international energy and gas suppliers are going out of business at an expedient rate due to prices of wholesale electricity and gas rising, meaning they have to supply to contracted companies and homes at a loss. When an energy supplier goes out of business, the independent energy regulator, Ofgem, redistributes contracts to other suppliers, protecting the contracts of businesses and homeowners. In the last year, 23 energy suppliers have ceased trading, the biggest being Bulb, whose contracts were not redistributed but rather remained with Bulb with Ofgem acting as administration for the energy company until such a time when a suitable buyer for the company or contracts can be found.
Rising energy prices are the primary concern of businesses, but there are things you can do to potentially mitigate them.
With rising energy prices and suppliers going out of business, companies are being encouraged to sign contracts earlier to mitigate against the chances of the prices going even higher. If procured through an energy broker, some of these contracts may include a hidden fee that goes directly to the broker every time you pay your bills.
An Ofgem review found that in too many cases, microbusinesses have been hampered by a lack of transparency when using brokerage services and end up being locked into poor value deals because they are not fully aware of what they are signing up to.
Ofgem found that some businesses were paying thousands more than they needed to in broker commission charges. These hidden commission fees can be up to 50% of a company’s energy bill and but the good news is that they can be claimed back.
With over 20 years combined experience in the energy sector, Business Utility Refunds are encouraging businesses to have any electricity and gas contracts from the last 6 years evaluated to discover any discrepancies with the unit rates and establish if there is a commission hidden within them that wasn’t sufficiently disclosed.
Business Utility Refunds are offering free evaluations to all UK businesses to see if they have a case for a claim. If it can be demonstrated that there are hidden commissions within a company’s current or historic contracts, Business Utility Refunds offer their services on a no win no fee basis to reclaim the money on their behalf.
For more information, please contact Marc Harries at Business Utility Refunds on 0151 637 1300 or at [email protected]
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I would highly recommend chamber membership to any Dunbartonshire business. The chamber works hard to make connections and generate profile for its members and SHBT have enjoyed a number of benefits over the years.Elizabeth Mackay, SHBT