Over 60% of North West business folk don’t understand energy bills

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Nearly one in five business folk across the North West don’t understand their commercial energy bill, a survey by energy and water consultancies, Utilitywise, found.

The organisation found 61 per cent of business people were unable to identify that E or A readings mean estimated or actual, while almost a quarter (29 per cent) did not understand the term unit rate.

The terminology can be confusing, but it’s important to get a handle on it because it impacts a business’ bottom line: if you don’t know that you’re paying an estimated bill you can be in for a nasty surprise.

Andrew Richardson

The data also revealled that nationally as many as 2.19m businesses never, or only occasionally, check their energy bills.

The issue is not confined to micro and small businesses of one to 49 employees; almost the same number of those employing 50 to 249 staff across the country reported that they too don’t have the skills they need to make sense of their regular statements.

This news comes despite the fact that three-quarters of SMEs in the North West believe they pay too much for their utilities. Whilst just 11 per cent of the region’s business decision makers cited lack of time for the reason they don’t double check the bill is correct , a further 22 per cent simply trust that the total is likely to be accurate. Yet, Utilitywise’s own information shows over 60 per cent of businesses are reliant on estimated bills.

With 50 per cent of small businesses in the North West believing that energy prices will go up in the next year Utilitywise is committing resources to help business people get the information they need to make sense of their bills, and the energy market.

Andrew Richardson, deputy CEO of Utilitywise, said: “Businesses need help to navigate the energy market.

“That starts with understanding your statements. The terminology can be confusing, but it’s important to get a handle on it because it impacts a business’ bottom line: if you don’t know that you’re paying an estimated bill you can be in for a nasty surprise. With more than 22,000 business customers, the team at Utilitywise believes passionately in making the energy sector easier to do business with. It shouldn’t be complicated, confusing or opaque. Instead, we strive to take the hassle out of managing your energy, and the first place to start is by making bills less baffling.”