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All small firms should have an energy policy, says Energy Advice Line
All business energy users, no matter how small, should implement a workplace energy policy to curb energy use and waste, according to the Energy Advice Line.
The warning follows the release of a new report showing energy bills are likely to rise twice as fast as government forecasts due to the widespread use of inefficient energy appliances.
Julian Morgan, managing director of the price comparison and switching service for energy users, said switching suppliers and having a workplace/household energy policy were two of the most effective ways of keeping energy bills under control.
The report by the think tank IPPR for energy charity Global Action Plan showed consumers were buying fewer energy efficient appliances than expected and were therefore missing out on savings on their energy bills.
"This report shows that consumers are not doing everything they can to limit their energy consumption," Mr Morgan said.
"I would urge all householders and business energy consumers to look at everything they use in connection with their electricity supply and determine whether it's possible to use a more energy efficient alternative.
"Light bulbs right through to televisions, dishwashers and printers vary enormously in energy efficiency. Consumers need to appreciate that energy efficient appliances might generate small savings individually but in total can reduce energy bills significantly."
The government claimed last year that household energy bills would rise by £64 over the course of the next decade, with potential increases expected to be mitigated as consumers traded in less energy efficient appliances for newer models.
But the IPPR analysis found that bills were likely to increase by £63 more than anticipated because consumers were not trading up to energy efficient fridges, TVs, set-top boxes and lights as expected.
Slow roll-out of regulation, confusing product labeling and consumers saving their cash after the economic downturn were all likely to result in savings from product efficiency being 40% less than the £158 the Government had forecast, the report found.
Mr Morgan said that although most consumers would not be able to afford to replace all their electrical equipment with the latest and most efficient models, any new investment should be made with energy efficiency in mind.
He welcomed suggestions by Global Action Plan for the government to introduce an incentive scheme for consumers to trade old electronic equipment in for greener models.
"Consumers are paying for unnecessary electricity usage due to inefficient appliances so more needs to done to encourage consumers to opt for greener versions," Mr Morgan said.
"I agree the government should consider introducing some type of scrappage scheme or financial incentive to drive the popularity of environmentally friendly electrical equipment.
"In the meantime, when it is time for a home or office to replace old equipment or light bulbs, consumers really should do their research and consider the most energy efficient models.
"It is often the case that a slightly higher initial outlay could result in considerable savings over time."
The Energy Advice Line is one of the UK's leading price comparison and switching services for business and domestic energy customers. It is also an advocate for energy market reform and has campaigned for a better deal for energy users, including calling for a ban on cold calling and changes to regulations to make it easier for all consumers to switch suppliers.
The service is completely independent and free. Consumers can quickly and simply search the market for the best available energy deals from an extensive panel of small and large energy suppliers. The service also offers a free advice service for business energy customers throughout the to of their energy contracts.
For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk