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Energy prices rises hit business in the North West

North West hit harder than rest of UK

Businesses in the North West are more sensitive to energy price rises than the rest of the UK, but despite this apparent concern about prices, it seems that many might not be doing everything possible to protect themselves from the impact of price hikes.

These are the findings of our second quarterly Business Energy Barometer – a survey of 500 people who are responsible for energy in their company, which aims to take the temperature of UK businesses and finds out which way the wind is blowing on a range of energy issues.

8% of businesses in the North West would take action to cut their bills if energy prices rose by just 1-2% – double the national average of 4%.

And over a third (37%) of businesses in the North West said that if energy prices continued to rise by 15% each year, it would have a very serious or catastrophic impact (compared to 30% across the rest of the UK) with 7% saying it could potentially force them out of business.

Business energy prices rose by 14% in 2011, and there are potential savings of £000’s from simply switching energy supplier.

Yet one third of businesses in the North West revealed that they see business energy as an overhead that has to be paid every month but which was otherwise ignored. Additionally, over one in ten (16%) said that they don’t have the time or motivation to switch energy supplier.

As well as missing out on potential savings by not switching, businesses in the area are also missing out on savings from being more energy-efficient.

Businesses in the North West were less likely to have taken five out of the eight energy-efficiency measures we asked about.

James Constant, CEO of Business Juice, commented:

“The North West is renowned for manufacturing and therefore energy-intensive businesses, so perhaps it is not too surprising that organisations in the region are more sensitive to business energy prices increasing. However this should mean that these businesses are doing all they can to ensure they keep their bills to a minimum. Not only does that mean making sure they are in a position to switch suppliers where necessary, but also that they are taking the necessary steps to be as energy-efficient as possible as this will, in the long run, lead to lower bills.”

Todd Holden, Director: Low Carbon Policy and Programmes at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce added:

“With ever increasing energy demands and economic and political uncertainty in the Middle East, the cost of energy is only going to go in one direction and for many companies this is starting to become business critical. Like any commodity companies should shop around for cheap deals and check bills, many don’t, but the only way to ensure lower a cost in the long term is to simply use less. And it’s here that this energy efficiency guide can help companies start this journey.”


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