Electricity costs are rising, and a business’s energy bill can be a major expense. But simple tips can help a business keep its overhead low.
One of the most important is reducing demand charges by rescheduling power-intensive activities throughout the day and installing a commercial solar system to offset demand. Other easy measures include promoting simple energy-saving practices such as turning off lights and unplugging devices.
Businesses can control their business energy costs by making a few simple upgrades. Removing outdated equipment such as printers, photocopiers, and microwaves that use a lot of energy can greatly impact your electricity bills. You can also save by switching to laptops, which use about 90% less energy than desktop computers.
Another key is to ensure that all equipment, lights, and appliances are switched off at the end of the day. Leaving unused devices in standby mode can cost your business up to PS35 a year for each device! Ensure that lights are turned off overnight and during weekends and that all devices (including printers) are put into “sleep mode” or completely switched off. You can even plug all the devices into a power strip that will shut everything down with just one push.
Educating your employees on lowering business energy consumption can help you reduce your electricity costs. Having them participate in an energy survey or analysis can help you identify wasteful practices, learn cost-saving strategies, and construct a comprehensive energy management program.
Control Peak Energy Demand
Many business owners are surprised to learn that peak energy demand charges account for many of their electric utility bills. The good news is that there are some ways to control these charges and save money.
Your electricity company calculates your peak demand based on the maximum power usage during 15-minute monthly increments. During these intervals, your business is charged a higher rate per kilowatt hour than off-peak times when business electricity rates in Texas are lower.
You can reduce peak energy demand by shifting your power consumption to off-peak hours. This may include using programmable appliances or scheduling energy-intensive equipment for off-peak use. It’s also a good idea to conduct an energy audit and look for cost-saving solutions like insulating and air sealing your building, upgrading to efficient lighting and appliances, and reducing energy usage overall.
Another way to reduce peak energy demand is to use a time-of-use rate. These options are usually offered to small businesses at a lower price during off-peak hours.
Energy costs are among the top three expenses in 35% of small businesses, so controlling these costs is essential. Energy deregulation has opened up new business opportunities to save money, including by switching business electricity suppliers.
While you can’t change the delivery part of your service (the local utility owns the wires coming into your building), you can choose who supplies your energy. If you don’t choose, your local utility will supply your business by default and charge a variable rate that can change monthly.
A comprehensive energy survey can identify energy waste in your building and help you develop a cost-saving strategy. It’s good to start looking for a new supplier six months before your contract expires to find the best deals. You can also save by switching to a fixed-rate tariff allowing you to pay a lower rate during off-peak hours—ideal for restaurants and bars. Learn more about how to switch suppliers easily here. Getting started is as simple as entering your ZIP code.
Switch Rate Schedules
The type of tariff your business is on has an important impact on its per kilowatt-hour energy rates. This is because the wholesale electricity price determines unit rates, and these prices change frequently.
Some tariff types are designed to lower energy costs by allowing businesses to use power at off-peak hours. For example, a time-of-use tariff might encourage businesses to run their dishwashers and washing machines during off-peak hours, such as evenings or nights. Alternatively, some tariffs provide businesses with flexible or variable rate plans. These are ideal for businesses that are okay with taking the risk that their unit rates could rise or fall with market activity.
Another way to lower your business’s energy rates is to thoroughly compare suppliers when it is nearing the end of its contract. This can be done directly through the supplier or an energy broker who may negotiate a deal on your behalf for a fee. Getting quotes from various potential suppliers will allow you to select the best one for your needs.
Install Energy Efficiency Measures
Getting your company to embrace energy efficiency measures is not only an eco-friendly thing to do, but it can also save you money in the long run. Businesses that make their buildings more energy efficient have seen an average of 8% immediate savings on their electricity bills and 40% over 10 years.
Many energy-efficient strategies are cheap or free to implement, such as turning off lights and equipment when not in use, installing motion censoring lights in areas that only need to be lit occasionally, and setting timers on devices that automatically shut off at the end of business hours. Using low-load energy appliances such as printers and computers that can be put in “sleep mode” will also cut your electric consumption substantially.
Other cost-effective energy efficiency strategies include changing your light bulbs to LEDs (light-emitting diodes), which consume 75% less electricity than traditional fluorescent bulbs and last 25 times longer. You can also participate in a utility company’s demand response program to reduce your peak energy demand and get significant savings on your business electricity rates.