Health trusts urged to ‘switch to save’ or lose out on energy bills

Changing energy suppliers seen as a hassle as many organisations miss out on benefits reaped by switching-savvy enterprises

Health organisations could be saving money on their energy bills

Healthcare organisations are in the dark on energy purchasing and are failing to secure major savings, new research has revealed.

A study by energy and water consultancy, Utilitywise, shows that nearly half - 44% - of trusts have never switched suppliers or tariffs, with one in five – 21% - not knowing that switching is an option. This comes despite the research showing that three quarters of organisations in the healthcare sector - 70% - believe they pay too much for their utilities; and a higher number - 76% - understanding that there are savings to be made.

The research explored what healthcare businesses and organisations knew about energy switching and found there was a lack of understanding about the options or perceived barriers that are stopping them taking action.

Although a quarter of trusts switched supplier in the last year, many others avoided moving due to the belief it is not worth the hassle (30%) and the return would not outweigh the time it takes to organise (21%).

When it comes to reasons why those in charge are reluctant to explore switching, many believe it will take them too much time and effort. In addition, 52% are concerned about the costs and fees attached to transferring to a new supplier; an increase of paperwork and forms to fill in makes 56% of organisations nervous; and 26% believe that switching will cause a disruption to their energy supply.

Andrew Richardson, deputy chief executive 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.

It is daunting and more complicated for commercial enterprises to navigate switching as they may have a number of sites, meters and different contracts – this is where working with consultants can help

“Businesses and organisations in the healthcare sector can do the same and there are real savings to be made. However, it is daunting and more complicated for commercial enterprises to navigate switching as they may have a number of sites, meters and different contracts – this is where working with consultants can help.”

Of the trusts surveyed, almost half - 44% - 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 25% of them to switch; and 57% already believe they would save up to £300 if they were to switch in 2015.

For those businesses and organisations that have saved, or foresee saving, money through switching, 42% would invest in better equipment, 24% would inject the cash into additional benefits for staff, and 23% would focus on office upgrades.

In the past year Utilitywise has switched more than 80% of new customers to a different supplier to get the right tariff for the organisation. It predicts that they can save, on average, £55,000 per year.

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