Firms accused of failing to be smart with energy bills: Almost half have never switched suppliers

Caitlin Morrison
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Almost half of businesses have never switched suppliers or tariffs
UK businesses are failing to save money on energy bills by staying with existing power suppliers rather than switching.

Almost half, 47 per cent, of businesses have never switched suppliers or tariffs, despite 75 per cent of SMEs, which represents 3.9m businesses, believing they pay too much for their utilities, according to research from energy and water consultancy Utilitywise.

The study, which was carried out in conjunction with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), also showed that although one in five businesses switched in the last year, many others avoided moving to new suppliers and tariffs.

Reasons given for refusing to switch included a belief that “it is not worth the hassle”, cited by 28 per cent of firms. Meanwhile 20 per cent of businesses said they believed that the return would not outweigh the time it takes to organise a switch.

The research revealed that 46 per cent of businesses fear the costs and fees attached to switching to a new supplier, with the same number admitting to feeling nervous about the potential increase in paperwork and forms to fill in that a switch would entail.

Over a quarter, 27 per cent, believe that switching supplier will cause a disruption to their energy supply and could result in an outage of electricity or gas.

David Riches, executive director for commercial, trade and marketing at the BCC, said the research showed that “many businesses need help when they look to cut their energy costs by switching suppliers”.

Andrew Richardson, deputy chief executive of Utilitywise, said: “There has been much in the news about domestic customers switching to get better energy deals, which is positive in terms of building a competitive market place and educating consumers about energy. Businesses can do the same and there are real savings to be made.”

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