Small businesses ‘discontent’ with renewable energy supplier options

Britain's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are keen to make the switch to 100% renewable energy-powered operations, but many are not receiving enough support from energy suppliers in order to do so, a new survey has revealed.

An in-depth survey of decision makers within 100 SMEs across the country found that 72% want their energy suppliers to be more committed to renewable energy, with just one in 10 rating their current supplier’s renewable energy support as “excellent”.

Almost three quarters (71%) of SMEs agree that the process of switching suppliers should be made much simpler – a key factor in the fact that just one in five businesses that have tried to switch ended up not switching supplier at all, according to business electricity provider Haven Power, which commissioned the survey.

“That so many SMEs are dissatisfied with their existing energy supplier is perhaps unsurprising, but the sheer scale of the discontent revealed in this report remains shocking,” said Haven Power chief executive Jonathan Kini. “SMEs want more from their supplier and a commitment to renewable energy is one of the demands they are pushing for.

“This suggests there is some fundamental change happening, and we in the energy sector need to respond to it by not only helping SMEs reduce their energy usage but also being able to supply 100% renewable energy.

“The fact that only 21% of respondents believe their supplier is completely committed to renewable energy and almost a third saying their supplier is either not very committed or they are not sure they have a renewable option shows a huge gap in the market for those with a different offer.”

‘Wake-up call’

Renewable energy was rated the third most important factor – behind price and service quality – that would prompt businesses to switch suppliers. One in five SMEs (22%) told Haven that they would stay late at work if it meant they could purchase a 100% clean energy product.

Digital businesses are the most eager to make the renewable energy switch, according to the survey, with 80% agreeing that they would want their current supplier to support renewable energy. But not one respondent in this sector received support from their suppliers when it came to switching to renewable energy, Haven says.

Kini added: “This research is something of a wake-up call to many in the energy supply sector. It tells us what SMEs want in terms of renewable energy options, and what they expect from their supplier to help them achieve their goals of greener energy and lower usage. This is the Haven Power offer that we’re rolling out.”

Haven Power is part of the Drax Group plc – an innovative energy company that owns and operates the UK’s largest power station in Selby, North Yorkshire which typically provides 8% of the UK’s electricity. The group has transformed itself over recent years to a predominantly biomass-fuelled generator.

Alex Baldwin

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