Small business owners across the UK have reported sleepless nights and fears that they will not be able to survive the winter due to rising energy costs.
According to data from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), firms have seen a 424% increase in gas costs and a 349% increase in electricity costs since February 2021.
Thousands of traders are attempting to renegotiate electricity and gas contracts that are set to expire in October, as two-year fixed-price supply contracts come to an end.
Companies’ energy bills are not capped, unlike domestic consumers, who will learn the next Ofgem price cap rate on Friday, leaving them at the mercy of volatile wholesale gas markets.
Small businesses in the United Kingdom have expressed concern about the threat to their future. They are as follows:
· A hotel in Aberdeen claims that closing for the winter will be less expensive than heating rooms for guests.
· Annual energy bills at a fish and chip shop in Oswestry, Shropshire, are rising from £9,000 to £35,000.
· A chicken takeaway franchisee in Peterborough fears that raising prices will drive away customers.
· An indoor mushroom farm in Bangor, Gwynedd, where strong sales have been hampered by a “ridiculous” increase in energy costs.
Companies typically fix energy costs for one to five years to protect themselves from volatile market conditions. As a result, many businesses were able to keep their costs stable during the energy crisis, which began in late 2021.
UK gas prices have reached all-time highs of more than 700p per therm, up from just over 100p a year ago.