Businesses Are Scrambling to Manage Energy Cost Increases
Small U.K. business owners are having to make tough choices to be able to pay their energy bills. None of the options are very appealing. Meanwhile, energy companies know that many business owners do not have the money to pay the new, higher energy bills, leading some to either not supply small businesses at all, or require large deposits. New challenges call for new business strategies, but it is certainly not a one-option-fits-all situation.
Just turn down the thermostat, you say?
Well, if you are managing a museum, you are bound to the climate controls required to safely store paintings and artifacts without humidity and temperature fluctuations. You will have to look elsewhere: perhaps limiting business hours so you can turn the lights off sooner or raising ticket prices. Neither of these options are appealing to the bottom line.
Dining in the dark?
Restaurants are likely to present their patrons with higher prices and fewer waitstaff providing service – also not a great business model. Consumers are facing the same budget-busting bills and eating out is one of the first things they can give up. Some pubs have already shut down, with the costs of cooking oils and energy too high to be made up elsewhere.
Shutting down and sending out
A 26-year-old independent glassblowing shop, Bath Aqua Glass, has seen their energy bill rise from £14,000 to £233,000 this year. The business runs a 6ft-high methane furnace, 24 hours a day, at between 1,080C and 1,200C. They have decided to shut down the furnace and use a much smaller one instead. The smaller furnace cannot manage the larger items in the inventory, so everything bigger than a small bauble will have to be sent out to larger companies to finish.
Good ideas from the past
One historical house is using its own history to solve their heating problem. The Jane Austen Center is turning down the thermostat and providing their staff and tour guides with period clothing such as wool overcoats, jackets, and shawls. Visitors may also be invited to put on the warm clothing as part of their historical tour. They have considered outfitting visitors in the woolens before, to enhance their experience. Now, it is part of the Center’s fight to stay open.
Homewood Hotel & Spa is looking at using heat pumps to access the natural energy that exists in the underground hot springs, then using the ambient heat from the hydrotherapy pools to warm the inside air.
Forced into the future
While reaching into the past may work for short tours, other companies are enacting their long-term renewable energy plans immediately.
Now that their energy costs have risen 90% since the Russia-Ukrainian war began, Lincs Aquatics is switching to energy-saving options, including LED, solar panels, and wind turbines.
It is likely that any cost-saving measures businesses can enact will be used alongside price increases of products.
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