By Daniel Hunter

Businesses are being urged to 'Switch to Save' on their energy bills as new research shows that nearly half (47%) have never switched suppliers or tariffs, with one in five not knowing that switching is an option for them.

Three-quarters of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which equates to approximately 3.9 million businesses, believe they pay too much for their utilities and almost the same number (75%) understand there are savings to be made, the study by energy and water consultancy Utilitywise.

Although one in five (20%) businesses switched in the last year, many others avoided moving to new suppliers and tariffs due to the belief it is not worth the hassle (28%) and the return would not outweigh the time it takes to organise (20%).

When it comes to reasons why business owners are reluctant to explore switching, many believe it will take them too much time and effort:

- 46% fear costs and fees attached to transferring to a new supplier

- An increase of paperwork and forms to fill in makes 46% of businesses nervous

- Over a quarter (27%) even believe that switching will cause a disruption to their energy supply and that they may be left for a period of time with no gas or electricity

Andrew Richardson, Deputy CEO of Utilitywise, said: “There has been much in the news about domestic customers switching to get better energy deals, which is positive in terms of building a competitive market place and educating consumers about energy. Businesses can do the same and there are real savings to be made."

Over half of businesses (52%) reported that a feeling of taking the power back into their hands would encourage them to switch energy suppliers, on top of a financial motivation. A saving of £100 - £200 per year would be enough to encourage over one third (34%) of businesses to switch, and over a quarter already believe they would save up to £300 if they were to switch in 2015.

David Riches, Executive Director for Commercial, Trade and Marketing from the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Many Chamber members are small business owners and have to juggle long-term planning at the same time as running the day-to-day operations of their company. Understanding their energy overheads is an important element in managing their business costs effectively. Our research, conducted amongst thousands of Chamber business members across the UK, tells us that many businesses need help when they look to cut their energy costs by switching suppliers."