Business energy experts in the South West have predicted a rush for renewables as the fall out from the surge in wholesale gas prices shows no signs of slowing down.
Business energy brokers at Cornwall-based Total Energy Solutions have seen a spike in enquiries for wind, solar and water-powered electricity and ground-sourced heating as companies look for more stability in their energy bills.
Unlike consumers, businesses do not have the protection of a price cap for their energy use and a lack of significant regulation means they are exposed to inflationary rises as the wholesale cost of gas soars.
Ali Carnegie, Managing Director at Total Energy Solutions, which has its headquarters near Stoke Climsland, said the prospects of significant price rises for small and large businesses was real.
“While some businesses have had some protection by being on a fixed rate deal with their energy supplier, they face a significant increase to the highest possible tariff when that contract comes up for renewal,” said Ali.
“Some smaller businesses especially may well find their suppliers start asking for an increase in their rates now, even though they are on a fixed rate deal
“We are talking to energy suppliers every day and whilst there is more stability in the commercial sector, they too are struggling and we cannot rule out further closures.”
Some energy-intensive industries have warned that the price rises could be catastrophic for their sectors, forcing many of them to stop production indefinitely.
Ali added: “We have been talking to all of our customers advising them to sit tight on the deal they have right now while the wholesale market is so volatile. For those whose contracts are up for renewal we are looking for any way we can to help them to mitigate the impact that this might have on their budgets.
“For some that means looking now at renewables when it wasn’t a priority in the past - renewable energy solutions can offer stability that traditional gas and electricity simply cannot right now.
“Finding the right deal for a business in such a volatile market is very difficult but we are working with suppliers and customers to make sure we continue to provide them with the best advice to make the right choice for them right now.
“Business owners should beware of sharp practices too - if offered a deal that seems to be ‘too good to be true’ then it probably is. Low rates often have other hidden charges, which may or may not be disclosed to the customer.
“In these unprecedented times if any business has a concern, regardless of whether it is a client of ours, I am happy to talk to them and put their mind at ease.”