The majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) want their energy supplier to be more committed to renewable energy, according to a new report that looks at how the SME sector regards energy supply.
The report, commissioned by Haven Power, revealed that while 72% say they would like energy suppliers to be more committed to renewables, only 11% would rate their current energy supplier as excellent when it comes to renewable energy support and options.
However, much of the energy supply sector is failing to meet SMEs’ demand for more renewable energy, and this comes against a general backdrop of high dissatisfaction with suppliers amongst SMEs.
As many as 73% of SMEs label value for money as a main priority (this increases to 94% for SMEs with between 5-25 employees), and yet just 23% believe they are receiving an excellent deal. Although, in theory, they can shop around to get better deals, the reality is that few actually switch to a new supplier.
Almost three quarters of SMEs (71%) agree that it should be simpler to switch supplier. But the scale of the difficulty in switching is clear to see, and could be the reason that one in five of those who tried to switch didn’t end up with a new supplier.
The third factor that is likely to stimulate a switch (after price and service) is the offer of renewable electricity. More than one in five told researchers that they would stay late at work to switch suppliers if they could purchase a completely clean energy product. For the largest-sized SMEs (101-250 employees), this rises further to 28%.
Over a quarter (26%) also say that support in being more energy efficient is something that they look for in an energy supplier.
Jonathan Kini, chief executive of Haven Power, said: “That so many SMEs are dissatisfied with their existing energy supplier is perhaps unsurprising, but the sheer scale of the discontent revealed in this report remains shocking.
“SMEs want more from their supplier and a commitment to renewable energy is one of the demands they are pushing for. This suggests there is some fundamental change happening, and we in the energy sector need to respond to it by not only helping SMEs reduce their energy usage but also being able to supply 100% renewable energy.”
The report comes as Haven Power launches a new initiative in the Suffolk area, around its headquarters in Ipswich, to help SMEs switch to more renewable energy and become more sustainable.
One of the reasons Ipswich was chosen as the first area of the UK to benefit from this new initiative is the high number of digital businesses in the area. Ipswich was a new entry in the 2016 Tech Nation report this year, showing that turnover of digital firms in and around the area grew by 24% between 2010 and 2014, with the sector now employing nearly 10,000 people.
The report shows that digital businesses are particularly eager to switch to a more renewable energy supply, with 80 per cent agreeing or strongly agreeing that they would like their energy supplier to support renewable energy. And yet in this sector, not a single respondent said they received support from their supplier when it comes to using renewable energy.
Mr. Kini added: “This research is something of a wake-up call to many in the energy supply sector. It tells us what SMEs want in terms of renewable energy options, and what they expect from their supplier to help them achieve their goals of greener energy and lower usage. This is the Haven Power offer that we’re rolling out.”