Small and medium-sized businesses are highly exposed to today’s high energy prices, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the European Commission which are working together to raise awareness of what governments, businesses and related stakeholders can do to empower and protect these backbones of the European economy.
“Today’s global energy crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has dramatically driven up the cost of energy, which is hurting consumers and businesses and putting entire economies at risk,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “Small businesses are among the most exposed and given their key role throughout the economy, they need to be supported in this crisis. That’s why we have teamed up with the European Commission to highlight the practical actions that can be taken, focused around improvements in energy efficiency, to help small businesses become more resilient in the face of this unprecedented crisis.”
“Small and medium-sized companies represent 99 per cent of all businesses in the EU,” added European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson. “They employ over 80 million people, account for more than half of Europe’s GDP and play a key role in every sector of the economy. If they are not thriving, neither is the European economy – nor European people.”
“Since October last year, the Commission has brought forward a number of initiatives to support those who struggle to pay their energy bills,” she continued. “One of the most effective ways to support SMEs in mitigating energy costs and supply risks is by helping them to reduce energy consumption, both in the short and longer term. If we all join forces – national, regional and local governments, financial institutions, employee and employer organisations, and energy agencies, we can support SMEs in these difficult times.”
One of the most effective ways to support SMEs in mitigating energy costs and supply risks (covering gas, electricity and oil) is by helping them to reduce energy consumption, both in the short and longer term. These range from understanding their business’ energy use, through energy audits and energy monitoring and control tools, to involving employees and the workforce, who have a unique understanding of how the business works and where it can be more energy efficient.
Other cost-saving measures include prioritising highly efficient technologies when purchasing new or replacement equipment and bringing forward any plans to invest in new energy efficiency measures. SMEs could also make some immediate energy cost savings by implementing good housekeeping and maintenance measures.