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Energy audit helps save thousands.

Byline: By Howard Walker

An energy auditing service has helped North-East businesses save pounds 175,000 on their utility bills.

The service, which was launched in January 2003, is a partnership between the North-East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) and independent utility management company Utility Auditing.

So far it has helped more than 40 of the region's businesses save money by negotiating discounted deals with leading suppliers.

Businesses receive expert advice that can reduce bills by as much as 20pc by matching companies with the best suppliers and tariffs for their business. It can also help them negotiate cut-price deals with leading energy contractors.

FH Thompson and Sons Ltd, a distributor and processor of timber products and decorative laminate fabricators, is already benefiting from the utility auditing service after signing up to the scheme earlier this year. With a storage depot in Gateshead in addition to a manufacturing outlet in Hebburn and a saw mill in Blaydon, each employing a workforce of 25, energy costs form a high proportion of the company's bottom line operating costs. However, since signing up to utility auditing it has been able to slice up to 18.8pc from its energy bills - a saving of more than pounds 11,000 over the next two years.

John Bowman, commercial director for FH Thompson, said: "I've always been very cynical about the value of utility auditing schemes, as the ones that we've explored in the past have offered few tangible benefits.

"The chamber's service has completely changed my view.

"Right from the start we've received excellent advice and been able to make a significant saving with minimal effort on our behalf."

Businesses are also offered free service designed to help them improve energy efficiency in the workplace. NECC membership director Jeannette Roddy said: "Energy and fuel bills can be a burden to many organisations, but this is an intelligent way to drive down costs and improve profitability. Our analysis is free, so we would urge all local businesses to try the service out."

Further details are available by contacting Malcolm Ward at the North East Chamber of Commerce on Tel: (0191) 386-1133.
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Title Annotation:Business Local
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 9, 2003
Words:354
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