These are the findings of new research by business community Ingenious Britain, in conjunction with MoneySupermarket partner, Make It Cheaper, which show that UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are at an 'energy tipping point'.
Lack of trust
Of the 500 SME decision-makers that took part in the research, only 36% said they trusted their energy provider. Compare this to the 50% that trust their bank, 51% that trust their insurance provider and 77% that trust their accountant and it's clear to see just how angry and frustrated business-owners are feeling.
The lack of trust comes on the back of recent accusations of price-fixing in the wholesale energy market as well as the fact that energy companies continue to announce record profits. In the event that price-fixing is proven, 84% of businesses say compensation should be provided.
Mark Moore, founder of Ingenious Britain, said: "Energy providers are losing the trust of their business customers, particularly SMEs.
"This research shows widespread malaise and discontent among business owners and managers across the UK. 2012 was a bad year in terms of reputation for energy companies, with Libor-style pricing allegations in the news and the announcement of record-high profits, so it's no wonder the business community is frustrated."
Switch your energy tariff
According to the research, eight out of 10 (79%) SME decision-makers have seen a price rise in their energy bill over the past year and 80% are expecting further increases over the next 12 months.
But while you can't stop energy prices rising, if you're fed up with the amount your business is paying for energy, you don't have to put up with it. Instead, you could switch energy tariffs and save your business around 30% on bills.
Although the research shows 44% of SMEs believe switching supplier is a difficult and complicated process, it doesn't have to be.
MoneySupermarket has teamed up with Make It Cheaper to make the task of switching energy tariffs much easier for you and your business. Through our online service, you can compare a wide range of business energy and gas tariffs at a click of a mouse.
Many business energy bills are fixed for a year or more, but if your contract is coming to an end, don't let it automatically rollover as the price you'll end up paying is likely to be far higher. Instead, take the time to find a cheaper tariff to switch to.
You may need to monitor the situation as 80% of businesses say their energy supplier did not notify them when their contract was coming to an end.
You can find out more about how MoneySupermarket can save your business money in our recent article.
As well as switching tariffs, you can also save on energy costs by switching off lights, air conditioning and heating when not in use.
Separate research by E.ON shows three-quarters (76%) of employees at SMEs work overtime and as a result, businesses remain fully lit, heated and air conditioned after hours. In some cases, this is only for one employee, making it a very costly exercise.
The research shows only a small number of workplaces operate timer systems for lights, air conditioning and heating – and yet having this type of system in place could save businesses huge sums of money. Even switching off lights in corridors and empty rooms could save businesses around 15% on their energy bills, according to E.ON.
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.