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Managing energy costs for businesses

As energy prices continue to rise worldwide, many Victorian businesses are feeling an impact.

If you're looking for ways to reduce energy costs for your business, help is available.

We've compiled our best energy-saving tips and resources to help you take control of your energy usage below. From optimising your heating and cooling to accessing energy-efficient upgrades, find out ways to save energy, without breaking the bank.

Current awareness

All businesses are unique and use energy in different ways. Having energy consumption data on hand when you shop for a better energy deal will ensure you find a deal that suits your specific needs.

Many energy retailers and distributors by allow you to download data from an electricity smart meter via a computer, smartphone or tablet. Find out more about how to access to your business’s energy data hereExternal Link .

Lighten your bill

Once you understand your bill, you can compare energy rates. Victorian Energy Compare can help you find the best energy deal. You will need to be on an energy retail offer and have been at your premises for more than 12 months.

Each energy retailer will offer a range of contracts, each with set terms. If your business spends less than $20,000 per annum, you can use arrangements similar to households to get a new energy contract. Visit compare.energy.vic.gov.auExternal Link to find out more.

Smart timing, smart savings

Here are some practical steps you can implement right away to start seeing significant reductions in your energy costs over time:

  1. Make it a habit to shut down electrical appliances, lights, and other equipment overnight. This can be as simple as setting a rule such as, the last person to leave turns off the lights and other electrical equipment that does not need to be powered throughout the night.
  2. Set computers and other equipment to automatically turn off at the end of the day and remind after-hours cleaners to turn off the lights when they leave. Appliances such as printers and photocopiers can often be set to energy-saving modes.
  3. Set your heating and cooling system to 23-26 degrees in summer and 20 degrees in winter for maximum cost-saving benefits. Window treatments and outdoor awnings can also help reduce energy costs, as they can remind your employees to close the door more often.
  4. Install simple timers on equipment such as boiling water taps to ensure they're off overnight and ready to use when you arrive at work. You can even automate these processes with a building management system or equipment timers.

Sun-powered solutions

One of the most effective ways to reduce energy bills is by switching to solar. Installing solar panels on your business's rooftop will allow you to generate your own electricity and is the best way to cut your energy bills long term.

For Chris, like many business owners, energy was a significant overhead for his small business. To reduce his energy costs, Chris decided to install rooftop solar.

"It’s well ahead of my calculations. In the winter months prior to putting on the solar I was paying between $500 and $600 a month and once the solar was switched on that not only fell right away but, I’m selling more than I’ve purchased. It’s amazing because there's people here from 5:30am until after 6pm," he says.

Access energy-efficient upgrades

The Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program provides businesses with upfront incentives to reduce your energy use and bills, with discounts on equipment such as efficient water heaters, space heaters and commercial and industrial gas boilers.

Under VEU, businesses can also receive discounts for bespoke ‘project based’ energy efficiency, electrification and fuel switching activities. Those businesses that participate in VEU save, on average, $3,700 on their annual energy bills. In 2021-22, more than 40,000 businesses received upgrades through the program.

Getting the most out of solar

If you’ve made the switch to solar, it’s important to be aware that timing is everything when it comes to maximising the benefits of solar energy for your business. When you use electricity throughout the day while your solar system is generating energy, you're making the most out of your solar system’s power. This is called self-consumption.

Research conducted by Solar Victoria shows that businesses save significantly more through self-consumption than households do, due to the majority of their energy use occurring during daylight hours.

If you have surplus solar electricity because you're using less than your solar system is generating, this is sold back to the grid and called exported energy.

Whenever your solar system isn't generating and you use electricity, you're taking it from the grid just like you did before you had a solar PV system – that's imported energy.

Your business will benefit the most when you maximise self-consumption and minimise imports. This can help you save money on energy bills by reducing your reliance on the grid. The more you can shift your consumption to aligning your energy usage with the sun during daytime with solar, the better.

The Solar for Business program ended on 30 June. Rebates and interest-free loans are no longer available under this program.

Reviewed 30 June 2023

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