Business electricity users could learn lessons from a new report that shows UK householders are wasting up to £1.3 billion a year by leaving electrical devices on stand-by or left on when not in use, according to the Energy Advice Line.
The study, Powering the Nation, investigated real-time energy use by householders who had advanced smart meters installed to measure the amount of energy used by every electrical device in the home.
The results showed that householders were reluctant to turn off appliances when not in use and relied on standby settings, which added significant sums to energy bills over the course of a year.
The study, conducted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DEFRA) and the Energy Saving Trust, coincided with the release of a report by major electronics firms which found that tougher energy standards for electrical equipment could save business electricity users and householders €90 billion a year.
Managing director of the Energy Advice Line, Julian Morgan, said both reports demonstrated the value to businesses of making energy consumption one of their highest priorities.
“For many small and medium-sized firms, energy is now one of their most significant overheads,” Mr Morgan said. “Unfortunately, many don’t give it the priority it deserves because they think there is little they can do to mitigate against rising energy costs. The fact is there is a great deal they can do.
“It makes sense for firms to undertake a top to bottom analysis of their business electricity use. Consider every appliance and whether it needs to be kept on standby or even plugged in.
“According to the Powering the Nation report, householders can save £85 each on their electricity bills each year by turning off televisions, computers and other electronics. Business electricity users should think about what they could save by doing the same.”
Mr Morgan said that it was also essential for businesses to examine their energy contracts and to stay in control of their energy spend, rather than leaving it in the hands of energy suppliers.
“The only way for firms to keep their business electricity costs down is to ensure they know when their fixed-term energy contracts expire, to give timely notice to their supplier that they are switching, and search the market for a better deal,” Mr Morgan said.