The E.ON research also found that nearly half of all small businesses overuse their equipment or machinery, while 42% use inefficient or outdated appliances.
Nine out of ten small businesses believe others in their sector are less efficient than they are, whilst still acknowledging that their industry sectors are beset with inefficient energy practices.
E.ON also suggested that around a third of businesses, including pubs and bars, use their lighting, air conditioning and heating excessively – often to attract more custom.
Anthony Ainsworth, business energy director at E.ON, said: “This research paints a picture of British businesses sitting side-by-side on the high street, competing not just amongst rival firms in the same sectors but also against neighbours in order to attract customers.
“Using attractive lighting can be a useful way to exhibit goods or attract customers but it may not be cost-effective if you rely on outdated or inefficient fixtures to light your store through the night. One of our customers – a small supermarket – told us he’d managed to save £600 a month by replacing his older lighting with new LED fittings.
"Small behavioural changes can significantly improve efficiency, such as upgrading equipment and the systems for controlling them. This needn’t be costly for small businesses. At E.ON we have a package of help and advice on offer so customers can identify areas of waste and help implement changes, showing the potential cost savings against any investment required. Improvements can often be made for free.”