The last few months will no doubt have been among the most challenging times any business has experienced in living memory, and the effects of the global pandemic will have reached into almost every aspect of how they operate.
But as we open back up and firms get offices, factories and shop floors up and running again, it’s becoming clear that for many businesses, things will never be the same as they once were.
One area that is set for a significant change is Business Energy. Major shifts in how we work – not just during the lockdown, but moving forward for the months and years to come – will mean many firms have to rethink how they use energy, and this will lead them to reevaluate existing contracts and look for solutions that will be better able to withstand future fluctuations and disruption.
A shift in how we consume business energy
The way in which we use energy as a society has already changed dramatically due to the pandemic and the resultant shifts in where and how we work. For instance, while domestic energy usage has increased as more people work from home and run more devices during peak hours, overall usage has fallen dramatically as larger industrial and commercial premises stand idle.
In fact, the World Economic Forum has noted that coronavirus lockdowns around the globe have led to the biggest fall in demand for energy for 70 years, with the International Energy Agency saying global energy usage could fall by as much as six per cent this year.
This is leading to big changes in how the energy sector as a whole operates. For example, the use of fossil fuels is being reviewed in many places, with the most polluting fuels such as coal – down by around eight per cent compared with 2019 – particularly hard hit.
In its place is likely to be a greater focus on renewables and more sustainable solutions, with more efforts being made to ensure the dramatic reduction in emissions seen over the last few months isn’t undone as the world gets back to work. But how will this translate into new challenges and opportunities for enterprise users?
The importance of reducing costs
Businesses will be facing significant challenges at the present time, and energy should be a key part of planning how their operations will evolve post-Covid. For instance, some firms may be looking at reducing their office space or even shutting some locations altogether as flexible and remote working trends appear to be here to stay, while others may need to increase their usage in order to cope with surging demand as customers return.
If firms expect their use of energy to fluctuate more in the coming months and years due to greater flexibility in their overall working practices, or even the potential for future localised lockdowns, it will therefore be important for them to have a much closer insight into their usage and the costs that will come with this.
This is all taking place against a background of huge uncertainty for businesses generally. This means firms will be under greater pressure than ever to make savings wherever they can – and energy offers a perfect opportunity for businesses to take advantage of the new way of working to make changes and cut down on spending.
Why now is the time to rethink gas and electricity strategy
As a result, it’s an ideal time for businesses to be renewing or switching energy contracts. This can be a great way to get better rates, but adopting the latest technology can also give them more insight into how they use energy, so they can plan their activities and spending accordingly.
For instance, smart monitoring and alert services that can give a more accurate picture and assist with forecasting could be essential, especially for those in industries such as hospitality where levels of demand are likely to be highly unpredictable for the foreseeable future.
It’s not only about controlling the costs either. For many firms, energy sustainability plays an important role in their corporate social responsibility policies, so using this opportunity to search for greener offerings could also pay dividends in terms of improving a company’s reputation.
However, finding the right tariffs will be a tricky process, so it will be vital that businesses are able to make use of experienced, impartial advisers when making these decisions. With so many options in the market, having access to expertise that can help them cut through the confusion and identify the offers that are best suited to their needs will be vital in ensuring businesses can cut costs while securing their energy for years to come.