Inaccurate billing by energy suppliers is costing UK firms half a billion pounds a year, according to third party intermediary Inenco.
The consultancy says that one in five business energy bills are wrong, and that UK firms could claim that money back in refunds – if they know what they are looking for. However, Inenco says only one in five businesses conduct regular invoice validation and bill audits.
The firm says it reviewed more than 1 million bills in 2016, and analysed 10,000 to identify errors and help determine the scale of the issue for its Mission millions report.
High value errors uncovered by included:
A major supermarket being overcharged £700,000 in duplicate charges; a food manufacturer paying over £300,000 in inaccurate network charges, and a £775,000 refund for a property management agent from paying incorrect rates for a year.
Applying its findings across the £25bn businesses spend annually on energy, Inenco estimates the retail and leisure industry could reclaim £200m, manufacturers £65m, the property sector £78.5m and the public sector £112m.
The firm suggested those figures could be an underestimate, given “energy costs are rising by 25%”, according to chief commercial officer David Cockshott.
He said while the energy supply chain must work harder to cut out errors, business could also help themselves. Billing errors were easily resolved and could result in “significant savings”, said Cockshott, adding that “it would pay for all businesses to undertake some form of invoice validation to check for incorrect charges and ensure they only pay for the energy they use.”