It is often said that the only constant is change. From the top of government right through to the movements in the energy markets, businesses have had to contend with a lot of change over the past few years.

And, this is set to continue.

Take major industry developments such as the Market-wide Half-Hourly Settlement (MHHS) reform. This will dramatically shape how electricity is generated, used and stored, and affect every single business in the UK. And while the energy crisis of the last few years has resulted in greater awareness and more proactive use of energy consumption data, the question remains: are businesses ready for this ‘decade of data’?

That’s what this year’s Business Energy Tracker report looks to answer.

We’ve partnered with respected publications Energy Live News and The Energyst, alongside trade organisations the Major Energy Users’ Council and the Energy Intensive Users Group, to conduct a detailed consultation with large business energy users.

We wanted to find out:

  • What are their views on energy risk?
  • What support do they need from the government?
  • Do they believe they're becoming more savvy with energy data?
  • Are they ready for the MHHS reform?
  • How are they preparing for the upcoming decade of data?

So, what did this year’s report uncover?

Crunching the numbers

Encouragingly, the energy crisis has brought with it greater awareness around the importance of energy data. Businesses are actively monitoring their energy use, and using these insights to facilitate company change.

However, our report reveals a mixed picture when it comes to the MHHS reform.

Providing powerful levels of insight, the MHHS reform will give business consumers more detail about their energy, access to new products, greater innovation and increased flexibility services from suppliers. Crucially, as we transition towards net zero, it will also offer the opportunity for a smarter, more flexible energy system.

Importantly, it will bring with it a much more granular level of data, which, while being a positive thing in terms of the additional innovation it will unlock, could be overwhelming for those businesses who do not have a good understanding of how and where they are using energy.

We believe that your energy data is a critical part of doing business. It not only helps you to monitor usage and identify any anomalies, it can provide you with the evidence to make strategic investments that will result in long-term energy, emissions and cost savings.

That is why the lack of awareness around MHHS is concerning, and there’s also conflicting views about the value it will bring. Beginning in April 2025 and running through 2026, the arrival of this major market reform is fast approaching. Clearly, there’s work to be done.

Concerns around cost

There’s no question the volatility seen in the wholesale energy markets over the last few years has caused concern. That said, while energy remains a top business risk, the report reveals that many are feeling more positive when it comes to cost, which is good news for UK businesses.

The same optimistic outlook cannot be said for the cost of delivering net zero, however. A staggering 95% of respondents said it was still a concern.

So, when it comes to the government support required, our 2024 Business Energy Tracker found three critical measures are needed:

  1. Support to manage energy demand: This encompasses grants or tax breaks for installing energy efficiency measures and on-site generation, and investing in energy management platforms, so they can better manage their demand, reduce emissions and reinvest in their operations.
  2. Simplifying non-commodity costs: Over the past few years, the level of non-commodity charges applied to business invoices has risen considerably. While these costs are currently being reviewed by Ofgem, businesses also want it to be a key priority for government. Businesses have also told us that they’d like to see a reduction in both the numbers of non-commodity charges, and any reporting that is required to go alongside them.
  3. Reducing red tape for renewables and other energy schemes: The deployment of renewable energy is often hampered by red tape, planning rules and delays to grid connections. We’ve also seen energy schemes from multiple government departments, including the Treasury, Environment Agency, the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero and Department for Business & Trade, as well as industry bodies such as Ofgem. What can be done to make requirements for businesses more efficient?

Join our ‘Red Tape Challenge’

Taking all the findings of this year’s Business Energy Tracker into account, I’m proud to announce npower Business Solutions is launching a ‘Red Tape Challenge’ to the next UK government - and this is your chance to get involved.

This will be a new movement that brings together the collective voices of businesses, partners and stakeholders, letting the government know what needs to be done to accomplish their goals. Ultimately, what energy and net zero policies do - and do not - work?

We’re hoping this campaign gives you the opportunity to shape policy, gain confidence when making vital net zero investments, and keep the UK on track to meet its sustainability and energy security targets. You can have your say here.

Together, we can get ready for the ‘decade of data’ and accelerate towards our net zero ambitions.

Download your free copy of the report here.

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