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Businesses call for more financial aid to help reduce energy use

 

  • More than half (55%) want grants or tax breaks towards energy efficiency measures.
  • Only 8% feel that more information would help, while just 4% would like financing options.
  • Just over a quarter (27%) of those who rent their premises say they have no influence on energy efficiency improvements.

A major survey of businesses across England and Wales has found that more than half (55%) would like the Government to offer more grants and tax breaks towards the costs of energy efficiency measures.

The survey of more than 2,100 businesses, published today by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and British Gas, shows that only a small percentage of businesses believe more information (8%) or financing options for measures such as insulation, LED lighting and solar panels (4%) will help them to manage and reduce their energy costs.

Rather, 36% of those surveyed believe that the most important thing the Government could do for business is provide grants towards the cost of installing energy efficiency measures, while 19% suggested the most effective intervention would be tax breaks. 

Those in rented properties (27%) said a major barrier to action was feeling they have no influence over energy efficiency improvements on their site.

The results also reveal that work is needed to promote the use of smart meters for businesses: only 6% of respondents suggested this should be the highest priority for Government and suppliers. To address this issue, British Gas is contacting its SME customers to explain the benefits of smart meters and to encourage them to apply for one online.

Mike Spicer, Director of Research and Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“These results demonstrate that getting the economics of investment right for energy efficiency is crucial to promoting take-up. At a time when businesses face growing upfront cost pressures from other sources, grants and tax breaks have an important role to play in offsetting the cost of new energy efficiency measures. On its own, more information won’t do the job.”

Gab Barbaro, Managing Director of British Gas Business, said:

“It’s clear from this research that businesses in rented and leased premises need more help from their commercial landlords, and new regulations to tackle the least energy-efficient premises can’t come soon enough.

“I’d urge all businesses to seek help from their supplier or landlord, and start with the basics. For example, by applying for a smart meter, businesses could much more accurately work out what’s driving their energy use and make considered decisions about how to reduce it.”

Respondents said no one issue prevented them from investing in energy efficiency measures. The most frequently cited barriers were the marginal level of savings they might achieve (15%), other investments taking priority (13%) and a lack of available funds (13%).

In addition, while more than seventy per cent said they spend less than a tenth of their operating budget on energy, only 13% of businesses have seen their energy costs fall over the last three years. 36% said they had seen their costs rise; 37% reported little or no change, and 13% said they didn’t know.

Notes to editors

A link to the full report can be found here: www.britishgas.co.uk/business/energyinsight

British Gas business customers can apply for a smart meter online at www.britishgas.co.uk/business/smartmeters

British Gas is encouraging businesses to take the following steps to reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions: 

  1. Consult your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to find out how to improve your rating
  2. Encourage staff to switch off or turn down heating and equipment when not in use
  3. Apply for a smart meter to help you see exactly how much you’re using
  4. Check your lighting and replace with compact fluorescent or LED lights
  5. Have your property correctly insulated
  6. Improve the condition of your windows and seal draughts
  7. Get a new, energy efficient boiler 
  8. Invest in new technology such as solar panels, air-source heat pumps, biomass boilers or distributed energy.

Survey methodology:

Fieldwork for the survey was conducted online with British Chambers of Commerce members between 22 February and 14 March 2016. In total, 2,152 businesses from England and Wales decided to take part. The results do not include businesses in Scotland. Some percentage figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful network of 52 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy supplier, and serves around 11 million homes in Britain – nearly half the country’s homes – as well as providing energy to around 400,000 British businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Homes Services expertise in the country. Find out more at www.britishgas.co.uk.

 

For more information contact:

Katie Rose
British Gas
07789 575915
katie.rose@britishgas.co.uk

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy supplier, and serves around 11 million homes in Britain – nearly half the country’s homes – as well as providing energy to around half a million British businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Homes Services expertise in the country. Find out more at www.britishgas.co.uk.


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