British Gas Business Survey: Political uncertainty and difficulties gaining boardroom approval major barriers to making energy investments

Gab Barbaro speaks at Energy Live Future

  • Nearly half of large energy users (48%) believe political and regulatory uncertainty will hinder energy technology investment
  • More than a third (35%) are struggling to convince leadership team to let them invest in new energy technology.
  • The majority (56%) state that battery storage will be the biggest energy trend in the next decade.
  • British Gas Business says innovation and technology could unlock a £4bn opportunity for large energy users.

WINDSOR, 13-Jun-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — Large British businesses and public sector organisations have expressed their concern that political uncertainty and difficulties gaining boardroom approval are presenting major barriers to making energy investments.

More than 200 of the UK’s largest energy users, experts and innovators at the Energy Live Future conference at Leicester’s National Space Centre on 7 June shared their views on the future of energy with Gab Barbaro, Managing Director of British Gas Business. Those present described growing pressure to reduce costs and convince senior management about the need to take control of their energy needs.

More than a third (38%) of delegates at the event, sponsored by British Gas Business, agreed that reducing energy costs remained the central energy issue for large organisations. This was closely followed by the challenge of convincing business leaders to allow investment in new technology (35%).

Nearly half (48%) of delegates suggested that political uncertainty, caused by the General Election, Brexit and changing regulation, could make it even more difficult for them to make significant energy changes.

Despite these challenges, British Gas Business urged UK businesses and the public sector to embrace the disruptive trends and technologies that are transforming the UK’s energy landscape, as they present a unique opportunity for large energy users.

Barbaro said: “My challenge to business leaders is to get smart and be more proactive about their energy use. Businesses must think long-term rather than be swayed by current political or economic uncertainty – there are countless opportunities for organisations to save money on their bills today, by getting to grips with how it’s being used and taking action where it’s being wasted.

“Working with Centrica’s Distributed Energy & Power business, we’re providing customers with the tools to give them real, actionable insights that could save up to 20% through energy efficiency improvements alone. That’s a £4bn, golden opportunity and just the start of how energy tech can create real value for businesses.”

When asked what would be the biggest energy trend of the coming decade, more than half of delegates (56%) believed that battery storage would be most important, followed by using demand-management technology through the Internet of Things (31%) and generating all of your own energy from on-side generation (12%).

British Gas Business showed delegates how to overcome their energy issues by adopting three principles:

  • Smarter buying of energy
  • More intelligent use of energy resources.
  • Greater control over energy use through initiatives such as on-site generation or demand management technology.

A variety of new and emerging energy technologies were on show at the event including the latest generation and storage products on offer to customers through Centrica’s Distributed Energy & Power business.

Several other influential businesses spoke alongside British Gas Business at the future-gazing event, including Microsoft, EY and Tesla. Delegates learned how to make use of block chain technology and the smart grid, and gave their verdict on current energy technologies during the ‘Energy Tech Tinder’ session.

Stephen Church, Partner at EY, said: “The industry is changing at a pace that has never been experienced before. This is the age of the empowered customer – and disruptive technology is at its very heart. Now the industry must rise to new challenges and embrace this change and disruption if it’s to make of the most of the ever arising new opportunities.”

Notes to editors

  • A full report detailing all the insights and trends highlighted at the event will shortly be available. Please get in touch if you are interested in receiving a copy.
  • Full survey results:
No. Question Answers Respondents number
1 What is the biggest energy challenge facing your organisation?
  1. Reducing the cost of energy to our organisation – 38%.
  2. Cutting our carbon footprint – 11%.
  3. Maintaining the resilience of our supply – 6%.
  4. Understanding and monitoring our consumption – 8%.
  5. Convincing our leadership team to let us invest in new energy technology – 35%.


2 What main issue is stopping you, or will stop you, from addressing these energy challenges?
  1. Lack of payback on technology or the payback is too long-term – 30%.
  2. Lack of funding available to implement measures – 26%.
  3. Lack of senior management interest or understanding – 7%
  4. Lack of information on new measures and energy contracts – 5%.
  5. An ageing estate which is difficult to upgrade and needs other work – 30%.
3 Which of these is likely to be the biggest energy trend for large energy end users over the next ten years?
  1. Energy storage (for example, batteries and electric vehicles) – 56%.
  2. Using demand-management technology through the Internet of Things to manage energy use more flexibly – 31%.
  3. Generating 100% of energy demand from owned on-site generation – 12%.
4 How much money do you intend to invest in new energy technology over the next two years?
  1. £0 – £500,000 – 47%.
  2. £500,000 – £1m – 19%.
  3. £1m – £2m – 6%.
  4. £2 – £5m – 11%.
  5. £5m+ – 16%.
5 Which of these could represent the biggest ‘spanner in the works’ for realising a new energy future for organisations across the UK?
  1. Political uncertainty – Brexit, a new UK government, increasing regulation and red-tape – 48%.
  2. Economic instability – 9%.
  3. Rising energy costs – 5%.
  4. The lack of significant new technology coming down the pipeline – 5%.
  5. Rising pressure from other aspects of the business diverting attention from energy (for example, wage costs, trading costs, skills-gaps) – 30%.
  • Results are represented by a pure percentage figure. Some percentage figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

For more information contact:

Katie Rose
Senior PR Manager
British Gas
01784 84 3000
07789 575915

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy and services company, serving more than 10 million homes and over 400,000 businesses across the country. More than 8,000 highly-trained engineers guarantee the highest quality of service for our residential and business customers. We also provide a range of innovative offers and services including connected home Hive™ products, smart meters, and the online tradesman service, Local Heroes.


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