Energy expert advises butchers and SMEs to shop around

Butchers and small-to-medium enterprise (SME) owners are being warned to expect more energy price hikes, MeatInfo.co.uk can reveal.

In an interview with the website, managing director of the Energy Advice Line (EAL) Julian Morgan said he suspected the remaining energy suppliers would be announcing price hikes to their customers in the coming days and weeks.

Morgan spoke following the recent price rise announcements from British Gas and SSE, which National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) technical manager Richard Stevenson said would have a big impact on independent butchers.

“Price increases are often felt more keenly by a large portion of the SME sector given that they often consume a far higher level of energy. This will be particularly relevant in the farming and the retail sections of the business as consumption in these sectors tends be high, given the level of intensive equipment,” Morgan said.

According to Morgan, the EAL has proven that prices in the commercial sector hit double digits earlier this year, when compared to rates offered last year.

“Although the domestic price increases hit the press, business increases tend not to be noticed as much, as we see price fluctuations on a daily and weekly basis from the suppliers.”

Morgan explained that domestic price rises often wake the SME sector up, making them engage with the market. However, he said the number of consumers switching their supplier in the UK was down to its lowest point since records began a decade ago. “It is clear that customers cannot rely on their supplier to always offer them the best rate on the market.”

Yet he added: “It unfortunately tends to be the complete opposite, as the supplier will more often than not offer prices on renewal that are 20-30% higher than the current retail price for energy.

“Although the price increases are particularly relevant to the domestic sector, the message for your business readership is to always ‘sense-check’ their current price or their renewal price by having a quick look online and using impartial price comparison services. Never just rely on your current supplier to offer you the best price – it always pays to shop around.”

EAL warns of energy price hikes for small businesses