With volatile energy markets and increasing costs, it is becoming more and more important for businesses to have an understanding of their energy consumption. However, small and medium-size (SME) businesses don’t give energy management the priority it needs and end up paying the price for it, warns Jason Taylor, Account Manager at IMServ, one of the UK’s largest independent energy data management providers.
Jason explains, “Over half the small businesses that we speak to have no idea how much they are spending on energy and even fewer are in a position to interrogate their usage data.
“The challenge for any owner of a SME is that there are so many costs to running a business; from HR, health and safety, facilities, to marketing, energy management, and new business; the list is endless. Typically, sourcing and managing an energy service provider and interpreting usage data will feature low down on the list of priorities. However, with greater energy insight and some simple behavioural changes, businesses can make savings of up to 15%.”
IMServ provides carbon and energy management solutions, helping organisations of all sizes to save energy, reduce costs and control carbon emissions, working to date with over 250,000 sites in the UK.
“The benefits of energy management go far beyond simple financial savings,” explains Jason, “although that is arguably the most important benefit, particularly for a small business. By gaining control of energy usage, SMEs can identify areas of over-usage and analyse their data to better understand where savings can be implemented. Companies can ensure that they are compliant with regulations that they might otherwise be unaware of, and incorporate energy management into their corporate social responsibility strategy.
IMServ believes there are five key questions that SMEs should be asking their energy service provider to ensure the best deal is secured:
- If an energy management strategy is introduced, what are the savings? Whilst specific savings will vary from industry to industry, providers should be able to give you an idea of how much of a financial saving you should be able to obtain. They will have industry experts on hand with the technical knowledge and data to give you a reasonable idea of what to expect.
- Do you have a service which is tailored to SMEs? Service providers who are worth working with will be able to offer you something tailored to your business. They will want to understand your needs and requirements rather than offering you an out-of-the-box solution.
- Is your data easy to interpret? The last thing you want to be doing is pouring over your data without any sense of what it means.
Ensure that the data you will receive is presented in a user-friendly platform which suits your needs and that you can understand!
- What kind of contracts do you offer? Typically, contracts are offered over a fixed term, although that may not be your only option. Ask what your options are, and then select the best fit for your business. These could encompass fixed term or fixed price contracts. You could also reduce your initial outlay by leasing your measuring equipment rather than purchasing it outright. Alternatively, you could negotiate a lower cost contract by sharing the savings obtained through energy management with the provider.
- What practical measures should be implemented? Communicating and educating your staff will be key to any savings you can make to improving your energy usage. Once you have found the right provider, ask them for their advice on practical measures you can take. For example, fitting a smart meter can help your business track and understand your energy consumption.
IMServ Europe Ltd is one of the UK’s largest independent energy data management providers. The company offers carbon and energy management solutions, helping organisations across all sectors to save energy, reduce costs and control carbon emissions.
IMServ offers an all-inclusive portfolio that covers data collection, analysis, reporting and carbon management. To date over 250,000 sites in England, Scotland and Wales are benefiting from its solutions.