A recent report has revealed that cost of electricity is now the biggest challenge facing small businesses today, overtaking securing finance and the burden of red tape.
Of 2000 companies surveyed, Citizens Advice found that 46% of small business owners expressed concern over the cost of electricity, in contrast, only 16% were more concerned about accessing finance.
Chief executive of Citizens Advice, Ms Guy said: “Regulators, firms and business groups need to pay far greater attention to the ways in which these markets meet the needs of small business.”
Small businesses lack the market power of their medium and large business counterparts to negotiate good deals. Greater focus needs to be placed on problems facing smaller companies in dealing with the giants of the power and telecom industries, the charity said.
Investigations into Britain’s leading Energy firms has been launched by the competition watchdog after a report from regulator, OfGem. Ms Guy added that, with pressures affecting homeowners as well as businesses, the investigation needed to consider whether the market was working for all consumers.
The confederation of British industry said the government needed to do more to help support small businesses, but also noted that SMEs and business at large needs to be more energy efficient.
A spokesperson for CBI stated “As the economy recovers, businesses still face significant challenges, with rising energy prices an increasing concern. Energy efficiency can help businesses to manage these costs and the Government must ensure that small businesses have the support they need.”
SME owners are often not aware that they have all the same rights as domestic energy users, should they find themselves in difficulty. Struggling SMEs should not be afraid of seeking advice and exploring all available options.