UK hospitality and leisure firms eyeing on-site solar and energy efficiency amid price crisis, survey finds

70% of those polled said the energy price crisis has negatively impacted their business

Conducted by Censuswide on behalf of digital energy services provider eEnergy, the survey polled 300 business owners and executive-level professionals at UK-based hospitality and leisure firms. Most of the businesses represented were hotels and restaurants, with the survey covering SMEs and larger chains.

It sought to measure the impact of the energy price crisis on these firms – and to assess the potential solutions they are exploring.

On the former, the survey found, worryingly, that eight in 10 businesses believe they may have to make redundancies or reduce staff hours before the year is out to reduce costs. One in four believe their business may close in the next year, with high energy prices playing a key role in their closure.

Overall, 90% of those polled did not expect energy levels to return to pre-price-crisis levels by this time next year.

Regarding solutions, almost all survey respondents said they had either already made further energy efficiency improvements or are planning to do so within 12 months. Common actions include installing LED lighting and using digital solutions to identify inefficient energy use. Survey respondents widely acknowledged that energy efficiency improvements will bring benefits in the long-term as well as the short-term; one-quarter named energy efficiency as the single biggest long-term solution to protect themselves against energy price shocks.

There are likely to be energy efficiency wins at almost all firms in the sector, the survey revealed; 94% of respondents stated that at least one-fifth of the energy they purchase every year goes to waste.

Nonetheless, not all businesses feel prepared to make energy efficiency interventions alone. Almost one-third (29%) stated that they want to see a Government-backed, energy-efficiency support scheme for the sector – similar to that already implemented for public sector buildings.

eEnergy’s chief executive Harvey Sinclair is urging businesses to act alone, without a national Government support scheme, if possible. He said: With many business owners considering redundancies or even closure, solutions are needed now, but we do not need to wait for government intervention.

“Government grants to finance energy saving solutions only have a 5-10% conversion rate and for most it takes six to 12 months to get a decision, causing further delays and burning more cash – and carbon.”

Naturally, eEnergy is using the survey results to promote its own services.

The survey also revealed that many hospitality and leisure firms are exploring self-generated electricity as a means to avoid high wholesale prices. Half of the businesses surveyed said they are either already planning to install, or are looking at the feasibility of installing, on-site solar panels.

In related news, a survey published last week by Make UK found that three-quarters of British manufacturers see improving energy efficiency as the main, short-term focus of their long-term decarbonisation plans.

Make UK also found that 39% of these businesses  see on-site renewable energy generation as a priority step towards reducing bills and emissions. Click here for edie’s full story on the Make UK report.

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