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Business Energy Comparison & Switching Guide 2018

Business Energy Comparison Guide

Introduction

Did you know that you could be grossly overpaying for your business energy costs?

If your power were suddenly cut off, would your supplier be able to fix it quickly to save your business time and money?

I know what you’re thinking.

That might not ever happen, and sure it is true that these things do not happen that often.

However, IF it did, you need to have a company that saves you money on your business energy and will be there for you instantly in the scenario that you run into any problems.

This is where EnergySeek comes in with energy supplier guides and comparison.

You need to know who can save you money, but also who has excellent customer support and transparent billing to help you take control of your energy usage.

What’s in this guide?

What should your business energy cost?

Every business requires a bespoke quote because of the various factors that go into the costs of your energy.

This can vary from things such as the size of your premises, the number of employees you have and your consumption habits.

This is a very loose estimation of what your business energy might cost based on industry averages, not as a guide to be taken when considering which supplier you should choose to switch to.

Average electricity usage and rates per kWh

Business size Annual usage Price per kWh Standing charge
Avg. annual cost
Micro business 5,000 – 15,000 12.5p 27.0p £1,349
Small business 15,000 – 30,000 11.0p 25.0p £2,566
Medium business 30,000 – 50,000 10.5p 22.0p £4,208

 

Average gas usage and rates per kWh

Business size Annual usage Price per kWh Standing charge
Avg. annual cost
Microbusiness 5,000 – 15,000 4.0p 32.0p £516
Small business 15,000 – 30,000 3.8p 30.0p £965
Medium business 30,000 – 65,000 3.5p 28.0p £1,502

Why compare?

According to Ofgem, which is the government regulator for the energy industry, comparing and switching your business energy supplier could save you up to £300 annually on your gas and electricity.

Although that is a number for the domestic market, there are comparable savings for your business too, with some suppliers offering dual fuel discounts when you choose to get both your electricity and gas from them.

The bigger companies that offer all of your utilities in one place often give you significant savings depending on how many contracts you have with them, like your energy, broadband and mobile.

But here’s the thing, you shouldn’t just automatically go with the first business energy company that offers you a good deal.

Why?

Because it may not be the best deal for you and your business.

Comparing gives you the ability to put businesses next to each other with their pros and cons, to see who will provide you with the best deals and the best service.

Business Gas

When it comes to your business gas, what many customers have found is that it is better to be on a fixed rate tariff, with a short-term that might be a year to 2 years in length.

This is because, with variable tariffs, the cost of your business energy will increase and decrease according to the prices of gas in the open market.

The price is affected by so many different things such as the time of year, current events and traders that you could easily wake up to a considerable increase in your monthly bill, or even a couple of price increases within six months or less.

A shorter term contract such as a year gives you the opportunity to compare and save by switching on a yearly or bi-yearly basis, which could save your company money.

Plus, imagine if you found yourself locked into a 3 or 5-year contract with a company that you discover has poor customer service!

Business Electricity

Similarly, with business electricity customers can expect to see between 40% – 60% savings on their energy by choosing a fixed rate tariff rather than a variable tariff.

There are also other ways of saving with your electricity, like opting to install smart meters that can either be non-half hourly or half-hourly, which is usually dependent on the size of your business.

These smart meters track your business’s energy usage, then sends that information to your supplier so they can charge you only for the energy you are using, rather than an estimate which could be costing you a lot more.

Top 5 Suppliers

To give you an idea of some of the suppliers that can offer your excellent business value with stellar customer service, here is a table with the top 5 business energy suppliers that takes into consideration not only price but also their customer rating and range of services.

Supplier

Customer Score

Renewable Energy

Range of Services

Easy to Contact

D-Energi ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★
So Energy ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Affect Energy ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Bulb ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Green Energy UK ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★

FAQ

Who are the ‘big six’ energy suppliers?

The ‘big six’ energy suppliers refer to:

  • British Gas
  • Scottish Power
  • EDF Energy
  • Eon
  • SSE
  • Npower

These are the companies that have the most customers and therefore the most significant share of the market in the UK.

Why don’t more people switch?

Simply put, because many people are worried about the risks of moving away from one of the ‘big six’, regardless of how much money they could be saving or how much better the customer service might be.

What tariffs are available?

Generally speaking, businesses will be offered a range of ‘fixed rate’ or ‘variable’ tariffs, sometimes depending on the size of your business and your current energy consumption.

Fixed rate: Fixed energy costs
Variable: Energy prices increase and decrease with the open market

How do I change suppliers?

To switch it is essential to compare business energy suppliers, pick a company that best reflects what you want out of your supplier.

You must send a termination letter to your current supplier to let them know that you are switching.

Your new energy supplier should generally take care of your switch, which will often take around 4 to 8 weeks to complete.

Can my energy supplier stop me from switching?

If you are not in debt and your contract is up for renewal, there is no reason that your business energy supplier can stop you from switching.

In the situation where you feel like your supplier is trying to stop you from switching even if you are entitled to, you should make a complaint to the company first before filing a formal complaint. Sometimes this problem can be fixed internally.

If that is not the case, you can make a formal complaint providing that you have all the materials you will need to do so, for more information see the Citizen’s Advice Beauru here.

Should I agree to a contract over the phone?

Never!

Some companies ring up businesses and explain how much they could be saving on their business energy.

While sometimes this information might be true, there have been instances where businesses have become trapped in a 5-year contract which is often more expensive than 1 to 2-year contracts.

Plus it means you are locked in with that company, and you won’t be able to switch without incurring a fee.

Is there a cooling off period?

Only for domestic energy.

Most companies will tell you on their website that they have a cooling off period of 14 days, which means that if you cancel your switch during that time, you won’t incur a fee.

Unfortunately, business energy suppliers usually do not offer a cooling off period.

Buyers Guide

Have your current information to hand

First you should get to know your contract, otherwise, how will you know if your new supplier is giving you a good deal?

Have a look at your current unit rates and standing charge, how much energy you use, your meter numbers, your contract end dates and your contract’s notice period.

Are you close to your ‘switching window’?

Generally speaking, your switching window might be around 60 to 120 days before your current contract ends.

However, if you are in a fixed contract, it might be years in the future.

Some suppliers require as little as 30 days notice, but some require as much as 180 days notice.

What are you looking for in a supplier?

Most people assume that the cheapest deal is the best, and while it is essential to save money on your business energy bills, how much worse would it be if the company suddenly hiked their prices? Or you couldn’t get through to them regarding an urgent issue? This is where comparing businesses with EnergySeek’s guides come in handy.

You can see where a business energy company can save you money and will be available to you as and when you need them.

What kind of tariff would suit your business best?

Variable or fixed?

It entirely depends on whether you value stability or if you are willing to take a risk to make some savings.

As variable prices increase and decrease with the open market, there is a chance that you could either raise or lower your monthly, quarterly or annual costs.

How to compare prices

Once you have fully understood your current bill, you can take a look at different business energy companies to see which can offer you the best deals.

The significant figures to look at, as a commercial energy supplier will not usually have an estimated quote on their website, are the rates per unit and the standing charge.

Business Energy Quotes

To get a quote, on the whole, you will only need this information.

  • Your name
  • Business name
  • Email
  • Telephone
  • Business Postcode
  • Avg. energy consumption
  • When your current contract ends

Broker or online?

Sometimes it makes more sense to use an energy broker than to compare by yourself online.

Not only will it save you time, but an energy broker can sometimes find you better deals by leveraging their contacts and partnerships, which also means that they will be your point of contact for the supplier.

Be wary of energy brokers that try and talk you into a contract over the phone, as sometimes this can land you in a mediocre agreement for several years.

If you want complete control over your costs and contract, it’s much better to do your research and compare.

Terminate your existing contract

You need to send your current supplier a termination letter over recorded delivery, sometimes over email as well which can be useful if you would like to keep a copy too.

This is what your termination letter should include.

  • Your company letterhead and include your business name and registered business address
  • Notice that you wish to terminate your contract
  • Your contract number and end date
  • Your MPAN / MPRN numbers
  • The address of the location/s being supplied by the power
  • Signed by a business owner or authorised representative

Conclusion

This guide should have told you everything you need to know about business energy comparison, but if you want to know more about your business energy check out the EnergySeek guides.

Or, you could fill out the form at the top of the page and compare energy providers right now.