Many leisure firms may be surprised by unexpected business energy issues as they reopen after lockdown.
With the country cautiously coming out of its third national lockdown, firms up and down the UK will undoubtedly be hoping that prime minister Boris Johnson’s pledge of an “irreversible” lifting of restrictions holds true.
This will especially be the case for those that have had to shut operations entirely due to government rules.
While firms in many sectors have been able to continue operating by shifting to home working or putting in place social distancing, others have been forced to close completely. Pubs, restaurants, leisure centres, gyms, hotels, cinemas and theatres have all faced an especially testing year and will naturally be eager to open their doors again.
But one factor many of these firms may not have considered as they turn the lights back on and get ready to welcome guests again is the impact the pandemic may have had on their energy situation.
Energy suppliers becoming more wary
One particular issue that may affect leisure businesses is that creditors may be warier of taking on risk – and this includes energy suppliers.
In the past, the likes of gyms, cinemas and theatres were seen as relatively stable businesses. But the impact of the lockdowns has left many of these facing a precarious future, and this means energy companies don’t want to be left holding on to debt should their customers go bust.
This means that it may well be harder for companies in these sectors to access a full range of energy deals. In many cases, energy suppliers are now asking for security deposits to cover what they see as an additional risk, which will naturally be unaffordable for many firms that have been without revenue for months.
Some companies may even find deals have been withdrawn altogether as suppliers take a more cautious attitude, which can leave them facing less choice and higher costs for their gas and electricity contracts.
Don’t get caught out by charges
However, this isn’t the only potential energy issue facing these firms. With many businesses sitting cold and dark for months on end, they could also have been inadvertently racking up extra costs on their energy bill through no fault of their own.
This is because many business energy deals require companies to use a set amount of energy – typically between 80% and 120% of their estimated contract annual usage – or face penalty charges. Whilst this helps energy suppliers plan for the consumption required to service customers, when the unexpected strikes and companies are forced to close, it could leave companies facing eye-watering penalty charges for underconsumption against the minimum contracted penalty levels.
While some energy suppliers have been sympathetic to the unique circumstances of the recent lockdowns and have waived their usual fees for underconsumption penalties, others have not. What’s more, in some cases, providers have not even been communicating openly about this, leaving firms with expensive hidden surprises in their invoices.
So what can you do if you’re worried about either of these issues?
The best solution is to seek out expert, impartial advice to help guide you through the process. Pulse can work with your current energy supplier or help identify your options to ensure you can secure affordable deals to keep you running post-lockdown.