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10 Expert Tactics and Tips To Slash Business Energy Bill

Introduction

As business electricity prices continue rising across Australia, companies are urgently looking for ways to reduce their utility expenditures and improve bottom lines. While major infrastructure upgrades require capital, many creative power bill savings tactics can provide rapid returns on little or no investment. This guide shares actionable tips from electricity cost cutting experts to start reducing your organisation’s energy expenses.

10 Tactics to Reduce Business Electricity Costs

Follow these best practices to minimise your power bills:

Here are the tactics expanded in further detail:

1. Switch to Better Rates or Plans

  • Review your current contract expiration date and start rate negotiations 6 months prior to renewal. This gives time to shop competitors.
  • Thoroughly comparison shop electricity rates from multiple retailers. Provide usage data for accurate custom quotes.
  • Evaluate different rate structures – fixed vs variable pricing, time-of-use rates based on daily peak vs off-peak consumption, tariffs with demand charges vs just usage charges. Model options against your usage patterns to quantify costs.
  • Be ready to switch retailers if another provider offers a substantially better long-term rate contract. Calculate termination fees if under existing contract.

2. Install Solar PV

  • Adding rooftop or ground mount solar panels allows self-generation of 20-60% of electricity needs, reducing costly grid energy purchases.
  • Solar works best coupled with batteries to store excess solar generation during the day for peak evening usage. This maximises self-consumption and savings.
  • Take advantage of federal and state renewable energy incentives like the Commercial Solar Rebate to improve ROI.
  • Take a phased approach – start with a smaller system to prove savings potential, then expand over time.

3. Use Energy Brokers

  • Leverage the bulk buying power and market expertise of independent energy brokers.
  • Brokers run competitive tenders getting leading retailers to bid for your business. This negotiation leverage achieves better pricing/contract terms.
  • Brokers use their analytics insights on wholesale markets, weather, demand cycles to optimise procurement timing and rate structures.
  • Established brokers have strong retailer relationships, earning you the best incentives like sign-up bonuses.
  • Good brokers provide ongoing account management and monitoring to ensure rates remain optimised.

4. Curb Peak Demand

  • Install smart meters or advanced metering infrastructure to collect interval usage data needed to analyse peaks.
  • Identify top contributors to peak demand – HVAC, compressed air, motors – and focus reduction efforts there first.
  • Reschedule high demand production processes and equipment usage to smooth loads over a 24 hour period.
  • Pre-cool spaces in mornings before occupancy peaks to minimise afternoon HVAC spikes.
  • Add load shifting batteries charged by solar during the day to supply evening peaks instead of the grid.
  • Enroll in utility and third-party demand response programs for incentives to voluntarily curtail peaks.

5. Upgrade Lighting

  • Conduct a lighting audit to prioritise upgrades – target spotlights, halogens and 24/7 lights first.
  • Switch all lighting to LEDs and install smart controls like occupancy/vacancy sensors, timers, and daylight harvesting.
  • Reduce overlighting. Use lighting level guidelines for different building areas and tasks.
  • Group control lighting zones to shut off unused sections. Install master switches.
  • Qualify for utility or government commercial lighting upgrade rebates to improve ROI.

6. Improve Energy Efficiency

  • Conduct an energy audit to identify savings opportunities tailored to your facilities. Benchmark current usage.
  • Key upgrades: HVAC optimisation, building automation, window films, insulation, integrating renewables.
  • Adopt maintenance best practices like regular sensor calibration, leak checks, coil cleaning, filter changes.
  • Establish energy policies around temperature setbacks, computer sleep settings, equipment maintenance.
  • Engage staff in behavioral efforts like switching off idle equipment and reporting wastage.

7. Enroll in Demand Response

  • Enroll in both your electricity retailer’s and third-party aggregators’ demand response programs concurrently.
  • Automate curtailment using smart building energy management systems to easily reduce loads during demand response events.
  • Temporarily adjust HVAC, lighting, production schedules – whatever your curtailment plan permits – when events called.
  • Rigorously quantify demand reductions using metering to maximise incentive payments based on performance.

8. Add Renewable Energy

  • On-site solar provides direct savings, but has higher upfront costs. Start small then expand.
  • Solar PPAs allow buying cheaper solar power from dedicated offsite systems with zero/low upfront investment.
  • Purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) through GreenPower programs to offset non-renewable energy use.
  • Explore commercial wind power if locations with ample wind resources. Get multiple installation and PPA quotes.

9. Leverage Government Incentives

  • Tax breaks like accelerated depreciation and rebates on audits, lighting, HVAC upgrades, solar, etc. improve project ROIs.
  • Federal programs like the Commercial Solar Rebate provide upfront cost offsets. State programs offer additional support.
  • Apply for any applicable energy efficiency or sustainability grants advertised by government agencies.
  • Confirm eligibility requirements and process to submit and track incentive applications.

10. Engage Staff

  • Educate staff on energy management best practices and promote energy-conserving behaviors.
  • Share building consumption data, showcase energy projects, and celebrate savings results.
  • Encourage energy savings ideas and provide rewards/recognition for staff helping hit targets.
  • Tie employee bonuses and performance metrics to sustainability KPIs.
  • Appoint and train site energy champions to drive initiatives.

Expert Guidance on Cutting Business Electricity Expenses

Follow these best practice tips from energy specialists to maximise electricity savings:

Compare Rates and Plans – Model different rates, tariff structures and retailer plans based on your usage data using cost comparison tools [2].

Improve Power Factor – Correcting power factor can lower usage charges 3-5% for many sites as less supply is needed [3].

Phase Outages – Sequence high demand equipment startup following outages to prevent rebound spikes.

Right-size Equipment – Oversized HVAC and other systems operate inefficiently. Replace with ideally sized models.

Monitor Usage Data – Leverage smart meters and energy management systems to inform efficiency tactics.

Maintain Assets – Keep equipment like HVAC units well-tuned and serviced for optimal efficiency.

Conclusion

With some creativity and commitment to reducing waste, Australian businesses can make major reductions in energy costs through pragmatic initiatives – both technical and behavioral. Maintain momentum by continuously identifying new savings opportunities. Your bottom line will thank you.

FAQs

What are typical business energy savings from low and no cost initiatives?

Basic strategies like adjusting HVAC setpoints, maintenance, powering down idle devices, and staff engagement provide 10-25%+ savings with fast payback.

What expertise helps identify electricity savings opportunities?

While staff can manage basic initiatives internally, energy consultants provide detailed technical facility assessments and savings recommendations based on their specialized expertise.

What subsidies help offset the cost of energy efficiency upgrades?

Government assistance includes discounted energy assessments, commercial lighting upgrades, HVAC rebates, and tax deductions on qualifying efficiency investments.

How can I get staff engaged to help cut electricity usage?

Foster a culture of conservation via newsletters, feedback on impact, competitions, and incentives for meeting savings targets. Lead by example.

Where can I access free online tools to compare business electricity rates?

Government-run comparison sites like Vic Energy Compare allow modeling costs across plans tailored to your business usage profile.

References

  1. Clean Energy Council Solar PV https://bit.ly/3I93Kdu
  2. Vic Energy Compare https://bit.ly/3IpXHiS
  3. DII Power Factor Guide https://bit.ly/3YgJK7M
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