Guide sections

to revenue

Many UK businesses, across a wide range of different sectors, have recovered hundreds of pounds, as well as several tonnes of CO2e, through our revenue recovery process. Here’s how it works and how it could help your business.

What is
revenue recovery?

Most UK businesses have been affected by inaccurate billing for utilities at some point.

Revenue recovery involves undertaking a thorough audit of all your utility spending in the past six years (the maximum statutory time frame recovery investigations can go back to) and identifying where you have been overcharged, then taking steps to recover the money from your suppliers.

It usually also involves taking steps to avoid the same problems arising in future. This audit will allow you to effectively report your emissions, by checking your energy usage is correctly recorded and up-to-date, which in many cases, is not.

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What's covered?

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Your electricity costs are calculated using 30 different sources of data, which means it’s easy for suppliers to make mistakes but not so easy for your finance team to spot them.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for even relatively simple problems such as inaccurately estimated meter readings to go unnoticed. Our revenue recovery specialists will take a deep dive into all the data related to your billing and metering.

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Although regulator Ofgem is working hard to simplify billing and provide more information to consumers, gas supply is an area where mistakes and overcharging frequently happen.

The complexity of the gas supply market means that a business could be placed on the wrong tariff or even charged for the wrong meter without anyone noticing.

The revenue recovery process involves doing a thorough data analysis of your bills and investigating any inconsistencies.

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There are dozens of ways in which a business could be overcharged for water, from having the wrong meter to being charged for a leak that is actually the supplier’s responsibility.

A revenue recovery specialist will audit all of the hidden elements that make up your final water bill.

You’ll also be able to tackle on-site leakages, to reduce costs, as well reduce water waste.

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Telecoms is perhaps the most difficult utility to get a handle on, because of its evolving nature. Can any business honestly say that it has an accurate and up-to-date picture of its telecoms spend? Or that it’s definitely spending its budget on the right solutions?

Our telecoms revenue recovery team investigate whether your business has paid too much in the past and help you move towards the right solution for your probable future needs. That’s not as easy as it sounds; switching to a newer solution at the wrong point in your contract could mean incurring unnecessary cessation penalties.

£45 million

in 10 years

We recovered £45,000,000 in lost energy and water revenue for clients in just 10 years.

Is it worth it?

For a UK business to experience no problems at all with inaccurate billing is the exception, not the rule.

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Economic benefit

It’s highly likely that your business could reclaim at least some of its spending through revenue recovery. The law in England and Wales allows you up to six years to recover money that’s been wrongly paid out to a utility supplier, so our revenue recovery specialist will be looking back over the past six years of billing and contract information.

This unknown pot of recovered monies can then be used to build energy efficiency projects, or invest in carbon reduction programs to reduce your organisation’s carbon footprint.

The larger and more complex your business is, the more glitches and inaccuracies our revenue recovery team are likely to find and the bigger the sums involved are likely to be.

Sustainable Energy First’s revenue recovery team has recovered over £45 million in lost revenue for our customers in just ten years (over £1.7 million in electricity costs for one customer alone).

Environmental benefit

Let’s take water as an example.

When your billing is fully audited, you’ll have a firm grasp of how much your business actually consumes. Imagine trying to reduce the amount of water you use on site, not realising you were only using two-thirds of that to start with, as a third was actually a leak – which may be the supplier’s responsibility.

Therefore you’ll not just have a more accurate utility reduction program, based on enriched and insightful data, but you’ll also have helped the local environment by identifying water waste.

Breadth of commercial experience in site portfolios allows for teams like ours to spot when a site is using more than the industry average, and investigate leakages.

And if we look at electricity – do you really know if you’re reporting on the correct energy usage for your Scope 2 emissions?

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Organisations in almost every sector can (and do!) benefit from revenue recovery.
  • Financial services
  • NHS and health care
  • Manufacturing
  • Hospitality
  • Real estate
  • Leisure
  • Education
  • Public sector
  • Utilities
  • Supermarkets and stores
  • Construction
  • Retail
  • Technology
  • Government
  • Farming and agriculture
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Light brown icon of leaves for net zero
Green icon with a spanner for site works
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Beyond revenue recovery

Aside from any money recouped, there is another significant business advantage to the process: information. The revenue recovery team will have mapped out your company’s utility spending, giving you a detailed idea of what’s being paid for right now. They can advise you on the right energy and carbon trading options for your current situation as well as provide insights into sustainability opportunities available based on your site portfolio.

After the audit, we would advise having a bureau validation service to keep the billing in tip-top health, but it’s the choice of the individual business of course.

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