In Depth: Electricity in a zombie apocalpyse
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Public support for nuclear, still an important supplier of business electricity, and shale, potentially a source of business gas, has fallen.
The UK Government’s Public Attitudes Tracking survey (‘Wave 14’ of which was published on 4 August) shows support for renewable energy up and support for nuclear sources and extraction of gas by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) down. While focused on public attitudes, the survey – begun in March 2012 and repeated four times a year – offers useful insight into the likely perceptions of small to medium sized business owners.
In fact, support for renewable energy has been consistently high throughout the tracking surveys, fluctuating between 75% and 82%. This pattern has continued with 75% expressing support for the use of renewables, although the proportion expressing strong support (24%) is lower. Opposition to renewables was very low at 4%, with only 1% strongly opposed.
Support for renewables is particularly high for those with incomes over £50,000 (88%). Opposition is slightly higher amongst over 65s (10%) and those with an income lower than £16,000 (6%).
Three quarters of the public were aware of fracking (75%), a level that has remained stable over the last 18 months, following a significant increase. However, only 14% claimed to know a lot about it, compared to 42% saying they knew a little. Just under one in five (19%) were aware of it but didn’t really know what it was. Awareness of fracking was higher for over 45s (upwards of 85%) and people in rural areas (83%). Those feeling their knowledge may be lacking are advised to read our accessible introduction, followed by the most recent update.
Those in support for the extraction of shale gas (21%) or in opposition (28%) were outnumber by the almost half of respondents who neither supported nor opposed it (46%). Nevertheless, there has been a gradual shift towards more opposition over the last 18 months, with support at its lowest since the survey began.
Nuclear energy also saw support drop to its lowest level at one third (33%), with around a quarter (24%) opposed. Again, a significant proportion (40%) selected the neutral option.
Surprisingly, given recent research that proves SME businesses are still losing out on low cost business electricity rates and are overpaying on business gas prices, worries over paying for energy bills have fallen to the lowest level recorded since the survey began. In June 2015, only 25% were either very, or fairly worried about paying for their energy bills.
However, this may be where the domestic and commercial energy comparison is at its most different. While the consumer market is more regulated, business energy suppliers can still put companies on rollover contracts or deemed rates when their current business electricity tariff or business gas deal ends.
Even those business owners that are comfortable with their current commercial energy supplier may find they can make substantial savings. The process need not be as time-consuming as it once was – SwitchMyBusiness.com can offer a no-obligation comprehensive comparison of business electricity and gas suppliers in just 20 minutes. Fill in our simple form (also at the top right of this page) or give us a call on 0330 0100 251 now to start saving.
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