Industry-wide survey reveals concern and confusion over energy costs

A survey of energy intensive businesses - exploring attitudes and responses to current energy costs - reveals deep concerns about the future, and an awareness gap over available assistance

While energy costs have become a critical issue across many areas of industry only 28 per cent of energy intensive businesses are tapping into available assistance and help, according to a recent survey of industry leaders.

Carried out during November 2022 by MA Business (publisher of  industry titles including The Engineer, Printweek, Eureka, Manufacturing Management and Machinery) the survey asked respondents across a range of sectors about their attitudes to rising energy costs, the actions they are taking to address the impact of these price rises, and whether they are aware of – or already accessing – available independent support or advice.

Conducted during November 2022, the survey was completed by 243 senior-level respondents working in sectors ranging from automotive through to telecoms & utilities. 35 per cent of respondents are at director level of above, whilst the most heavily represented sector is manufacturing, which accounts for 44 per cent of the total response.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 95 per cent of respondents are worried about rising energy costs, with 62 per cent of the overall sample reporting significant or high levels of concern. Meanwhile, 89 per cent of those responding say that the energy crisis is directly impacting their business.

Yet despite these deep levels of anxiety, the number of businesses taking action appears to be relatively low by comparison.  66 per cent of respondents have no formal strategy in place and amongst those that do, the majority (51 per cent) are only looking at short-term measures.

In terms of the measures that have been taken so far, more than half have either fixed their energy costs or switched suppliers whilst 46 per cent of respondents say they have passed on the increases to their customers.

And whilst respondents identify a range of measures they would like to take to reduce consumption (with investment in energy saving heating systems and on-site generation being the most attractive technology areas) the high cost of technology and a lack of technical understanding are cited as major barriers to investment.

What’s more, organisations appear to be largely unaware of the range of help and support packages aimed at helping businesses to overcome these barriers. Just 22 per cent are accessing independent help and advice, whilst 28 per cent are not even aware that advice exists. Just 12 per cent are accessing funding/ financial support.

Commenting on the findings, Jon Benson, managing director of MA Business said: “This survey confirms what the markets we serve have been telling us in recent months: high energy costs have become a critical issue, but it’s hard to know where to turn for help and assistance. We are now actively exploring how we can help the industries we serve tap into the assistance on offer.”


Key findings

89 per cent say the energy crisis is directly impacting business

45 per cent say cost is the biggest impediment to investment in energy saving technologies

20 per cent say lack of technical expertise is the biggest obstacle

28 percent are unaware of advice and assistance on energy costs

12 percent are accessing some form of funding / financial support