Energy costs 'a big concern for manufacturers'

Energy costs 'a big concern for manufacturers'

Energy costs 'a big concern for manufacturers'

The possibility of energy costs rising in 2017 is a major concern for manufacturers, research has suggested.

All businesses are likely to be keeping an eye on expenses going into the new year, but higher electricity bills will be a particular concern for energy-intensive organisations.

There are actions companies can take to reduce their electricity consumption across all parts of their operation, from the boardroom to the manufacturing floor. These include conducting an energy audit, encouraging eco-friendly workplace practices and replacing old electrical appliances with newer, more efficient versions.

A thorough energy efficiency overhaul should also extend to third parties, such as external service suppliers the company works with.

Manufacturers' concern about rising energy prices was one of the key themes of the latest Energy Matters report from npower Business Solutions (nBS). The company said a "vast number" of respondents to its quarterly survey felt that government policy should focus on lowering commercial energy bills.

The study asked five questions of 100 manufacturing decision-makers in companies with workforces comprising at least 250 employees.

One of the most significant findings showed that 62 percent of respondents thought energy costs had the biggest impact on their operations in 2016. A fifth (20 percent) of businesses cited a lack of technological improvements as the key challenge for their organisation this year.

As far as future policy is concerned, nearly six out of ten manufacturers (57 percent) said lower costs should be a priority for 2017. The biggest concern was the impact of Brexit, which was cited by 63 percent of companies.

David Reed, head of nBS, said it was understandable that rising energy costs had become a "huge concern" for manufacturing firms. He also noted that, at the moment, costs look unlikely to fall. "The government is rightly under considerable pressure to deliver a more flexible system that minimises overall costs to users," added Mr Reed.

"Helping customers to use their energy more efficiently should be a primary focus of all energy managers and buyers as they go into 2017. Businesses can prepare for a range of outcomes by continuing to improve understanding of their consumption and emissions patterns. nBS is committed to helping our customers cut costs by improving flexibility and making full use of the range of incentives in the marketplace to do this."

Other findings from the research showed that three-quarters of businesses in the manufacturing industry (76 percent) were aware of forthcoming developments in the energy sector. Nearly nine out of ten firms (87 percent) said they were concerned about the impact European energy policy could have in 2017.

Organisations looking to make major changes to how they manage and consume energy could look into initiatives such as installing solar panels, a significant investment that could be recouped through long-term savings on energy bills.


Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/fotojog