The Chairman of the Federation for Small Businesses (FSB) has called for energy companies and the UK government to support struggling SMEs to cut energy use.
Writing in the Guardian, Mike Cherry said that many small businesses can not afford to pay for energy saving measures by themselves. Although energy companies are obliged to install smart meters in homes and businesses by 2019, when it comes to smaller companies they should go further, says Cherry, by providing support and advice to customers and making it fast, cheap and easy to switch providers.
Financial concerns threaten to undermine the government’s existing initiatives too, claims Cherry. “Many small businesses do not have the capital to invest up-front in energy efficiency or sustainability measures, such as smart meters or solar panels. Those that do choose to take out a Green Deal loan – a government scheme to help reduce energy use – face long payback times, even though they are guaranteed to be no worse off under the scheme’s ‘golden rule,’” he says.
“Small firms do have the appetite to be more energy efficient, namely because of the obvious benefits to keeping the cost of doing business down. However, for firms to take on energy efficient measures in real numbers, they need the payback to be quick and the upfront costs to be small. There has to be a tangible business benefit and a low risk to their investment. And the process has to be simple and clear.”