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Energy supply chain sitting on half a billion pounds of businesses’ money

27th March 2017

Businesses could be missing out on up to half a billion pounds of unclaimed refunds and incorrect charges on their energy bills.

Inenco have conducted analysis on business bills from a range of sectors, identifying that one in five energy bills have errors on them that frequently go unnoticed by organisations. The complex flow of data across the industry means that mistakes are made across the supply chain, from suppliers to network operators, often adding up to significant sums of money.

Inenco analysed thousands of business energy invoices to identify the most common errors and forecast the scale of the issue for all businesses in the UK. The retail and leisure sectors were most likely to be paying inaccurate charges, thanks to their complex portfolios of sites with multiple meters and frequently changing tenants, and the cash-strapped public sector could be overpaying the equivalent of a third of the NHS’ annual electricity bill.*

A business with a large number of sites in their portfolio will have hundreds of half-hourly meter reads automatically submitted each day, creating huge volumes of data to process and creating large margins for error. A large manufacturer may unknowingly have had an incorrect rate being applied on their consumption for years. The only way to identify these issues is by conducting invoice validation and bill audits to check for inaccuracies across the supply chain, yet only 20% of businesses currently conduct these on a regular basis.

High value errors uncovered by Inenco included:

  • A major supermarket being overcharged £700,000 in duplicate charges
  • A food manufacturer paying over £300,000 in inaccurate network charges
  • A £775,000 refund for a property management agent from paying incorrect rates for a year


Inenco’s analysis has apportioned the scale of the issue across sectors, identifying approximate potential revenue that could be recovered:

  • Retail and leisure industry – £200m
  • Public sector – £112m
  • Property sector – £78.5m
  • Manufacturing industry – £65m


Inenco chief commercial officer David Cockshott said: “The size and scale of this issue means this is not just small change being discussed. Collectively, UK businesses could be sitting on half a billion pounds of refunds, at a time when energy costs are rising by 25% and businesses are facing pressure on their bottom line from every direction.

“Paying too much for energy bills because of simple data issues or human error is easily resolved and can result in significant savings for businesses, from direct refunds to preventing future unnecessary pay-outs. Whilst smart meters and smarter systems will go some way towards preventing future inaccuracies, the energy supply chain must work harder to prevent these issues from happening. It would pay for all businesses to undertake some form of invoice validation to check for incorrect charges and ensure they only pay for the energy they use.”

Inenco’s team of data analysts process and validate over one million invoices each year on behalf of businesses. Businesses have the right to recover historic incorrect charges from bills up to six years old, meaning it pays to conduct bill audits and identify any refunds.

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