Electricity for small businesses: A guide for successful entrepreneurs.

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06 electrical pitfalls to absolutely avoid

Small business owners come up against a lot of different challenges. These include things like finding customers, hiring the right people, building an e-mail list , a brand and so on. However, if there’s something they really struggle with is finances. Having enough money to cover your bills, unexpected outgoings or paying your staff is a must.  With the price of  energy rising, It’s becomes vital  for every small business, to  maintain overhead costs which include daily operating costs like energy consumption. This is what this post is all about.

The following article  will be divided in 02 sections:

  1. Pitfalls to absolutely avoid in a small business .Because you are small and obviously new, you may not think  about what can  cost your company  before even getting started.
  2. Average electricity bill for a small business.Every business owner needs to lower its energy consumption. This section  will tell you what to expect in your bills and  how to take major decisions to cut them.

A-  05 pitfalls to absolutely avoid in your business today :

  1. Hire the wrong  supplier. There are many platforms out there like this one which  help you to get the supplier that you want. Though they offer good deals, getting a fix-term contract is always a good option. With this type of contract you can lower your bills by more than 50%.  On the other hand, another good strategy  to find an affordable and good  supplier is to compare contracts and  quotes. Quotes for services and contracts for bills and prices.These are some of the key points to look at when hiring that supplier:
    • Get a clear idea of the machinery that will be used .  Tell  your electrician which type of equipment and appliances is going to be  installed . It   helps to  properly size the  panel . How many  copiers, computers will you use for example?
    • Clearly define your business classification. Depending on the profile of your business and how much your consume per year, you may pay less. Most of the times, if your business uses less than 100,000 kwh, then your are considered as a micro business.
    • Identify your peak period.  Though it may sound difficult to you as a small business , it is paramount to properly set your daily energy consumption . The peak period is the highest demand of energy during a specific period .
  2. Avoiding an inspection:  An electrical contractor or inspector should absolutely check your system especially if your business is launched in an old building.  . You plan to  bring new equipment, so it is important to know if they can rely on the existing electrical system. Otherwise, you may expose your personnel and assets to electrical hazards. The control panel , wiring(aluminum  and knob-and-tube wiring prohibited)  should be carefully inspected .  It’s important  to be there during the inspection , ask for questions and try to understand what is involved.  The electrician or inspector  check  if your system comply with the norms and regulations set by your state. It saves a lot of money on the long run by keeping your equipment safe from surges and fire.  After this work,  another inspection is required .
  3. Not thinking about a backup solution: How often do you experience power blackouts? There are many causes of power outages in an area: weather, animals, spikes or  equipment failures.  But if  people get used of such inconvenience where your business is located, then put serious efforts to ensure that the work can still be properly done. Blackouts can seriously damage your machinery .   According to  ITIC 98 percent of organizations say one hour of downtime costs over $100,000.  Having a backup generator is one of the easiest solutions to prevent from the negative effects of a power failure.Many new business owners don’t want to invest on those but they should.  Blackouts can  cause small businesses to loose out on revenue and productivity.  “while organizations may feel that the likelihood of power outages is beyond their control, they should still assess the impact that an electrical blackout could have on their operations and important machinery, so that they can review and determine whether they have the right controls in place to help mitigate the risk.”  Said Larry Hunter, Risk Engineer at Allianz Global Corpo rate & Specialty (AGCS) in Houston

02 backup systems are  commonly used:

  •  A backup generator :  cheap,  good option for small companies.
  • UPS( uninterruptible power supply) : Which is principally used to protect computers and  data stored in the RAM. This article  shows the difference between the 02 .
  1. Do not maintain your equipment regularly :  Each Equipment should be well maintained  to increase the safety of  workers. If  you respect the recommendations  set by the manufacturer( hours to use, power rating …)  , you improve equipment life; but prevention is better than a cure and having a professional for constant checking will surely  limit the costs of repairs and unplanned maintenance activity.
  2. Cheating electrical energy meter to avoid expensive bills: Illegal meter connections are  prohibited.  Apart from being legally censured, tampering the meter can lead to injuries like fire, explosions due to the inconstancy between the power supplied and what is read. “Tampering with gas and electrical equipment causes can leave homes and businesses with unsafe supplies, which can cause burns, shocks, fires and, in extreme cases, An exposed wire can cause electricity fires, while an insecure gas supply can cause an explosion. A mix of just 5% gas in the air is enough to cause an explosion – such gas explosions have been known to destroy an entire premises, and cause damage to neighbouring properties” said the UK’s largest independent business energy supplier, opus energy . Rather than using these drastic methods,  it is better to  opt for  smart and conventional ones like energy efficient electrical items.
  3. Do not respect these basic electrical  principles : Never use extensions cords as permanently solutions or overcharge power strips. Correctly close junction boxes, do not allow loose cables or wiring .

B- Average electricity bills for a small business

Bills in small businesses depend on many factors like:

  • The annual or monthly consumption and The period of the year.
  • The supplier.
  • The type of contract.
  • The location. If your business is located in an area where suppliers used to charge more, then  deal with this. They are simply obliged to raise the bills if the costs involved in the production are also high.

Fortunately, electrical boards  are there to regulate the price and keep it a reasonable level.     Below are tips   to lower the bills on your own:

  • Take advantage of work at home as often as you can: It is now possible to  work at home without cubing your productivity. Small businesses can easily implement this . By doing so, they drop their energy consumption when there is no need to supervise the work at the office.
  • Get used to natural sunlight: Open the shades around your workplace instead of turning on lamps during daytime hours.
  • Install  energy efficient lamps and bulbs. These are one of the best options to  lower energy consumption and rate today. They use at least  75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
  • Purchase smart  gadgets: Whether It is a  light sensor  that automatically turns off the lamp during the day and turns it on during the night, There are many smart equipment available in the market today. you can  Install , for example, wind-up timers in place of on/off switches for bathroom fans . Indeed,  people forget to switch off a fan when leaving a room. A wind-up timer is used to solve this type of issue by turning  it off automatically after some time. It can be 30 or 60 minutes depending on the manufacturer and the needs.

Overcoming the small businesses challenges involves a good energy consumption planning. We have looked at some points to help make this planning easier. Electrical hazards are not something to play with. It’s important to take several precautions and look for the right services available. Bad electrical planning, put you and your employees in jeopardy. Only certified electricians and well known suppliers will provide safe and reliable services and solutions to your problems.

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