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Small Businesses need support to make a big impact 

A new report from Energy UK, published today, calls for further advice and support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) looking to reduce their energy costs by improving their energy efficiency and taking advantage of low-carbon technologies.  

The report titled ‘Small Business, Big Impact’ addresses the barriers faced by SMEs hoping to invest in decarbonising their businesses – such as by making premises energy efficient or electrifying fleet vehicles. The report makes several policy recommendations to Government which could ease the way for small and medium size businesses looking to make changes that will benefit them and support the wider energy transition.  

The report examines four themes:  

  • Assessing the challenge of access to finance and the cost of the transition to SMEs.  
  • The need for more widespread adoption of smart meters to enable businesses to track their energy usage while enabling the wider transition to a Net Zero power system.  
  • The need for greater long-term regulatory certainty from the Government to provide clear indicators for businesses planning future investments.  
  • Identifying key blockers, such as planning and the connections process.   

As well as benefits for the businesses themselves, improving the energy efficiency of premises can deliver wider dividends by reducing system costs and improving security of supply through cutting overall demand on the system and the amount of grid upgrades required. Without addressing the current gaps in advice and support, the UK risks missing its target of reducing energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030. 

While local authorities have an important role to play in supporting SMEs by coordinating funding pots, managing compliance of minimum energy efficiency standards and providing the appropriate planning framework to facilitate retrofits and electric vehicle charging – the report makes it clear that the Government should build on proposals from industry and local authorities to provide the right policy framework to support and maximise the impact of these activities. 

Charles Wood, Deputy Director of Policy at Energy UK, said:  

“The energy industry is stepping up its support for Britain’s small businesses facing high energy prices, but a concerted approach is needed in partnership with the Government to remove barriers to SMEs choosing when and how to invest in low-carbon technologies, helping them to decarbonise their demand and reduce their energy bills in the long-term.  

“Today’s report from Energy UK sets out how the UK Government can work in partnership with SMEs and the energy industry to empower businesses to invest in the UK, delivering clean growth, clean jobs, and clean businesses.”