Despite recent global attention on the environment following Climate Week in New York and net-zero pledges from many UK companies, 47% of manufacturing business energy managers admit saving energy costs still remains their primary concern.

The findings are likely a result of increasing political and economic uncertainty in the UK: 77% are concerned about potential business energy price hikes, with Brexit viewed as the greatest factor affecting business energy prices in the future (36%). In fact, almost half (41%) of those polled believe a no-deal Brexit will lead to consistently higher energy prices in the medium-term.

When it comes to a potential change in government, manufacturing energy managers believe that this is likely to lead to increased price instability (68%) and greater regulation (58%) and the continued rollout of new energy-related policies to meet net-zero targets (57%).

However, UK manufacturing businesses are already implementing a number of strategies and tools to help manage energy efficiency and better prepare their business for continued uncertainty. More than half (58%) either have implemented or are planning to implement demand side response technology, while 38 per cent say employee behaviour change programmes (38%) have led to the greatest reduction of energy use for their businesses.

Ben Spry, Head of Flexibility Services at npower Business Solutions, Energy HQ (pictured) says: “It’s great to see energy managers in UK manufacturing businesses already taking positive steps to plan for the sector’s uncertain future. We’re encouraging energy decision makers to engage in long-term, strategic planning to help reduce risk and improve resilience. By incorporating demand-side response (DSR) schemes and other energy efficiency tools at their disposal into their longer-term plans, businesses won’t be forced to choose between cutting energy costs and hitting sustainability and decarbonisation targets.”

In terms of policies to help the UK bridge the carbon emissions gap and meet the net-zero targets, more than a quarter (26%) of retail business energy managers say new carbon pricing framework will get the job done.

[1] Survey of 500 UK business energy/utility decision makers commissioned by npower Business Solutions, conducted by OnePoll: August 2019