Licensed trade businesses across Scotland stand to make significant savings if they are willing to review their utility contracts.
That’s the message from utility firms, who have claimed that many licensees are losing out by not finding the best deals.
Dean Ewart, managing director of SME energy at Scottish Gas, said: “The business energy market is extremely competitive, with more than 30 suppliers to choose from, so it’s likely that a better deal may be available if licensees have been in a contract for a number of years.”
Quoting UK government research, Iain Walker, head of business energy sales at E.ON, said two in every five small businesses have never switched their energy suppliers.
“But for businesses which have never switched gas or electricity supplier, or have not switched in the last couple of years, they’ll almost certainly save money on energy bills by moving to a different deal,” said Walker.
And despite the 2008 de-regulation of Scotland’s commercial water market, only 20% of Scotland’s small businesses have switched suppliers, according to Tony McHardy, sales director at United Utilities Scotland.
“The perception may be that switching supplier is a complex process but it doesn’t have to be,” said McHardy.
He added that, together with price, advice and customer service are two vital criteria when choosing a new supplier.
James Cardwell-Moore, commercial director of water supplier Business Stream, agreed.
“A good supplier should be able to help operators save money, reduce their environmental impact and save time,” said Cardwell-Moore.
“There’s a lot more to managing water supply than simply what comes through the taps, and the market is increasingly about the extra services on offer, rather than cost alone.
“Apart from the basic cost, operators should ask about payment and discount options. They should also look for advice, services and products to reduce water usage, some of which may be free.”
Helping businesses reduce their consumption is one of the most important services firms can offer, according to McHardy at United Utilities Scotland.
“By understanding water consumption issues savings can be identified,” he said.