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Small business decision makers look to Twitter for advice about business energy

Make It Cheaper and Ingenious Britain conduct a live Q & A after publishing research detailing lack of trust in energy suppliers among UK businesses.

Last week, Make It Cheaper published a joint press release with Ingenious Britain - a UK small business champion - that detailed some alarming findings about a declining level of trust in energy suppliers.

Perhaps the most striking of these was the fact that only just over a third of SME decision makers (36%) said they trusted their energy provider. To put that in context, there was found to be less trust in business energy providers than there was in banks (50% trust), insurance companies (51%) and solicitors (69%). The main drivers for that disturbing level of distrust were found to be the recent accusations of price fixing (58%) and the regular proclamations of record profits amongst energy suppliers (57%).

So, if business energy customers can't trust their suppliers for guidance, where can they find help?

In response to the survey results, we and Ingenious Britain conducted a live energy question and answer session on Twitter. Our aim was to help small businesses better understand their energy options and to shed more light on topics that often need clarification.

The response from the small business community on Twitter was enthusiastic, with questions posted on a number of topics including green energy, VAT advice for charities and the notorious roll-over trap. Here are some highlights:

Tweet from My Family Expert Tweet from Carolyn Frank Tweet from Jennifer D Begg

Our favourite question from the session came from The Advertising Doctor, a marketing consultancy service based in Central London, which started a lively conversation:

Tweet from The Ad-Doctor

Of course, this engagement comes against a backdrop of apparently incessant price rises: the government recently confirmed that gas prices for smaller businesses had risen by 17% in 2012 and electricity prices had risen by 9%. This mirrors the research we commissioned, which found the following:

  • 79% of SME decision makers state their energy bill has increased over the last year with 80% believing this rise will continue over the next twelve months
  • Three quarters of SME decision makers interviewed believe energy prices are unfair and disproportionate
  • Over 50% of SME decision makers believe energy prices are a strain to their business.

The encouraging news is that there are signs that small businesses are planning to take action in 2013, with the belief that their engagement will stimulate a competitive market and lead them to the best possible prices available. While 35% of respondents switched suppliers in the last 12 months, a further 51% plan on doing so in the next 12 months.

Given energy companies' apparent lack of support to businesses, it was not surprising to learn that just under half (44%) of all respondents believe switching energy supplier is difficult and complicated. Well, we're here to take the hassle and complication out of that process and offer expert help to businesses that want to explore all their options and put more of their hard-earned cash onto the bottom line.

Our Twitter feed is there for exactly that. We're not always hosting a live Q and A, but we monitor the account throughout office hours and promise a response to your enquiry - whether it relates to business gas, business electricity or any of our other cost-saving services.

If you don't know where to start with regard to switching business energy, here's a tip: start with a tweet to Make It Cheaper.