Energy costs and the rising distrust of suppliers among SMEs

IN: Business news

Energy costs can hit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hard as electricity and gas prices remain open to hikes.

undefinedIt is not only British homeowners that are subject to steep energy bills, as the squeeze erodes the profitability of a number of small UK firms.

In fact, research carried out on behalf of business community Ingenious Britain, in partnership with Make It Cheaper, has highlighted SMEs' attitudes to suppliers.

In the survey of 500 SME decision-makers, it was revealed 79 per cent of respondents have witnessed a rise in their energy bills in the past year.

Alarmingly, the study showed just 36 per cent of SMEs trust their energy supplier, compared to 69 per cent of solicitors and 77 per cent of accountants.

According to Mark Moore, founder of Ingenious Britain, the reason for this mistrust has been driven by price-fixing allegations in the news and reports of record-high profits for suppliers.

Mr Moore said: "This research shows widespread malaise and discontent amongst business owners and managers across the UK. 2012 was a bad year in terms of reputation for energy companies."

Still, many SMEs are standing up to high energy costs by looking to the private sector for help, with 49 per cent of small firms claiming they will take advantage of price comparison sites.

"Whilst I don't think we're about to see a Class Action launched, we do expect to see more businesses voting with their feet," said Jonathan Elliott, managing director of Make It Cheaper.

If allegations about price-fixing are proven, the study showed 80 per cent of SME owners and managers believe compensation should be provided, with 77 per cent prepared to make a claim.

With 36 per cent of SMEs surveyed admitting they think they could get a better deal from their current supplier, it seems now is the time small businesses should get a grip on their energy costs and demand the best deal on the market. 

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