With a number of changes to energy legislation pushing up business energy bills in recent months, and commodity costs also increasing, many businesses will be contending with higher energy bills. This means that it’s never been more important for businesses of all shapes and sizes to make sure that they are only being billed for the energy that they use – and we’ve found that for many organisations, this isn’t the case.
The missing millions
Our Bureau team has been recovering incorrect charges on behalf of our customers for years, and in 2017, we analysed a large sample of business bills from a range of sectors, to get a greater insight into the scale of the issue and the most common reasons for incorrect billing.
The results (which were published in our Missing Millions report) were striking – one in every five business energy bills is wrong, which means that in total, businesses could be sitting on half a billion pounds in inaccurate charges and miscalculated utility bills.
While all sectors could stand to make significant savings, the highest net savings were found within the retail and leisure sector, which accounted for 42% of all the errors spotted by the Inenco team. There was a potential saving of up to £112 million from across the public sector, which accounts for one third of the NHS’ annual electricity bill. Property landlords and management agents could make savings of up to £78.5 million, while manufacturers could be owed over £65 million from suppliers across the energy supply chain.
Why are businesses being charged incorrectly?
Billing errors can come from any element of the supply chain, from meter operators to data collectors, and businesses are unlikely to pick them up unless they check every bill they receive.
Incorrect charges can be a result of human error, but they’re typically due to the complex flows of data that pass between different bodies that make up the energy supply chain. Among the errors we detected, 17% were caused by businesses paying incorrect rates, while 14% were caused by miscalculated taxes and other imposed charges. Technical billing issues were another common problem, along with incorrect meter reads and issues resulting from a change of tenancies.
The Bureau team uncovered the most value for customers from identifying consumption errors, as 19% of the total savings uncovered were due to businesses being billed against incorrect consumption values. And although only 8% of issues were caused by businesses being allocated to the incorrect supplier, this uncovered a substantial amount of revenue for our customers.
Recovering your savings
When it comes to recovering any incorrect charges you may be owed, the best way forward for most businesses will be to source external support from an energy consultancy for invoice validation. That’s because consultants will not only be able to easily identify any billing errors, but they should also have strong relationships with different elements of the supply chain, meaning that rectifying, recovering and resolving any errors is completely hassle-free for your business.
Our Targeted Cost Analysis service goes beyond a standard retrospective audit, as we’ll apply forensic analysis to your historical bills and examine the component parts that make up the bill. This way, we can recover any incorrect charges you’ve incurred over the past 6 years.
We can also process and validate your invoices going forward with our invoice validation service. Our longstanding relationships with all UK energy suppliers and channels of communication into each element of the supply chain means that we can easily identify and rectify incorrect charges, and refund any backdated charges paid erroneously.
If you’d like to make sure your business isn’t missing out on any hidden savings within your bills, our Bureau team can handle the entire invoice auditing process to ensure that you are only paying for the energy you use. Talk to our experts today on 08451 46 36 26 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.