It’s amazing to think how a quick tea break led to thousands in energy savings for this small business.
Belinda Norman, owner of Blackheath General Store & Café, is smart with her time – even when taking a break. While having a cuppa, Belinda prioritised reading the Blue Mountains Council newsletter. Here, she learnt about the Australian Government’s Business Energy Advice Program (BEAP) and was particularly interested to find outdiscover her local council's involvement with the Western Sydney Energy Program.
What’s on her plate
Operating a small business doesn’t mean Belinda’s costs are small by any means. Fridges, lighting, air-conditioning, kitchen appliances, office equipment – you name it, she uses it. There had to be a way to be more energy-efficient and save on her astronomical bills. For Belinda, the temptation to experience a BEAP consultation first-hand was too strong to resist. And being a free service was the icing on the cake.
Reflecting on when she began her business, Belinda had no benchmark and no concept of value for money in terms of energy. “When you sign up to an energy deal for the first time you are really going in blindfolded. Utilities can be a business killer especially when margins are constantly being squeezed. If anyone had told me I'd be spending over $10,000 a year on energy before I started the business, I wouldn't have believed them,” she said.
“BEAP was incredible. It's great to have a trustworthy and independent service to turn to and have clarity on what we could do”
One of the recommendations was to have a bill comparison service via Business Australia Energy. This alone has helped Belinda save almost $2,000 a year on her energy bill.
“I now know what to look out for on my energy bill, I'm better informed and it’s great to see the savings coming through,” said Belinda.
The BEAP service has also uncovered smarter ways of working such as putting limits on the number of freezers in operation and revamping the café menu to accommodate these changes. Receiving comprehensive tailored advice on how to utilise appliances and best practice principles for maintenance has made all the difference to Belinda’s bottom line.
It all made dollars and sense
In recent years, the fire season, followed by constant disruptions caused by the pandemic, has put the business and the whole Blue Mountains community under tremendous pressure. “As a business owner and employer, you have an extra weight of responsibility which you need to be mindful of. I’ve been so thankful for both BEAP and the Business Australia Energy service which helped me to think positively about my options,” said Belinda.
“The reduced energy bill and advice on how to look at our appliances differently has made all of the difference and we’ve been able to keep staff on,” added Belinda.
It’s a new season and Blackheath General Store & Café is abuzz with energy. The future’s looking bright and with the savings in energy the business is enjoying the fruits of its labour.