Customers, Strategy & management

Companies are looking to energy suppliers to enable investments worth millions of pounds

A third of industrial energy users plan to spend more than £1 million on smart and distributed energy technology by 2022, a survey has shown.

PwC’s study of 500 UK businesses revealed growing interest and budget among business energy customers for investing in technologies which can reduce energy usage, promote security of supply and support decarbonisation.

Furthermore, the survey revealed that 55 per cent of business expect their energy supplier to help them with their investment plans and that almost one fifth of industrial and commercial firms want their investments to make them less dependent on the national grid for their energy.

Commenting on the survey results, PwC’s head of power and utilities said energy companies have a “major” role to play in building confidence in smart energy technologies and enabling a “smart business revolution”.

But he warned that suppliers “must move fast if they are to make the most of this consumer trust and grow market share.”

Other findings from PwC’s research showed that one in five commercial energy users also plan to make significant smart energy investments within the next five years.

However, across both industrial and commercial energy users, the survey revealed concern about the realisation of payback on smart energy investments. 63 per cent of respondents said they had doubts in this area.

“Costs are a prime concern for UK firms as is their lack of confidence in the speed at which returns will materialise,” said Jennings. “Unless addressed, these issues will continue to influence both the level and pace of smart energy adoption across the UK business community.”

In addition to the cost of smart energy technologies, the cost of energy itself was also identified as a source of worry for businesses.

Almost 60 per cent of respondents said they are concerned about energy pricing and the rise in associated taxes and levies. This concern was particularly acute among industrial and commercial businesses where 79 per cent said energy costs were a worry.

When asked what the main motivation for switching energy suppliers would be, most firms said price would be their main reason. This was particularly prevalent among small and medium sized firms and public sector institutions. 

Industrial and commercial customers were less driven by price with one in five saying they would switch suppliers to access new technology offerings.

What to read next