By Claire West

Businesses are overlooking the potential to cut millions of pounds in costs through effective energy management according to the findings of a recent report into ‘The Future of Energy Management in the UK’, commissioned by global energy management specialist Schneider Electric.

Despite companies being able to cut energy costs by as much as 70%, and more than nine out of ten (92%) businesses polled as part of the research seeing energy prices as an important driver for energy efficiency investment, three quarters (74%) of organisations don’t have an energy saving programme in place.

The two million small businesses in the UK alone are set to spend £700m per month this winter*, which could be cut by up to £210m** if energy saving measures were implemented. This demonstrates just how much money is being thrown away by the UK’s business community.

Further to this, employing a dedicated energy manager is still uncommon practice; nearly three quarters (74%) of organisations don’t have a dedicated energy management team or person.

The findings revealed that many organisations have simply added the duties of an energy manager onto an existing role. A third of companies have given the responsibility to administrative and clerical personnel, with another third of organisations passing the duties to a senior manager.

With so few dedicated energy managers it seems that the Government’s push towards a lower carbon society is struggling to influence businesses. Further demonstrating the lack of commitment is the fact that an alarming nine out of ten (90%) of those who are responsible for energy management spend less than a quarter of their time on that specific duty. A mere 6% of energy managers view the role as their full time function.

This worrying statistic ties in with the findings that energy management appears to be neglected due to a lack of time (cited by 27% of respondents) and resources (28%), as well as conflicting priorities from daily tasks (23%). More than one in ten (15%) cited both time constraints and pressure from other workload. This lack of time may be why 36% of businesses failed to identify what their annual expenditure on energy is.

What is encouraging is that businesses do recognise the ever increasing importance of energy management. While just a third (36%) of organisations currently see it as very important, more than half (52%) believe it will become increasingly significant within two years.

Stephen Coop, President of Schneider Electric UK and Ireland, comments: “With the recession still affecting UK businesses, it is concerning to see research that shows companies are missing out on saving money by not implementing an energy management strategy. The report shows that organisations recognise the link between reducing energy consumption and saving money, so it is certainly a surprise to see the missed opportunities.

“Investing in energy saving does not have to be an expensive process, yet it can make a huge difference to a business’ outgoings. It is encouraging to see that organisations do think energy management will become increasingly important, but Schneider Electric is urging companies to act now and reap the rewards sooner rather than later.”

For further information and a detailed copy of the report, please visit www.schneider-electric.co.uk or call 0870 608 8 608.