Her family's shop may be in Birmingham, but Sharan Purewal's story could just as easily apply – and be of value – to any small to medium sized business in Wiltshire.

When you meet Sharan, you'd be forgiven for thinking that energy is the last of her worries. But how much it's costing the family business to keep the lights on and the fridges and freezers running has, she will admit, kept her awake at night.

In the more than two decades the family have been running their business: Perry Park Stores in the Perry Barr area of Birmingham, there have been many changes. Factories have closed, local council offices have relocated to the city centre, the arrival of smaller branches of the ‘big' supermarkets and discount supermarkets: they've all had an impact on the level of vital passing trade.

Changes that have triggered and expansion over the years in what the shop offers beyond daily essentials and newspapers. Customers can buy wine, beer and spirits, get cash from an ATM, buy National Lottery tickets and even enjoy a selection of freshly made ‘Subway' sandwiches.

Sharan's business now comes from the local neighbourhood and people visiting nearby attractions at the local parks and events at the Alexander Stadium.

Like most businesses, the past few years have been particularly tough for Perry Park Stores, Sharan, her husband and their two daughters (who have helped out in the store from an early age). The energy they put into keeping the business going is incredible.

Having worked hard to give her children the opportunities to get on in life, it's Sharan's ambition to keep the business going long enough to allow her and her equally hard-working husband, to retire and enjoy a more relaxed life.

To help bring her dreams to life, npower, the business's energy provider, conducted a free energy audit at Sharan's premises, which highlighted a few ways in which the business could reduce its energy costs.

  • The first was to install a voltage optimiser that, as the name suggests, lowers the voltage going into the premises to reduce energy use, power demand and, as a result, costs.
  • The second was to install new, more energy-efficient LED lighting, which replaces older halogen light bulbs and fluorescent strip tubes, which also made the inside of the store a lot easier on the eye, encouraging customers to ‘linger longer' and maybe spend a little bit more.
  • Third, was the use of a free real-time energy monitor, which lets the family see how much electricity they're using, set daily targets for the amount of energy they wish to use and lets them see the immediate effect turning lights or appliances on or off can have.

Since making the changes to the store's electricity supply, daily energy consumption has been reduced by 19%, which represents a saving of £1,899 a year – the equivalent of 173 boxes of washing up liquid.

"The people from npower couldn't have been more helpful," comments Sharan, "The level of service and advice was fantastic and the changes we made as a result of their survey have helped us save a small fortune, which has made a big difference – and I'm sleeping a lot easier at night."

If you are a small to medium sized business in Wiltshire see if you could benefit from a free energy audit from npower, which could help you better understand your energy usage and how to reduce it.


or call
0800 912 9001 from your landline
0330 100 9377 from your mobile

0800 calls free from most landlines. 0330 charged at national rate from landline or mobile and included in ‘inclusive minutes'. Check with your operator. Calls may be recorded.
This is an estimated annual saving calculated by comparing electricity consumption over similar periods before and after energy conservation measures and behaviours were implemented (1/11/12 – 31/08/13 and 1/11/2013 – 1/7/2014). We've assumed that business activity before and after was ‘constant' and we've also taken into consideration the impact of weather conditions in the second period. Cost savings calculations exclude standing charges (which are not influenced by consumption) and VAT but include CCL if applicable. Actual cost savings will vary by measures implemented, tariff and applicable prices, weather patterns and business activity.