Hoteliers and restaurateurs must join together to combat rocketing energy bills, according to the British Hospitality Association (BHA).
Prices for all forms of power have spiralled by more than 50% in the past four months alone, and BHA chief executive Bob Cotton said it was becoming a major problem across all industries. "This issue will not go away - it will get worse," he said.
He said companies could cut their bills by up to 30% by forming co-operatives to increase their purchasing power and to share energy-saving tips.
One consortium, the West One Group, is an alliance of 25 five-star hotels in London's West End whose general managers meet each month. Mike Gray from the Hyatt Regency London - the Churchill said many members used cost-management firms like the Energy Brokers to get the best deals. His hotel had benefited from a series of rebates since switching to flexible pricing contracts with the brokers.
The Energy Brokers handles £16b-worth of contracts each year, including deals with 15 hotel chains and big pub groups such as Spirit and Regent Inns.
Operations director Scott Armstrong said large groupings could expect to trim up to 5% off their energy bills. He added that hotels had achieved savings of 10-20% simply by sharing information on energy-saving measures, although restaurants were less inclined to follow this route.
How to cut your energy bills
- Compare quotes from different energy suppliers.
- Make sure you're on the right tariff for the right time of day.
- Take out five-year contracts to smooth out the increases.
- Introduce energy-saving initiatives (see Hospitable Climates at www.hospitableclimates.co.uk)..)
- Form a consortium to increase purchasing power and share best practice.
- Install alternative energy sources, eg, solar panels or wind-powered generators.
By Angela Frewin
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