As of 2020, the UK is already abundant with energy suppliers, with more that are soon to emerge in the market. Think of all the possible, competitive and cheap rates and benefits you could acquire and how some of these suppliers might even meet your business requirements ever so effortlessly. Exciting, isn’t it?
Well, having that many options and choices on your plate can be quite mind-blowing. Jumping from one supplier to another without comparing business energy quotes can be quite a risky move! However, collecting and comparing energy quotes from multiple suppliers in one go can be quite a tedious chore to do especially on your own. That’s why we’ve decided to do all the legwork and compare business energy quotes and spot better deals based on your current tariff and location—so you don’t have to!
While comparing quotes is one of the first key steps to take before transferring to a new supplier, there are other important things that you should keep in mind before making that switch. That being said, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve managed to create a quick guide on what to watch out for when you decide on making the switch!
When is the ‘right time’ to switch to a different business energy supplier?
The size of your business (micro, small, medium, large), your location, contract type (flexible or fixed) and the amount of energy your business consumes are all very crucial things that play a huge role in your switch. This is what makes business energy switches different from residential energy users.
1. When your Renewal Window opens
Do you have your current energy bill/contract on hand? Great, now we’d like for you to check when your current contract will end or when will it be up for renewal. Once you spot these important dates—you will now be able to determine when your Switching/Renewal Window opens. Switching Windows will vary depending on your current energy supplier, but they usually take place 2 – 6 months before your contract’s end date.
Businesses that fail to cancel or renew their contract prior to its end-date automatically get rolled onto a much more expensive contract with a 12-month term. Now that’s a horror story in the making!
If you’re a micro/small business* owner and you cannot find any details regarding your contract, your current energy supplier will disclose them for you upon contacting them. In most cases however, energy suppliers inform their small business clients by sending a renewal letter as soon as the window opens.
Unfortunately, Larger businesses should watch out for their Renewal Window as they won’t be receiving any letters or reminders from their supplier regarding this..
*If you meet at least one of the following criteria, you will most likely be considered a Micro-Business by Ofgem:
- If your business staff consists of 10 employees or less
- You consume less than 100,000 kWh of electricity and/or 293,000 kWh of gas annually
- If you pay £1,000 or less for your monthly energy bills
Micro businesses essentially have more time to switch to new business energy suppliers as Ofgem requires suppliers to impose a 30-day maximum notice period for termination and renewal. Suppliers are also mandated to inform micro-business customers about how much energy they consume each year 60 days prior to their fixed-term contract’s end date.
2. When you are placed on a deemed contract
Businesses that have recently moved into new premises and start consuming gas and/or electricity without an agreed contract with a supplier will be automatically placed on a deemed rate contract until a new energy provider takes over.
Being placed on a deemed contract gives you enough liberty to make the switch at any time without having to worry about restrictions and termination fees. According to Ofgem, suppliers cannot prevent their business customer from switching to another supplier when they are on a deemed contract.
What to look at when comparing energy prices
Now that you know when to make the switch, now it’s time for step 2: comparing business energy quotes. This is where comparison sites such as ours come into play! We will provide you with business energy quotes comparisons based on your current tariff rate and postcode to determine available deals in your area In less than 60 seconds.
There are 2 things that you should keep an eye out for as far as tariffs go:
- Unit Prices: Unit Prices are the fee you must pay for every kWh of energy (both electricity and gas) you consume. It is priced in pence per kWh.
- Standing Charges: This is a fixed fee that is associated with installation, maintenance, and overall services and provisions by your supplier. Most energy plans include standing charges, but it still varies. Some set their standing charge to £0.
Depending on the size of your business, these average prices per kWh will help you determine your utility expenses
- Very Small: 16.09 p/kWh
- Small: 13.95 p/kWh
- Small/Medium: 12.44 p/kWh
- Medium: 11.51 p/kWh
- Large: 11.25 p/kWh
- Very Large: 10.01 p/kWh
- Extra Large: 9.68 p/kWh
- Average: 11.66 p/kWh
Source: UK Government
Is there a difference between Online Quotes Comparison Sites and Business Energy Brokers?
Seeking assistance from business quotes comparison sites and business energy brokers is really helpful for when you want to find the best deals and decide on making the switch.
Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, there is no “which one is better than which”! They’re 2 entirely different services that you may want to try to simplify energy shopping and management.
Business Quotes Comparison Sites
BetterBusinessQuotes.co.uk falls under this category. While energy consumers can request quotes directly from energy suppliers, comparison sites like us provide businesses with business energy quotes from a number of energy suppliers in the UK.
- Quickly finds and provides business energy quotes in just minutes
- Accessible and easy to use
- Scores competitive tariff rates from a slew of energy suppliers
- Might not be able to provide deals that meet your requirements 100% of the time (This is why you should provide exact and accurate details when filling in the form above)
- Not all comparison sites have access to a hefty amount of UK based energy suppliers
Business Energy Brokers
What makes Business Energy Brokers from Quotes Comparison Sites is that they literally do everything for your business: from managing contracts, handling issues, and even manning switching processes.
Business Energy Brokers also provide their clients with energy management advice. Large businesses usually opt to hire brokers as they do not have enough time on their hands to navigate around the energy market and manage mishaps if there are any.
- Offers advice depending on your energy needs and requirements
- Finds tailored deals and packages
- Negotiates with energy suppliers on their client’s behalf
- Their services are usually not accessible online. Contacting them usually involves phone calls.
- Some energy brokers prefer to recommend deals that they can benefit from and not the other way around
- Brokers get paid by adding a margin into their contracts. They will add an extra amount on any business energy quote they will provide you with so they get to keep the extra as their margin. For example: The actual business rate acquired is 10p/kWh, but the broker quotes you a price of 11p/kWh.
Check out our article on Energy Brokers:
What do I need to provide to be able to obtain accurate business energy quotes?
Before you decide on getting the best and accurate business energy quotes and switching energy suppliers, it’s important for you to prepare and provide the following:
1. MPAN (Meter Point Administration Number) for electricity meters MPRN (Meter Point Reference Number) for gas meters
Providing your unique Meter Point Administration Number (or S Number) when switching will help suppliers identify your electricity meter. The same thing applies for your MPRN.
2. Renewal Letter
You must also provide a renewal letter (which will be coming from your current supplier). This letter should indicate the amount of energy your business uses. If you do not have a renewal letter, you may also provide an estimate of how much energy your business consumes instead. Should you decide not to switch, the renewal letter will most likely contain details on how much you will be paying under new contract terms.
3. Electricity and Gas bills
4. Your business location and other necessary information
Tips on how to get much lower business energy rates
Let’s say you’ve found a deal that you can get behind with the help of quotes comparison, but you’re still thinking if you can get an even better rate but with the same supplier. Well, it might be possible for you to save a whole lot more by:
- Negotiation: You can either negotiate with a new supplier, or if you wish to stick to the same supplier due to their outstanding service, you can try to negotiate with them as well. You can use the business energy quotes you have collected to negotiate with one supplier to another.
- Direct Debit: Majority of the energy suppliers in the UK prefer getting paid through Direct Debit. This is because they want to ensure that their customers will pay their energy bills right on time. That being said, energy suppliers offer discounts for direct debit users.
- Sourcing Electricity and Gas from one supplier: This is not a dual fuel business energy tariff. There is no such thing, unfortunately. Energy suppliers do not offer businesses with dual fuel discounts. Although you might still be able to get a better deal/offer for both gas and electricity contracts if you negotiate with one supplier!
I found a tariff I like and I’m ready to make the switch. How do I inform my current supplier about this?
Great, you found a better deal! Now how do you go about this? Switching energy suppliers isn’t as straightforward as how domestic consumers have it. First you must construct a termination letter. Once you’re sure that your current contract will expire soon, invoke termination.
But wait, before you get out of a business energy contract, you must first take into consideration the following:
- Cooling-off Period: Once you successfully make the switch and sign a new contract, there’s no turning back. Unlike domestic energy providers, businesses don’t get a cooling-off period. So if you’re really sure about leaving your current energy supplier or if you don’t really see the point in trying to negotiate with them, then you may switch as you please.
- Exit/Termination fee: Like we said previously: it’s important to know when your contract ends. This usually goes for Fixed Contracts. If you want to avoid paying exit fees, then make sure you don’t end the contract prematurely. This is why you should always keep note of how long you have remaining on the contract.
Energy suppliers are not allowed to charge their customers a fee if their contract has entered 49 days.
- Transfer time: You can temporarily end up on a deemed rate if your current contract ends before your switch. In most cases it takes at least 4 to 6 weeks to completely transfer onto another energy supplier. Sometimes it can reach up to 8 weeks if complications take place.
What should I include in my termination letter?
Termination letters are very essential for when you want to put an end to your current contract. You can either send the letter via snail mail, or more commonly via email.
Here are a few things that need to be included in your termination letter:
- Your company’s letterhead, business name, and registered business address should be included in the letter. Make sure that everything matches what was inputted in your contract.
- Indicate that you would like to terminate your contract
- Your contract’s number and end date
- Your MPAN / MPRN numbers
- Signature of business owner or any authorised representative
You can also find plenty of Termination Letter templates online that you can use as a guide.
Can my current supplier decline my termination request?
Yes they can. But only if you still have an outstanding balance or debt that you have not yet settled with your supplier. Please refrain from doing this though, because it can lead to future complications and bad business credit! Before switching, make sure that everything has been paid for to avoid the hassle.
Suppliers can also decline your termination request if you are on a fixed term contract and nowhere near your contract end date.