One in three businesses has been hit by power cuts in the past year, highlighting how the UK’s electricity supply has become “unreliable”, a new study suggests.
A quarter of more than 1,000 businesses surveyed said they expect dependence on electricity to increase in the years ahead.
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said its research showed that better support was needed to help firms make the transition to clean energy and improved energy efficiency.
In contrast to the power cuts, fewer than one in 10 of those questioned said they had suffered water shortages and only 2% experienced gas outages.
BCC director-general Dr Adam Marshall said: “Our message to policy-makers couldn’t be clearer – work with us in business to fix Britain’s energy infrastructure and ensure it’s fit for the future.
“Access to affordable and reliable energy is critical for businesses. It’s unacceptable that many companies are facing power cuts and interruption to supply, which can damage machinery and leave employees unable to do their jobs.
“Reliance on electricity is set to increase across the economy as we move away from fossil fuel use.
“Electricity providers, industry, regulators and government must work together to accelerate improvements in generation and supply, with a firm eye on our shared goal of net-zero carbon emissions.”
Will Gardiner, chief executive of the Drax Group, which helped with the research, added: “Electricity demand is expected to rise as the economy digitises and sectors such as heating and transportation decarbonise.
“With weather-dependent wind and solar set to generate more power than ever, we’re going to need more fast-acting and flexible electricity generation to maintain a reliable grid.
“Businesses across Britain can play their part too by installing on-site batteries, switching their fleets to electric vehicles, conducting energy audits, buying 100% renewable power and taking up smart meters, enabling a zero-carbon, lower-cost energy future.”