Small business owners braced for energy price rise

Nine in 10 (94%) small businesses believe energy prices are about to go up again, with two thirds (67%) anticipating a rise of 10% or more over the next year.

Nine in 10 (94%) small businesses believe energy prices are about to go up again, with two thirds (67%) anticipating a rise of 10% or more over the next year, according to research from price comparison service Make It Cheaper.

However any further rise in the cost of energy is likely to provoke anger among business owners who already think that they are paying too much for their gas and electricity.

When asked which overhead they consider to be most unfairly priced, the 500 respondents to Make It Cheaper's survey of business owners answered:

  • 28% = Energy
  • 21% = Petrol/Diesel
  • 15% = Business Rates
  • 13% = Bank Charges
  •  9% = Insurance
  •  6% = Employment Tax
  •  4% = Rail Fares
  •  3% = Rent
  •  1% = Loans

Furthermore, the energy industry's recent claim that pressure on prices is primarily due to an increase in the taxes they are obliged to collect on the government's behalf seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Almost half (45%) of businesses blame the suppliers' push for profits as the reason behind the 10% rise in business electricity prices over the past 12 months*, with only one in 10 pointing the finger at the government's environmental policy.

When asked for the most likely cause of energy price inflation, the answers were as follows:

  • 45% = The suppliers' determination to make a profit come-what-may
  • 23% = Too much reliance on energy being imported into the UK
  • 11% = The government's environmental taxes/subsidies included in bill
  • 10% = Lack of competition between suppliers in the UK energy market
  •  6% = Demand for energy from fast-growing overseas economies
  •  5% = Funding capital expenditure on the UK's energy infrastructure

Jonathan Elliott, managing director of Make It Cheaper, commented:

"Of all the overheads we speak to businesses about, the relentless rise in energy prices has caused the most bitterness. For whatever reason, over half of businesses have ended up on the wrong kind of energy contracts with some paying in excess of 20 pence per unit for their electricity. A quick phone call to us, for example, will tell you that new contracts are available at around 10 pence a unit for electricity or just under four pence a unit for gas."**

Anyone looking for free and impartial advice on energy prices or how to go about switching supplier should contact Make It Cheaper on 0800 970 0077 /

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* Cornwall Energy's index of delivered SME energy prices is up 10% for electricity in a year and 18% over three years.

** Stats published in Ofgem Retail Market Review

About Make It Cheaper

Based in Central London with 126 staff, Make It Cheaper has been the No.1 destination for businesses to get a better deal on their utilities since its launch in 2007. Following its acquisition of UK Power in 2012, Make It Cheaper also now provides competitive energy prices and expert advice for household energy consumers as well as businesses. Acting on behalf of all its customers with total impartiality, transparency and free-of-charge, Make It Cheaper offers deals from the widest range of energy companies including all of the 'Big 6' and over 20 of the smaller suppliers. For businesses it also offers year-on-year savings across other overheads including: telecoms, insurance and merchant services (Chip & PIN). By switching suppliers or helping to renegotiate deals with existing ones, Make It Cheaper will typically save over 30% of costs (as well as a considerable amount of time) that its customers can then spend elsewhere. Make It Cheaper was the winner of 'SME Consumer Champion' & 'Most Trusted' at the 2013 Energy Live Consultancy Awards, has been in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 for the past two years and its 2012 Net Promoter Score was 74%.

Further Information / Case Studies: Nick Heath 0207 654 0730 /

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