By Marcus Leach

UK businesses estimate that they have lost up to 10 per cent of their revenue during the past 12 months due to business interruptions caused by unforeseen events, according to new research from energy supplier, npower.

While common issues such as staff sickness were cited, the research - conducted among 250 businesses - also revealed that almost a quarter (24%) of businesses that have recently moved into new build premises have faced unnecessary delays due to the simple fact that they, or the construction company building the property, had not planned the connection to the power supply early enough. Two thirds (66%) of respondents said the new connection process had not been planned in at all at the beginning of the new build project.

As a result of this lack of planning, a quarter of businesses experienced delays of up to five working days, meaning valuable trading time was lost, impacting their bottom line.

“Our research shows that businesses face a wealth of disruptions to their operations, which have the potential to hit their bottom line. However, as demonstrated by the recent riots, which affected nearly a quarter of the businesses we surveyed, many are unforeseen. In today’s tough operating environment, businesses really can’t afford to suffer avoidable interruptions," Nick Lewis, new connections manager at npower, said.

“Business disruptions caused by a delay to a new electricity or gas connection when moving into new premises can easily be avoided with pre-planning. Our research showed that a large number of businesses have lost up to five days because of this, significantly impacting trading. Typically, from initial planning through to ‘switching the lights on’ it takes 20 days to complete the new connections process. Often this isn’t factored into planning and can be an unwelcome surprise. Many businesses could be particularly affected at this time of year, when a delay moving into premises could affect peak time Christmas trading.”

Because the process can seem complex and daunting for businesses, npower has a dedicated New Connections team that assists businesses in navigating the process, from planning and construction, negotiating distribution with network operators to flicking the switch ‘on’ at the right time. Importantly, npower provides a single point of contact for businesses so communication is clear throughout the process, ensuring it runs smoothly and trading is not delayed.

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